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Growth & Marketing

Jes Kirkwood on November 15th 2021

Shopify's VP, Growth Morgan Brown reveals how the company's growth team drives results in an exclusive interview.

All Growth & Marketing articles

Kelly Kirwan on November 30th 2022

Learn how IBM increased product adoption and reduced churn across its suite of 200 products, using Twilio Segment

Vikash Koushik on November 17th 2022

A featured customer story, this blog explains how to use a CDP to bridge anonymous and known data.

Hema Thanki, Yanis Bousdira on November 8th 2022

Google Analytics recent ruling in the EU has changed the game. We share how to collect your data while protecting EU citizen's privacy!

Geoffrey Keating on October 27th 2022

Growth: it’s probably the most important KPI your business measures. But depending on the economic climate, it’s also a word that can mean a lot of different things.

When times are good, your company is flush with capital, acquisition is easy, and opportunities for expansion are limitless. But when times are bad, businesses reflexively tighten their belts and shift their focus from a “growth at all costs” mindset to things much more pragmatic. It’s about keeping the lights on, rather than turning on new ones. 

To unpack how these changes are impacting our industry, and to clarify what growth means for your business in 2022, at our recent CDP Live event we sat down with some of the foremost experts on the subject. 

Read on to get a short recap of the event, and learn about some common pitfalls of trying to grow your business too fast, and how to avoid them so that you succeed instead.

How a 170-year old institution stays innovative

“It's about keeping data from getting siloed into different domains where everybody's creating their own definition and having it all in one place where it's discoverable and usable. So that the dashboards that everybody needs to use to make decisions all reflect consistent definitions, for instance.” – Kendell Timmers

Like virtually every business across the globe, The New York Times has been forced to embrace a data-driven approach within their organization. From helping editors do their jobs better, increase revenue, and help engage existing and current subscribers, data sits at the heart of everything they do.

So when the business was forced to pivot away from third-party data to acquire new subscribers, the 170-year old company had to rethink its existing approach and look for alternative ways to grow its subscriber base.

Enter Kendell Timmers.

A seasoned data and analytics expert who previously worked at companies like American Express, ZS Associates, and US Airways, Kendell now serves as Senior Vice President and Head of Data and Insights at The New York Times. In this live recording of the Good Data, Better Marketing podcast, host Kailey Redmond sat down with Kendell to discuss NLP, personalizing paywalls, and creating a unified view of the customer in a privacy-forward way.

One of the highlights of the session was hearing how Kendall convinced the publication’s management team that third-party data was a bad habit they needed to kick, and in its place built an industry-leading first party data program that powers much of their digital advertising business.

Weathering the economic storm with product-led growth

These are uncertain times for any marketer. As reported in our recent Growth Report, 63% of respondents expect to decrease spending on marketing technology in the coming 12 months, in order to drive operational efficiency and cost savings.

But it’s not just budgets that are under attack.

Maybe you’ve seen your top of the funnel demand decreasing. Or your SQLs have dried up entirely. While each marketing team feels the impact differently, one thing is certain – marketers are being forced to adapt to change at a pace we haven’t seen before. 

To explore how best to market during a period of economic turmoil, Session 2 saw Katrina Wong, VP of Marketing at Segment, sit down with Lauren Volpi, VP of Marketing at Mixpanel, and Adam Schatz, Global Product Marketing Manager, Snap Inc. 

While the panel discussed many of the numerous headwinds facing marketers today, their outlook remained resolutely positive. 

Despite the unfavorable market conditions, the panel agreed that growth still matters, albeit in a different form. What has changed is that the bar for what “growth” looks like is radically different, where unit economics, profitability, and efficiency are the new north stars.

For example, Adam Schatz said that while Snap has seen budgets for top of the funnel campaigns begin to decline, the demand for campaigns that drive proven ROI has remained steady, and is actually increasing. 

“There's definitely still a high demand for lower funnel budgets, especially when we're driving success based on a marketer's KPIs when we're able to actually drive that ROI. We're actually seeing increases in budgets a lot of the time. When we're able to do this successfully, we're seeing demand remain stable, and sometimes even increase.” - Adam Schatz

This view was echoed by Mixpanel’s Lauren Volpi, who said her team has moved most, if not all, the team’s budget towards lower funnel activities, specifically product signups. Not only do these PLG activities correlate with real revenue, they also generate valuable first-party data that can be used to drive meaningful customer experiences. 

Climbing the customer data maturity curve

A recent CMO Council report found that 80% of leaders proclaimed data as “very important to winning and retaining customers”. Yet in spite of that, only a fraction of respondents (28%) were confident in their ability to manage that data.

After helping thousands of companies map their customer data strategy – including several Fortune 500 enterprises – we found companies operate across a wide spectrum of customer data maturity. Some have full confidence in their data to make decisions, are able to personalize the customer experience across channels, and adapt their business to changing environments and customer needs. Others are just getting started in their journey, and are getting their heads around what to track, and how to activate that data cross teams.

Seth Familian, Director of Global Advisory Services at Twilio Segment, walked us through the core data competencies required for your business, regardless of where you are in your customer data journey. 

Particularly illuminating was Seth’s discussion of how important it was to have the right team in place to move successfully up the curve. At the center of every data-driven organization are the appropriate stakeholders, who can help to guide a customer data platform towards adoption and generating business value. These stakeholders should cut across your organization – from data engineering and analytics to product and marketing.  

The quickest way to grow your customer data maturity, according to Seth, is to align each department around a shared vision, and ensure their accountability in upholding agreed-upon data standards and activation strategies.  

To watch all sessions from the event on demand, head this way.

Lisa Zavetz on October 13th 2022

Bad, poor quality data affects all aspects of your organization. This blog explores the costs for marketing, data science, and engineers, and suggests a solution of a CDP.

Segment on October 11th 2022

We’ll walk you through what ordinal data is, how to understand it, and how to use it to your advantage. 

Jim Young on September 19th 2022

To better understand how to maximize the time to value of a customer data platform, we compiled insights from five anonymized organizations with experience using Segment.

Tanner Chung, Lisa Zavetz on September 8th 2022

Tag managers and CDPs both contribute to a better understanding of your customer, but they are fundamentally different. In this blog, we explore the pros and cons of tag mangers and CDPs, and explain how you can use both in tandem.

Jim Young on September 7th 2022

What is the most important ingredient for a successful customer experience program? 

According to hundreds of business leaders across the globe, the answer is good data. 

Unfortunately, many businesses lack the right technology to manage the ever-increasing volume and complexity of customer data.

To compound the issue, the threat of inflation and economic downturn have put more pressure on leaders to prioritize profitability, cost-savings, and efficiency.

In response, a number of firms are turning to customer data platforms to drive business impact by ensuring that all teams across their organizations can operate with access to clean, reliable data.

Because a customer data platform can deliver results for multiple different teams across the business, we are often asked: “What’s the exact ROI from investing in a CDP?”

To address this question, we conducted a survey with Aberdeen, the leading industry research firm, to investigate in precise terms the numerous benefits a CDP can have on your bottom line.

Let’s dive in.

ROI benchmarks to justify your customer data platform investment

One of the simplest ways to illustrate the cumulative ROI of a customer data platform is to measure the performance of businesses that are using a CDP against those that are not.  Across several KPI categories, businesses that use a CDP are knocking it out of the park.

Notably, 9.1x greater annual growth in customer satisfaction and 2.9x greater YoY revenue growth represent impressive returns on investment for customer-first businesses. 

It should then come as no surprise then, that in the next five years nearly half of business leaders surveyed will increase their CDP budgets by 25% on average. 

With customer data platforms in place, these companies are better able to connect and unify first-party data across channels, ensure that data is accurate, and personalize every customer interaction to each individual’s preferences.

The chart below illustrates just a few of the benefits a CDP can have on your bottom line.

Source: Aberdeen

It is important to remember, however, that these benchmarks only represent the average impact of a CDP on business outcomes. Some businesses will achieve greater returns, some less. 

To help ensure maximum value on the ROI of your CDP, we've outlined three simple steps for you to follow.

How to maximize the ROI from your CDP investment

1) Use data to understand buyer behavior

The ability to seamlessly integrate data from all relevant sources is critical for businesses looking to build a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior. 

Put simply, a CDP helps standardize your data across the organization. This allows your customer-facing teams to better deliver relevant, personalized experiences by segmenting customers based on various criteria such as previous spend, loyalty, or demographics. 

In turn, you can uncover trends and correlations influencing customer behavior that would be otherwise hidden to non–CDP-users.  

Standardized data can also help your business reduce churn by identifying common elements in the journey of lost customers, and drive revenue by targeting high-profit clients or those with the best product fit. 

SpotHero, a popular parking reservation service, is a great example of a company using Segment to standardize their customer data and drive conversions by unlocking insights into user purchase behavior. 

So you have already established a single view of the customer — now what? 

2) Use data to hyper-personalize customer interactions

The next step is going beyond integrating data across enterprise systems and toward activating customer insights to provide hyper-personalized experiences. 

The research shows that companies using a CDP are better equipped to deliver consistent messages to their customers through multiple channels (89% vs. 82%). In addition to consistency, you can use real-time insights to tailor the content and timing of your interactions to the unique needs of each buyer. 

This capability can substantially improve customer satisfaction, retention, and LTV.  In fact, our third-annual State of Personalization report shows that nearly half (49%) of consumers said they would become repeat buyers after a personalized experience with a brand.

Put simply, using first-party data to personalize your customer interactions will result in a direct impact on your bottom line. 

For companies looking to maximize the ROI of a CDP, personalization is the name of the game. 

3) Use data to continuously improve marketing performance

The last insight we can apply from Aberdeen’s research involves the impact of good data on employee performance.

Consistent, reliable data drives better performance by providing business leaders a frame of reference to evaluate employee activity and determine areas of inefficiency or training needs.  

Although a CDP can empower every team across the organization, the most impactful benefits are often enjoyed by the marketing department. More specifically, the ability to accurately map each step of your customer’s journey or target the most profitable customers can vastly improve the ROI of your marketing campaigns. 

Segment is a powerful toolkit for orchestrating the customer journey that allows marketers using our customer data platform to: 

  • Build custom audiences 

  • Sync those audiences to advertising, email, a/b testing, chat, and other tools in real-time

  • Get a single view of the customer across all digital properties and touch points

As economic uncertainty looms ahead, there is a window of opportunity for businesses to realize an outsized return on investment by harnessing the power of customer data.

Yet the fact remains that 40% of enterprise leaders struggle with the challenge of getting accurate data for their customer experience efforts. Poor data quality, fragmented customer insights, and outdated technology each present considerable obstacles for non–digitally-native firms. 

Fortunately, the adoption of a customer data platform can help businesses overcome these challenges by improving the ability to harness and activate customer data. 

On this point, the research is clear — CDP investments are paying dividends. Companies with a CDP are outperforming non-users in annual revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement, among other KPIs. 

However, the implementation of new technology is not enough. It’s essential to follow best practices as well. 

Using good data to understand buyer behavior, improve marketing performance, and deliver hyper-personalized customer interactions are three steps you can take today to ensure you are getting the maximum ROI from your CDP investment. 

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