Abstract visual of customer data

Why Effective Marketing Requires a Foundation of Unified Customer Intelligence 

You can’t build exceptional customer experiences with bad data. More and more, marketers are recognizing the power that unified data has in brands’ ability to deliver relevant and personalized cross-channel engagement to customers and prospects. In fact, this recent study from e-commerce platform Kibo found that brands with a data-centric, cross-channel personalization strategy are most likely to earn an ROI of 400% or more. 

But while many marketing cloud and personalization vendors happily tout their data expertise, very few provide the kind of data solution that can give marketers what they need to earn that kind of ROI from personalization initiatives. Most companies have been developing their marketing clouds and engagement channels with action at the forefront. Yet the insight that motivates the experience they’re delivering has been an afterthought. This is why, after years of focusing on delivering experiences across a wide variety of applications from email to websites to mobile, marketing clouds like Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle have all announced that they are building their own customer data platforms (CDPs). They’re essentially working backward to integrate the data and make it actionable within their own systems. 

As other brands are playing catch up to incorporate data insights, next-generation marketing clouds proactively and seamlessly drives marketing activity from the start. At Acquia, we know that building an enterprise-grade CDP takes years, if not decades, in order to give marketers a true 360-degree view of the customer they can easily understand and act on. If your marketing strategy starts with data, then all the tactics you implement become more effective and generate better customer experiences, more revenue and tangible results. Data powers the action. Plus, a strong data foundation makes any tactic possible, allowing marketers to quickly pivot and adjust to meet changing market dynamics, trends, budgets, etc. 

These “data-first” principles guide us in our goal to enable effective, relevant customer engagement across all channels.

  • Data-first unifies insights from all online and offline sources. When marketing campaigns are built on top of a cleansed, standardized, unified data layer, they produce better results, more ROI and more revenue with lower costs. When promotions, messaging, channels of interaction, timing and all other dynamics of a campaign are personalized based on a persistent, unified customer profile, results follow. Without unified and centrally actionable data — from zero-party and behavioral data to transactional and operational data — you are not able to deliver engaging and relevant experiences, hindering your overall competitiveness and ROI. 
  • Data-first means data maturity and confident action. As most marketing clouds are busy trying to build the first iteration of their CDP, they are lacking in experience and fundamentals, such as which types of data they can ingest, customer analytics, identity resolution robustness and supported machine learning driven use cases. A data-first marketing cloud incorporates in-depth experience and history, resulting in a trusted partner with a rich feature set that gives businesses the insights, activation and engagement they need to boost their most important KPIs, and which all teams can rely on and trust. 
  • Data-first democratizes data across different teams. Free-flowing data and a central view of the customer enables marketers, BI teams, analysts, customer service and other teams to easily make sense of the data, directly ask their own questions of the data, identify opportunities within the data and quickly act on these insights. This direct access to intelligence enables teams to move beyond traditional departmental silos and rapidly launch high-impact campaigns that increase their own KPIs for the business. 

An open marketing cloud with a powerful CDP at the center that can easily integrate with new tools and systems means you can be confident you’re taking the best possible action for your customers, no matter which data collection, activation or personalization tools are in your martech stack. At Acquia, we understand that digital experience platforms (DXPs) help organizations overcome technology silos and effectively orchestrate a memorable customer journey across a growing number of tools and systems. However, the impact and relevance of these journeys are only as strong as the data used to inform the experiences. This is why there needs to be a customer data platform delivering a single record of customer intelligence at the core of every DXP.  

karen wood

Karen Wood

Senior Director, Product Marketing  Acquia

Karen Wood is Acquia's Director of Product Marketing for AgilOne. Karen has over a decade of experience working with enterprise brands and taking disruptive digital marketing technologies to market. Karen enjoys blogging about AgilOne's new innovations, learnings from customers and industry best practices.