Data strategySeptember 10, 2018

Growth requires more than just data and tech

For all the recent hype about customer data platforms, they are only part of the answer to creating winning omnichannel experiences. mParticle’s COO explains why culture, vision and execution are also essential parts of the solution, and what mParticle is doing to equip brands for success.

The last “S” in SaaS is for “service” but in the customer data platform (CDP) space, professional services are anything but an afterthought.

Successful deployment of a CDP takes a lot more than just great software; it requires tactical and strategic planning that will result in people, processes, and a variety of tools operating together in new ways. Creating the conditions for success requires the proper combination of vision, talent, roadmap discipline, standards, and change management.

Let’s unpack that a bit. First, as Forrester’s Joe Stanhope points out, CDPs do not replace a holistic data management strategy. They exist within a wider technology architecture.

As Stanhope writes, “Brands must consider how a CDP intersects with—or enhances, duplicates, or abstracts—existing data collection, data management, and hygiene processes, and the identity resolution strategy. And because a CDP introduces another data repository into the mix, brands must plan for its impact on marketing operations and processes, and other environments such as DMPs (which, to be clear, primarily support third-party audience targeting for display), marketing or CRM databases, and engagement tools.”

Secondly, CDPs require thoughtful and coordinated data planning. A comprehensive data plan guides the instrumentation of your CDP and ensures it will be able to meet the needs of teams across the organization and adhere to industry standards. Data planning enables organizations to understand how the implementation of a CDP will affect existing data functions and allow them to introduce new facets of data management, including:

  • Persistently tracking anonymous and known user states across platforms and tools.
  • Governing these records in accordance with internal and external standards and by laws like the GDPR.
  • Mapping data nomenclature from any one tool to the various interdependent platform tools leveraged across product, engineering, and marketing.

Most importantly, CDPs need to be implemented within the context of the business and the use cases that they serve. Marketing and product teams often encounter three major issues when implementing a customer data platform:

  • Build a future end-state marketing stack without considering the incremental steps needed to get there from its present state—laying a foundation with the proper use of a few SDKs, data elements, and associated tools to build business value and expand.
  • Not considering the cost of tools beyond the initial financial investment. Teams frequently don't consider the cost of tool setup, implementation, and management, not to mention the cost of training and managing the tool's users.
  • Basing the end-state on existing data and toolsets versus what is possible. Teams without the context or experience often think too small and limit themselves to what they have been doing rather than expanding into bigger an better things.

Thirdly, these cycles are not “one and done.” We often tell our customers, there is no such thing as “set it and forget it.” Marketers need to continuously reassess, adjust, and optimize resources rather than operating as singular one-off processes. CDPs, like many great enterprise tools, are only as good as the data you put in and the real people-hours given to maintaining and expanding use cases and utility, and driving continual improvement over time.

The common theme that underpins executional excellence for all of this is talent. Since the day we launched mParticle, we have delivered on our commitments to clients of deploying a world-class solutions consulting team to serve their needs. This team includes people who span product, engineering, and marketing. We’re proud to have technical team members whose skills range from working with engineers on a thorny technical challenge to collaborating with marketers on business use cases, to planning and managing complex projects to successful conclusion.

To enhance and extend these services to mParticle clients and non-clients alike, we are excited to announce the launch of The Growth Practice (TGP), an independent consulting service that will help our customers quickly and easily integrate tools into a unified marketing technology stack. The former General Manager of HBE Ventures, Austin Hay, will serve as VP and leader of The Growth Practice. Austin comes with a wealth of technical experience in mobile and in providing large enterprise consulting engagements to well-known Fortune 500 brands and high growth startups. Our acquisition of the consulting arm of HBE Ventures and launch of TGP will build on the foundation that we have created internally of providing world-class support to our customers.

TGP will advise enterprise customers on selecting, integrating and managing a fully connected marketing technology stack across a wide variety of third-party tools, whether or not they are affiliated with mParticle. In this complex ecosystem, TGP will serve as a long-term partner for clients as they look to build out and maintain a best-in-class technology stack.

To learn more about TGP’s services, visit the website at the https://growthpractice.com.

AuthorDave MyersCOO & Co-Founder

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