Preface

Chances are that in the last 12 months, you’ve purchased an order online and picked it up at the store. Perhaps it was even brought curbside to you. If you’re like many consumers, you’ve done this more in recent times than ever before. Financial services firm Cowen estimated that 25% of US consumers will have tried curbside pickup by 2020, now a $30–35 billion annual market. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic played a large part in such a massive shift. But it may be accurate to label this and related trends not so much as a shift as an acceleration in how customers expect to engage with brands. Digital Commerce 360, an online retail media outlet, found in August 2020 that 39% of consumers polled planned to continue using curbside throughout the year, indicating this is a lasting trend.

Providing safe and convenient purchase and pickup options during a pandemic is just one example of engaging with customers under unique circumstances. This personalized approach can’t be overlooked in today’s marketplace: research advisory Gartner reports that two-thirds of companies now report they are competing on customer experience, up from just 36% back in 2010. In this report, you will learn more about the factors contributing to this jump, such as consumer interaction with a growing number of devices and channels, and how marketers have adapted.

Brands today must initiate and sustain meaningful relationships with consumers, catering to their unique behaviors and interests, across a variety of channels. Traditionally, marketing data and marketing strategies have existed in silos within individual channels. Store or call center representatives are not able to tailor their customer interactions based on email marketing segments. Even the buy-online, pick-up-in-store efforts previously detailed require an integration of ecommerce and in-store data sources that can’t be taken for granted.

To provide a consistent customer experience, organizations must be able to integrate and act on this variety of data. Research consultancy McKinsey reports that brands that leverage customer behavioral insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin. Siloed and unintegrated data and marketing stand in the way of providing the right messages and offers to customers at the right time.

In this report, you’ll learn about the origins of providing customer-centric, data-driven marketing and how to deliver it today. First, in Chapter 1, you’ll learn in a few case studies how organizations have adapted to providing a customer-first experience. Chapters 2 and 3 provide an overview of the challenges marketers have faced and the technology solutions they’ve found, culminating in the customer data platform (CDP).

The ultimate goal of a CDP is to provide a personalized, customer-centric experience; each organization is at a different point in that journey. Chapter 4 provides practical tips for aligning people, processes, and tools for a successful CDP implementation. Chapter 5 follows with a framework for assessing your organization’s data-driven  marketing  maturity,  and  hence  its  capability  to  put  customers first. Finally, Chapter 6 offers some closing thoughts and recommendations.

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