Most customer-focused organizations recognize the immense value of the deluge of customer data being collected. These organizations have embraced both the need and the desire to implement a Customer Data Platform (CDP), but one giant hurdle stands between them and their targeted marketing strategy; they lack the technical and strategic resources to tackle a project of this magnitude.
The great reshuffle and a lack of experienced technical resources currently available in the marketplace make the dream of implementing a CDP even more daunting. So, what’s a CMO to do? How will you thread the needle across strategy, process, technology, and ultimately your customer experience design? Outsource!
Shift Paradigm’s Michael Davis recently sat down with Jason Crain and Colin Bunn of Equine Network to discuss some of the benefits they’ve experienced in implementing a CDP with the support of an outsourced partner, and the characteristics to look for in a partnership.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the characteristics and benefits discussed:
1.Flexibility – “The resources you need today aren’t necessarily the resources you’ll need in 3 months.” Colin Bunn, Equine Network.
Working with an outsourced partner on a project allows for resourcing flexibility, meaning resources are easily scaled up (and down) as needed. Justifying a FTE hire to the CFO becomes less challenging when the organization has the benefit and financial flexibility of outsourcing the fractional expertise of a consultancy/agency to get the job done. Finding one or two resources in today’s job market that will have a vast variety of accessible talent for the organization and via the outsourced support from a partner will be unlikely.
Outsourcing buys time, by continuing to move projects forward, all while figuring out who and what the next best hire will be for a longer term data and strategy.
2. Expertise – “Let the people who specialize in strategizing and implementing CDPs do that for you.” Jason Crain, Equine Network.
In our recent conversation with Jason, he highlighted that having their CDP project supported by an external partner (Shift Paradigm) has given them the ability to focus on their core competencies, while letting the Shift Paradigm team focus on theirs. Equine Network still owns and collects the data, but engaging Shift Paradigm on this project has made making use of that data much easier—and in turn, has made finding the right audiences to target much easier as well.
3. Efficient – “We now think in terms of where our CRM should start and stop – and where our CDP should start and stop.” Colin Bunn
In the Equine Network example, the Shift Paradigm team articulated the functionalities of their existing CRMs, what they were built to do (and not do), and where adding a layer of intelligence on top of their CRMs (via adding a CDP) could be hugely beneficial to their customer experience strategy.
In order to make sense of their customer data issue, having Shift Paradigm encourage the Equine team to take a step back from their view of the customer relationship (and what they ultimately hope to achieve), unearthed truths about their audience and quickly identified inefficiencies in their current strategic processes.
For Equine Network, this has meant their individual businesses have been able to continue to use the CRMs they know and love, but those CRMs now ‘feed’ the CDP. The CDP then receives that data, makes sense of it, and feeds it back into the individual business units.
4. Competitive – “We were initially looking at extending our CRM but our partner helped us see the light – the light of a CDP.” Colin Bunn
Look for an outsourced partner that will take a step back, identify and articulate the importance of understanding the heart of an issue, and support the organization in strategizing to overcome the issue.
In the Equine Network example, moving the intelligence capabilities of their customer data to the CDP (as opposed to having it sit in the individual CRMs) will finally make sense of their data—giving them a competitive advantage. Thus enabling them to be more proactive than reactive.
Enlisting the support of a partner can also help surpass competitors who have not yet realized the benefits of having someone else get their project over the line. For Equine Network, a CDP has further enabled them to provide the equine community with best in class competitions, content, products, and services that deepens their audience’s love for horses and horse sports.
5. Collaborative – An outsourced agency should be viewed as a partner in creating success and an extension of the team. As such, enlisting the support of these experts will both mitigate potential business risks, and provide the peace of mind that they have a genuine vested interest in seeing the project succeed.
An outsourced partner will ensure the organization takes the right steps and the right investments to drive customer data strategy forward and support overarching goals.
6. Diligent – Working with a trusted outsourced partner has changed the way businesses work. In addition to identifying technical or strategic inefficiencies, an outsourced partner will be there to focus on the task at hand, which frees up the in-house team’s time to focus on their core competencies and day-to-day priorities. Get things done quicker by engaging an external agency to tackle time-consuming tasks (like standing up a data lake or implementing a CDP).
For organizations that can figure out how to effectively integrate CDPs into both their martech stack and CX strategy, they bring the promise of well orchestrated customer experiences across a variety of channels. With 56% of marketing influencers admitting implementing data management marketing technology as the most challenging martech to implement, it makes sense to consider seeking out the support of a partner on your dream project. In fact, you’ve likely already taken a step towards getting the job done.
The payoff in your investment will lead to a much better understanding and relationship with customers, and an empowered team that will finally be able to leverage actionable insights to retain and grow your best customers. Sounds too good to be true? Equine Network doesn’t think so. Let’s talk.