This is the first in a series of posts to our blog about the Merkle Connected CX Cloud, and how this solution enables the key use cases and most critical challenges our clients face in achieving a robust ROI from their CX technologies, practices, and strategies.
Investing big to achieve a 360-degree customer view
In a recent Gartner survey of marketing leaders, 96% of respondents claim to be in some stage of pursuit of a 360-degree view of their customer. Acquiring and leveraging customer data are critical growth strategies for brands today, with estimates by Gartner that $80 billion was spent on customer data technology alone in 2021 – a figure they expect to climb to $100 billion by 2023.
CDPs at the forefront
Much of that money was spent on customer data platforms (CDPs), which were most frequently cited in the survey as the solution where the 360-degree view of the customer resides. In fact, Gartner’s survey finds that marketers on an average report deploying 2.3 vendors for CDPs, up from 1.9 just three years ago.
Although marketers report high utilization of CDP capabilities, and believe they have the right tools to aggregate and segment customer data, they still overwhelmingly agree that leveraging customer data for digital marketing execution presents a significant challenge. Despite their massive investments to build a fully unified view of their customers, only 14% of organizations responding to the aforementioned survey indicate they have actually achieved that goal, with 82% of respondents saying they still aspire to get there.
The missing link: a robust data foundation
While 88% of organizations surveyed agree that customer data is critical to validation and delivery of innovations that customers want, “lack of a customer data foundation” was identified in Gartner’s survey as the number one roadblock.
"Solving data quality problems across diverse data sources and formats challenges many organizations,” says Gartner. “Poor-quality customer data is expensive, with organizations estimating the cost of poor data at an average of $12 million per year." Substandard data quality undermines trust in analytically driven insights, while subverting the accuracy of audience definitions and machine learning models.
Other related challenges we often encounter in our work with brands include data unification, data governance, and real-time data accessibility across the enterprise. All of which significantly throttles the full performance of any CDP.
The need for a more expansive approach
Simply acquiring a CDP is not an instant way to achieve 360-degree customer views out of the box. To effectively manage and activate the growing volume, variety, and sources of customer data required for true personalization at scale, companies need to look beyond the CDP to assess their full data fabric at an enterprise level – the integrated set of technologies, services, strategies, and processes that underpins and empowers the CDP and their entire CX stack.
How the Connected CX Cloud helps
The Merkle Connected CX Cloud provides a modern architecture to unlock the full performance – and ROI potential – of today’s most powerful CDPs. Designed to empower experience personalization at speed and scale, the solution is an integrated, easily customizable suite of services and technologies that can deploy flexibly across homogenous or heterogeneous environments.
The Merkle Connected CX Cloud utilizes data virtualization and a logical data fabric, along with advanced data management frameworks like a service-oriented architecture and real-time data stream layer. This in turn exponentially improves a company’s’ ability to share, automate, safeguard, and activate the customer data across all channels in a privacy safe manner.
Bridging a critical gap to success
Beyond the need for a stronger data foundation, the Connected CX Cloud solves another critical challenge to CDP owners. As Gartner explains, many organizations struggle to gain cross-functional consensus on what constitutes a 360-degree view in the first place. “Digital marketing leaders hope that this view of the customer will unify cross-functional data in their organizations to drive personalization and retention,” says Gartner’s report. “However, few are actually successful.”
By uniting business, marketing, and IT with a singular solution to data science, customer data modeling, data privacy and execution, the Connected CX Cloud helps these teams unlock the full value of their data to power priority use cases across each of these domains.
Want to learn more about the Connected CX Cloud? Download the guide here.