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How to optimise your mature cloud data provision in 2020

The more widespread adoption of cloud data management has constituted a genuine revolution for marketing teams across the world. Well-established cloud solutions have provided a whole new way to mix previously siloed data sources, to work towards a single customer view, and to react in real-time to consumer decisions and priorities.

There’s increasing maturity around data management at many leading brands – those who want to retain their competitive advantage have wisely invested to ensure that they have cloud provision, preventing challenger brands from stealing too big a march on them. If your organisation is relatively mature in how data is handled, the temptation could be to sit back and relax, rather than to continue to try to innovate and optimise. However, most leading marketers realise this would be a mistake – after all, the world of data never stops moving – you shouldn’t either!

That being said, it can be difficult to see where to head next once you have a cloud data management system up and running smoothly. If it’s helping to meet objectives and realise your vision, what could there be to improve upon? Here are a few ideas for how you might optimise…

  • Development space: One suggestion would be to check in with your analysts about how much scope they have to be creative in your current environment. Do they have a sandbox for audience development? They might be accomplishing the tasks you’ve set out for them, but if you consult them, they may surprise you with what they might achieve given space and further data to play with and develop.


  • New offerings: Are there new products you could be launching? Would your current cloud provision quickly handle a new data demand potentially being placed upon it, perhaps in very short order (e.g. if a challenger brings a new offering to market)? Could your organisation respond in time?


  • Pricing strategies: Are you experimenting sufficiently with your pricing strategies? Does your set-up today give you the right tools to hypothesise and visualise the impact of changes to your charging models?


  • New channels: Does your current cloud environment allow you to smoothly implement new channels of communication with your customers? Could you introduce e.g. location-based offers or social media to better target your customers, or to provide a new influence in their journeys with your brand?


  • Failing fast: Are you experimental enough in your approach? Can your data management system help you to be nimble in your tests, failing quickly in order to continually find the optimal process/solution?


  • Analytics: Is your analytics function in-sourced, and if so, is it operating strategically? Can your analysts use your cloud data platform to most tactically respond to your/your audience’s needs?


You’ll notice that all the above are hallmarks of a business that’s able to be agile. Cloud data management is an indispensable part of agile capabilities for the modern marketer, and if your brand isn’t already working in this way, the chances are that your competitors and challengers soon will be (if they aren’t already). To succeed and not be unexpectedly overtaken, you must get data management perfected – it’s as simple as that.

But if you’re not there yet – even in a mature data environment – don’t despair. It isn’t necessary to throw your current solution out of the window, in the process incurring cost and losing time. There are solutions that help you build onto your legacy/existing environments in order to maximise your capabilities – at Merkle, our solution in this space is called Rapid Audience Layer, or RAL.

RAL is a cloud data management solution that is fast to set up (think weeks, not months) and is invaluable in helping brands drive rapidly to insights. It can be customised with extensions (e.g. to DataSource, Merkle’s prospecting and data enhancement tool, or with events stream & promo history standard tables, to name but two) depending on your particular needs or gaps. It’s perfectly formed for small-scale or tactical developments, for example if you have a specific project in mind or business area to grow. It works with your existing data management provision, so you won’t have to tinker unnecessarily with what’s already working well for your business, or upset your IT teams by altering existing structures/environments.

If you’re keen to optimise and think RAL might be of interest, we’d be delighted to take you through it in more detail – do get in touch.

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