The growth marketing landscape is shifting as new technologies and expectations emerge daily. Amid cross-enterprise data silos, consumers clamor for more personalized brand interactions. One Forrester report estimates that, on average, large organizations use 367 different apps and software to manage data and workflows, leading to employees spending 30% of their workweek (about 12 hours) locating critical business data.
Meanwhile, the demand for consumer satisfaction and meaningful engagement is surging. Billie Loewen, my colleague and WillowTree Group VP of Growth, Analytics, and Optimization, recently spoke to this rising demand and its associated challenges on our Room for Growth podcast. Polaris research points to staggering market growth in customer engagement solutions, ballooning from $18 billion in 2021 to $43 billion in 2030 — primarily driven by advancements in generative AI and machine learning, and natural language processing.
The answer to these business-critical challenges is Adobe Experience Platform. This comprehensive customer experience management tool empowers our clients to capitalize on consumer engagement and solve the business-critical challenge of centralized first-party data.
Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP) is an application that sits on top of Experience Platform, allowing marketers to distribute and activate real-time customer profiles across many destinations (mobile, email marketing, advertising, social, etc.) — effectively turning data insights into more personalized consumer experiences.
With Real-Time CDP, companies weave data from multiple sources into one 360-degree customer profile that marketers can activate to create highly personalized, cross-channel experiences — on any device, to any location, and at any time.
Before marketers and businesses can start personalizing omnichannel experiences and driving ROI through Adobe Real-Time CDP, there’s one critical task you must do first: ensure every cross-functional product team understands the business objectives you want the platform to achieve.
WillowTree’s North Star Workshops, Use Case Workshops, and Prioritization Exercises help our clients minimize time-to-value and quickly realize positive ROI for high-impact use cases as they begin implementing Adobe Real-Time CDP.
These exercises provide a highly-collaborative, crystal-clear, and rock-solid foundation to architect your Adobe ecosystem.
In partnership with our client’s engineering, IT, marketing, and business development stakeholders, WillowTree’s North Star Workshops distill what these teams identify as key input metrics into one North Star Metric, with clearly defined mid- or long-term business impacts.
When I run these workshops with clients, I’m looking for cross-functional teams to align on one crucial metric that best captures the core value a company’s product delivers to consumers. Identifying this North Star metric ensures our clients develop a brand marketing strategy that aligns with their business goals and KPIs.
For example, a media and entertainment company’s North Star Metric might be regular active listeners. More specifically, we’d evaluate the number of unique users who consume at least 30 minutes of content per session, three times per month. To measure subscriber engagement over time, marketers would need to capture data from sources such as apps, websites, social media, and third-party partners, among many others.
That’s where Adobe Real-Time CDP comes in. Using the robust customer profiles activated through Real-Time CDP, the tool would empower granular consumer segments, updated in real-time according to the data source (web vs. app), frequency (weekly vs. monthly), and depth (10 minutes listened vs. one hour), as examples.
Now that our imagined media company has identified its North Star Metric, a Use Case Workshop is the next exercise that brings teams closer to driving value through Adobe Real-Time CDP.
Our Use Case Workshops ensure teams intentionally identify opportunities that minimize time-to-value and speed-to-market — and maximize ROI. There’s no perfect number of use cases we want our CDP MVP to activate; we’ve worked with clients to stand up three use cases, or more than 20. That’s why prioritization is vital to the Adobe CDP implementation process (more on that shortly).
Remember our media and entertainment brand’s North Star Metric: regular active listeners. Based on that metric and its associated KPIs (e.g., subscriptions, sessions, minutes listened, etc.), a Use Case Workshop might help our client define these two use cases:
Through our Adobe Experience Cloud expertise, our growth marketing teams have learned that activating use cases takes time — whether you have two or 200. Time-to-value depends on the complexity of your company’s use cases and the complexity of your data ecosystem.
With that in mind, prioritization is required to cut through those complexities and further shorten your brand’s runway to ROI.
Through identity resolution, Experience Platform connects what Adobe calls “fragments,” or pieces of information about a single user. Without Experience Platform — and by extension, Real-Time CDP — that process of uniting fragments can’t happen without extensive data engineering. By stitching fragments together through Adobe Experience Platform, marketers create unified, real-time consumer profiles that enable more powerful personalization.
But, I often see clients’ data ecosystems spread across many different sources (platforms like analytics, advertising, cloud storage, CRMs, proprietary databases, etc.). Their consumer journeys can include dozens, even hundreds of touchpoints (website, app, email, chatbots, webinars, customer service, etc.).
Though we like to be as quick-to-market and realistically optimistic as possible, complete identity resolution across vast data sources and brand touchpoints doesn’t happen on day one of your CDP implementation.
Through Prioritization Exercises, our clients identify their business-critical, high-impact use cases and the customer profile data needed to initiate them. For our media company example, we’d compile a list of campaigns — perhaps a new recommended series’ launch, user onboarding, or seasonal promotion — and rank them according to value and complexity.
Is the firm’s priority to establish rapid efficiencies and automation in the short term? If so, we’d likely prioritize monetized campaigns, such as more seamless, expedited user onboarding.
Or is the company taking a long-term, time-intensive approach to more effective marketing? In this instance, we’d focus on campaigns to expand lifetime value (LTV), like milestone recognition or upsells.
Adobe Real-Time CDP helps firms accomplish all of these priorities. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure cross-functional alignment on which one comes first.
Together, these workshops are the critical first stops in our clients’ journeys to extract value from Adobe Real-Time CDP.
I typically see clients leave these exercises with an MVP roadmap for their Real-Time CDP in hand, ready to start technical implementation and reach the right people with the right message in the right context. (Keep an eye out for our forthcoming whitepaper on next steps to standing up Real-Time CDP.)
We’ve equipped them with top-of-the-line tools to expedite the timeline to positive top-line ROI. I’d call that a pretty massive win.