Developing use cases for a customer data platform

How can developing use cases for a customer data platform deliver what your business needs? Here we discuss how use cases came about and introduce key stages to successfully implement valuable marketing technology.

jigsaw puzzle

In praise of use cases… or ‘anvandningsfall’ as they were originally termed

Back in 1987 a Swede called Ivar Jacobson presented the first known article on use cases as a means for capturing and specifying requirements for computer systems. He didn’t much like their original long Swedish name and eventually settled on ‘use case’ which has since been universally adopted.

So why are we singing their praises?

Developing use cases for a customer data platform does not require technical knowledge, they allow your teams to collaborate on the desired business outcomes and uncover gaps. One of the key things with a use case is it ensures your stakeholders have defined the business need and, how the activity will be measured.

Developing use cases for a customer data platform

An example of a marketing use case is “Use data to deliver relevant, personalised omni-channel campaigns in order to increase revenue and reduce marketing costs”. The use case is pretty straight forward. The brand wants to communicate with their customers across multiple channels in order to generate revenue and potentially reduce wasted marketing spend.

Many businesses fail to develop core use cases to solve a problem or deliver on a strategy. By developing core use cases, which are prioritised based on the business goals and can be measured, it will give you the north star to focus on and deliver against your goals.

We see at least three stages in the process of successfully introducing marketing technology where they are of crucial importance.

Articulate and Document Use Cases

First by going through the discipline of articulating and documenting use cases a business can clarify exactly what they want this nebulous item, a marketing system, to actually do.

It provides a non-techy way for the requirements to be mapped out so that the user community can articulate step by step what both it and the system are expected to do, and what the outputs should look like.

It also allows for consideration of time. When and how quickly should processing happen including volume. Thus, allowing the system providers to get a handle on whether for instance they are dealing with ten thousand or a million customers.

Given that nowadays almost all martech is purchased off-the-shelf rather than being built inhouse, the combined use cases can help start the process of vendor selection. Rather than being told a long list of the glossy features that can be delivered by the martech salesperson, most of which you don’t want in the first place, the company can factually check whether the system being proposed can actually do what you require.

Develop the Business Case

Next, the use cases can feed directly into developing the business case. If for instance you are going to be able to do A that you couldn’t do before, how much customer value are you going to be able to generate compared to where you are now. Or alternatively how much staff time will be saved using the new tool to deliver B more quickly?

We find that business cases for martech generally span across four key areas:
1 The incremental revenue generated by being able to do something that was not possible before.
2 The cost of time saved by using a better tool to deliver something more quickly.
3 Reduction in technical debt by streamlining and unifying data and platforms.
4 Reducing reputational risk by having clear GDPR measures in place

Once past the business casing stage, many organisations will want to start with a live proof of concept or POC. If you select a few areas where the new technology should add value, and where it can be set up and configured quickly (please note I am not writing LHF!) then a POC can be put in place.

There is no better way to finally confirm that everything works from the technology to the customers responding to it. In addition, a live POC that works, gets quick buy in from all levels in an organisation. The POC will also pick up on what is not working and enable you to put it right.

Set Up, Configure and Deliver with the Use Case Specification

And finally, when the full martech needs to be set up and configured, the developers can take the use cases as the specification against which they are going to have to deliver. The company can sign off the configuration as done when the use cases work.

At UniFida we like to help our clients with developing their use cases at the start of the process of introducing a customer data platform. We do this for all the reasons articulated above, and incidentally it helps us understand quickly whether we can in reality deliver what you need.  Having developed several client use cases, we can help stimulate your thinking around what they might provide.

Our offer! We have made a decision not to charge for this kind of consultancy as it helps you understand what you need the technology to do, and for us to understand what we may be called on to deliver.

Please do get in touch if help with developing use cases for a customer data platform is what you are looking for.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Post lockdown marketing, did you grasp the moment?

You may recall our post from March where we provided suggestions on what marketers might do during the Covid lockdown. Now, as the lockdown starts to ease and we enter the new normal, we look towards marketing post lockdown.

For our part we have initiated a project concerned with multi-channel marketing mix attribution, working with a small team of graduates from University College London, and Edinburgh University.

Our mission is to find out if we can detect any patterns that hold true for more than one client that help us to understand the effects of timing and sequencing in how events prior to an order combine to contribute to the order actually happening.

So, for instance, is an email a week before an order more of a driver than a catalogue three weeks before, or a social media referral just a day before, and does it matter what order they happen in?

In a multi-channel world these are important questions, and we hope to have some definitive answers for you before too long. If you are interested to discuss this project, and how it might help your marketing post lockdown, please email us.

We have also been pushing full steam ahead with developing our UniFida customer data platform technology including:

  • Redesigning the way you can select audiences for campaigns to make the process much slicker
  • Integrating with Fresh Relevance for website and email personalisation
  • And with Microsoft Power BI for data visualisation

We very much look forward to talking, and even meeting, with you in the post lockdown period as business gets back on its hind legs again!

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


McKinsey has defined ‘Modern Marketing’ for us!

McKinsey’s March article ‘Modern Marketing: what it is, what it isn’t, and how to do it’ takes a bold look at all the enablers and capabilities required for marketing today.

Importantly they define the goal of modern marketing as: ‘to leverage data from all consumer interactions to creatively deliver as much relevant one to one marketing as possible’.

This is interesting, not least for some things it omits, such as developing brand awareness.

The article does however give a broad spectrum of their recommendations as listed in the table below.

modern marketing requirements

As providers of a customer data platform technology and data science, we can’t help being excited by the number of areas where the capabilities of our software and analytical services are required by the modern marketer, as indicated by the blue arrows.

Central to their concept of a customer-centric mindset is the need for: ‘a centralised data platform with a unified view of customers, culled from every possible touchpoint; the continuous generation of insights from customer-journey analytics; the measurement of everything consumers see and engage with; and the hiring and development of talented people who know how to translate insights about customers into experiences that resonate with customers’.

In another section they suggest that it is important to ‘elevate consumer insights and analytics’, and that ‘no marketing activities should be executed without the backing of relevant insights and the ability to measure performance’.

There is a lot we found to be of interest and we strongly recommend reading the full article.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Dumping Cost Per Click

Have you ever felt that you wanted to dump cost per click (CPC) as your measure of ROI but time pressures and lack of tools mean that you remain stuck with it?

We have just received an interesting report from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions which explains how a large proportion of digital marketers are still using CPC as their ROI measure for digital marketing.

But we all know that CPC, useful as it is, only describes one part of the customer journey.

Part of the problem is that, as the report explains, marketeers are under constant pressure to make decisions quickly; they have frequent budget allocation discussions and need to base decisions on something.

However, we suspect that a bigger issue is that digital marketers don’t have the tools to measure the true return, based on their overall contribution to sales achieved, from their different online and offline media.

There will often be multiple influences on the journey to a sale, and many of these can be offline, like things sent through the mail, or undetectable on your website, like opened but unclicked emails. It is only when you look at all the online and offline influences in combination that you can start to allocate the value of a sale back to its causes.

This capability is precisely what we have developed in UniFida, so that we can bring together everything that may have influenced each of your customers in the 90-day window before they placed an order.

When you can see for each order both its value, and all the events that led up to it, and then weight them according to how recent they were, you can then do the value attribution job properly.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you solve this problem, do please send us an email, and we will arrange a call at a time convenient to you.

Read the full report ‘The Long and the Short of ROI’ from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Multi-channel marketing mix optimisation case study

This case study looks at marketing mix optimisation strategies used by an insurer to improve the spread of their marketing budget.

 

The Situation

A substantial insurer selling directly to consumers uses budget allocation software to optimise recruitment ROI across channels.

 

The Client’s Business Goals

  • To use historic campaign performance metrics combined with a channel mix performance model to inform budget allocation
  • To trial our budget allocation software called BAT to optimise the way that money is allocated over 300+ activities each year
  • To use the redistribution of budget recommended by BAT to challenge the current allocation of marketing budget
  • To generate as a result an uplift of >5% of value from the same amount of overall marketing recruitment spend

 

Marketing Mix Optimisation Solution

  • We set up a joint team with the client to analyse historic marketing campaign metrics stretching back up to three years
  • From these we developed some 20 different channel level saturation curves showing how ROI declines in any channel as spend is increased
  • The historic metrics, combined with channel saturation curves, were loaded into BAT, along with the client’s multi-channel mix performance model to handle halo effects and re-attribution of some of the web demand
  • We used BAT to run optimised budget distribution scenarios, introducing cut-offs at an activity level in terms of minimum and maximum permissible spends
  • We then undertook with the client a budget planning process review to fathom out how best to introduce BAT and its outputs into the current planning cycle
  • Finally we trained the client to use BAT so that they became confident to drive it on their own

 

Key benefits

  • The overall business benefit was to get a substantial uplift in the value of sales from the same budget. We are not allowed to quote the uplift obtained but it gave an ROI on the cost of our software and services well in excess of x 20.
  • A second major benefit was the improved speed to develop budget plans; with over 300 campaigns pa and multiple channels in play, budget planning was taking many days to complete. This has now been reduced to seconds once the parameters for a new scenarios have been set
  • Lastly BAT has provided planners with the benefit of a full audit trail; all input metrics, saturation curves used and assumptions made are documented for each scenario. Additionally the BAT tool now holds a saturation curve library for use in future planning.

UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


3 problems that can arise when allocating marketing budget according to campaign ROI

What could possibly go wrong when allocating marketing budget according to campaign ROI? Well, depending on exactly how you do that, quite a lot actually!

 

Here are just three examples

  1. If you approve any campaign expected to provide an ROI > X you may be approving campaigns for which there may be alternatives that yield better X+++ returns. These may be different types of campaign with the same objective, or for instance the same campaign but just run at a different time of year.
  2. It’s well known that all channels can suffer from over-use or saturation, at which point their ROI will start to drop. Just think of the irritation caused by a TV advert repeating too often. But if you cannot tell what the cumulative ROI of all your campaigns in a channel is, how are you going to be able to measure this effect, and know when to reduce spend in one channel or increase it in another?
  3. Campaigns don’t just happen in isolation; they happen within the context of all the other campaigns that are happening at the same time, each of which may have an impact on a potential customer. Hence you spend on DRTV will impact your returns from direct mail or door-drops. Understanding the impact of your main channels on other channels can become critical.

So, how do you resolve these issues and get to the point where allocating your marketing budget takes account of them?

We have developed a process, and related technology, that is designed to help you get to this point. The way it works in detail varies with each client, because no two clients share the same marketing campaign mix, but the outcome will be that you have a marketing budget that should get you the best possible return.

Contact us for more information and a no-obligation chat.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.