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?

Use cases do 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.

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 five stages in the process of successfully introducing marketing technology where they are of crucial importance.

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.

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.

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.


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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.