After several years leading agencies where we dealt with numerous digital marketing & data infrastructure projects we, together with my associates, identified untapped needs companies are facing when it comes to customer data and expectations. The complexity of the market brought new trends that are forcing companies into undiscovered paths. We have decided to create Human37, the very first Customer Data Strategy agency in order to help our clients be(come) more data-driven & customer-centric and shape a world that provides better customer experiences for individuals, starting with the customers of our clients.
The market trends
From a business point of view the starting point is the users’ expectations that have evolved tremendously. (1) Users now have a better understanding of how their data are tracked and used. This is putting pressure on the way brands will use that data. Organisations have not always been transparent on how data were being used, it created a breach of trust between organisations and consumers. (2) Users want to interact where and when they want to engage with brands while expecting, in return, an accurate answer always tailored and personalised to their needs. A recent Accenture study stated:
“91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations”.
Personalisation requires users' data. Users’ data are becoming harder to collect. This paradox requires brands to rethink how data can be gathered for purposeful reasons, to drive better experiences.
In parallel, there is a need from brands to lengthen their vision’s term. Pouring extensive budgets into digital acquisition channels (media) is no longer sufficient. In order to drive customer loyalty, brands need to go way beyond as users expect more. The communication, the message, the assets (website, apps, etc.) need to be coherent and consistent. This means brands need to shift some of their investments into proposing better customer experiences across the entire customer journey.
From a technology point of view, we see four main trends:
(1) Personalisation requires the ability for brands to build a 360° view of their customers. This 360° view is being fed from more tools and datasets than ever. According to Gartner:
“68% of CMO’s expect MarTech budgets to increase in 2021”.
This increasing volume of data also brings an infrastructure challenge. More data means more computing power needed. This is where cloud based infrastructures come into action. According to Adobe & E-consultancy “37% respondents think predictive analytics has the greatest positive impact on customer experience.”
(2) We observe an exponential rise of specialised players/technologies to solve brands’ business & technological challenges. Those specialised players are offering an alternative for the Marketing Cloud fatigue: market oligopoly (Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, Google), which comes with difficult or limited integration, expensive pricing and inflexible data models. The result is the creation of a “best of breed” approach where organisations select different technological components in order to build a unique stack tailored to their needs. This is however for most organisations an overwhelming task. Read more about our vision on this here.
(3) The increasing amount of data also comes with a data quality challenge. Everyone has heard of the “shit in shit out” formula. Everyone tends to agree that predictive analytics, AI and machine learning are key components to business growth. However, most people tend to forget about the importance of data quality. Tough, to Merkle: “[...] Marketing and technology professionals cited data quality as the biggest technical barrier, followed by lack of access and visibility to all of the available data.”
(4) The last technological challenge is linked to users’ privacy. The increasing amount of privacy centered restrictions such as cookie legislations, GDPR, ITP and other browser restrictions, be it publicly or privately initiated, are forcing brands to re-think data collection to enhance the way data is collected and activated. This gave birth to the idea of privacy by design.
From a human point of view we identifY 3 main trendS:
(1) Organisations often tend to forget technologies are only a means; Not the end. Moreover, how humans leverage technology is more important than technology itself. Indeed according to BCG:
“When implementing digital technologies, more than two-thirds of an initiative’s success depends on people and processes. Data, technology and AI are only accountable for 30%”.
(2) one should not forget the fact humans are great at self-delusion. History is always more organised in history books than in empirical reality. Everyday we observe brands post-rationalising on trends. Looking for the data that prove their points instead of using the data to define their points. Getting stuck in lagging metrics rather than leading ones. Most companies believe they are data-driven. Helping all stakeholders in your organisation to understand how to deploy insights while serving customers is the key to success.
(3) Finally, while advanced data projects require data integration, cross-departments sharing and collaboration, we, unfortunately, still observe companies organised upon silos blocking any kind of cross-sharing initiatives.
At Human37 we aim to shape a world that provides better customer experience for individuals. We are at the forefront of the duality between humans and technology when it comes to driving experiences.
Customer experience is a broad notion and I will take the opportunity to summarise and structure what we have in mind. Customer experience refers to the entire value proposition that a business provides to consumers. It is determined by all the interactions that the customer may experience throughout their journey with a brand: from the solutions provided during their research, to the purchase of services or products, including the relationship established with the brand.
Continuously reinventing ourselves, challenging the status quo, offering new solutions to avoid being stuck tomorrow with today’s solution for yesterday’s problem is the promise we are making to all our clients.
At Human37, starting from our clients’ business needs and challenges, we help our clients define, design and implement their future-proof data strategy. How? By guiding our clients through our unique Human37 methodology composed on 4 iterative phases:
Orientation - understand your organisation’s vision, strategy, tools in place.
Blueprinting - establishing the different components for optimal Customer Experience delivery.
Implementation - build, connect and improve your data architecture, enabling more effective marketing operations and enhanced Customer Experiences.
Experience Delivery - optimising the ‘User Stories’ as building blocks towards improved Customer Experiences.
Along this journey, we operate on 2 pillars:
1) Data Architecture and MarTech stack - we define, design and implement our clients’ data architecture. We ensure the architecture answers our clients business needs. We also ensure tools are properly implemented and integrated. Finally, we push the reflection around the technologies that compose this data architecture. We ensure the stack is future-proof and profitable. Feels technical and overwhelming? No worries. We have developed a unique methodology to guide you through this process together.
2) Elevate customer experience - Once implemented, we help our clients operate their MarTech stack around identified business challenges and needs. We ensure our clients are deriving long term business value for their bottom line. We help our clients make sense of the captured data and implement robust methodology for deriving insights from the data. But most important, we help our clients activate the insights through projects that aim at improving customer experiences and drive business growth. Our methodology ensures business value is driven along the way and not only at the end of the project.
Last but not least, our objective is to help our clients in-source and infuse the data-driven methodology we apply on the projects we are running together. To achieve this we ensure our clients’ teams are an active part of every single project. On top, we define, design and implement the right processes and programs to ensure our clients’ team are fully ready to run the show by themselves while using us as a support desk.