How do you accelerate the data exchange flywheel?

In a recent virtual roundtable, Michelle Peterson, CMO at Pressed, and Richard Lees, Chief Strategy Officer EMEA at Merkle, outlined steps for acquiring richer customer insights and expanding customer communities by focusing on a straightforward yet all-too-often elusive fundamental: start with building meaningful customer experiences.  

Volumes of customer data doesn’t necessarily add up to “knowing the customer.” Brands that have earned a recurring place in customers’ lives are using insights to deliver value at every customer interaction. This creates the conditions for a virtuous cycle of engagement —  where more customer insights are shared, more value is delivered, and the data exchange flywheel is accelerated. 

Three steps to driving the data exchange: 

Step One: Start with the experience. What does a good experience look like? 

  • There’s no magic number of records to reach critical mass. Start with where you are and what you have. What experiences can you build to help you go broader and deeper with your customers? 
  • The end game is personalized experiences optimized for the individual customers. What could these experiences look like today? What will they look like in five years?
  • Continually challenge and evaluate the experiences you build: Are they thoughtful? Are they frictionless?  

The experience battle ground is not about delivering better experiences in your app than the competitor. It’s about connecting your customers’ multiple moments across all channels. Use the insights you have to deliver value, giving you permission to seek and receive even more insights.
– Richard Lees

Step Two: Initiate collaboration. Who needs to join forces to deliver the experience? 

  • As the saying goes, if you want to travel far, travel together. Who are the internal and external stakeholders that are vital to delivering today’s experiences, and tomorrow? Think IT, Finance, and other internal and external partners.
  • Are the priorities of all organizations within the company aligned with the vision of what the customer experiences look like today and tomorrow?

Step Three: Establish the impact-based metrics for success. How do you know when you’ve gotten there? 

  • Be very clear on what success looks like. Enlist support for these impact-based metrics across the organization. 
  • Don’t mistake motion for progress. A rocking horse is in motion all day but it doesn’t go anywhere. Ensure your metrics measure business outcomes. 

What’s the most strategic lever for accelerating the data exchange flywheel? Be very clear on the vision of the customer experience, and how the brand is represented through that experience. Recognize that it’s not possible to deliver this in a silo, and collaboration with IT, Finance, and other internal groups is vital. Hone in on your metrics. It’s not about adding millions of records to a database, it’s about delivering results that drive impact for the business.  

Thoughtful is the key word. When you approach the data exchange through a thoughtful lens it humanizes the discussion. It’s not about gathering emails or demographic data. It’s about thoughtfully adding value to consumers’ lives.
– Michelle Peterson

➡️ Hear more from Merkle in Richard’s latest podcast and discover the fundamentals of identity, the benefits of mastering customer identity and how, when you get this right, first-party data can be utilised to deliver a truly personal customer experience. 

➡️ CMO Club members can watch the virtual roundtable replay here.

➡️  Join your peers for an upcoming CMO Club virtual roundtable. Check out the calendar of events.