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As organizations become data-driven and focused on building critical data sets that can be used to support many different business processes, creating unified customer profiles (UCPs) is quickly becoming one of the most important initiatives. UCPs not only provide the foundation for many marketing and sales processes; they’re also an important source of insight to add intelligence to other applications that are used across the organization.
“Building a UCP is not a matter of using data from a single application or platform, or even a small number of them,” says Suresh Vittal Kotha, Vice President, Platform & Products, with Adobe Experience Cloud. “UCPs are comprehensive and draw data from as many different digital systems as possible and then combine that data to provide a holistic view.”
For example, UCPs include detailed customer journey and response data from marketing systems, payment and financial information from accounts receivable databases, customer relationship management systems, and customer information from other applications and databases. In essence, a UCP is created by combining everything the organization knows or thinks about an individual customer. The resulting mass personalization is at a level that allows the organization to truly “know” the customer and to create an intimate relationship that is a competitive differentiator.
Organizations will derive many benefits from a cohesive UCP. One of the most important is the ability to deliver highly personalized communications, offers, content, and support for individual customers. The holistic understanding of the customer embodied in the UCP enables the firm to provide customer support faster, with a greater understanding of the unique needs of that customer. And personalization impacts not only customer-facing activities, but internal analytics activities and operational decisions as well.
“Building effective UCPs requires collaboration between the CMO and the CIO that leverages their complementary skill sets,” says Vittal Kotha. “In most organizations, the CIO has deep understanding of enterprise systems, while the CMO has insight into customer-facing systems. They must unearth each other’s abilities so they can see how they can help each other.”
For example, the critical modern technology platforms used by the marketing team are more easily connected with enterprise apps using APIs. The CMO knows what needs to be integrated, and the CIO knows how to do it with APIs. As they work together, they should jointly determine which technology platforms will work best for them, so that they can develop a UCP system based on currently available information while ensuring that it will be future-ready, supporting new data types that have yet to emerge.
From a general perspective, joint CMO/CIO partnerships provide obvious benefits. From a more tactical perspective, one of the more important projects that will result from their joint efforts will be integrating data from both marketing and traditional enterprise systems for UCPs that can support many different corporate functions. Data-rich UCPs will inform numerous business processes and customer interactions, and organizations without the ability to create them will be at a severe disadvantage.
You can read more about how to optimize the partnership here.