Real-Time Data Aggregates for Today’s Dynamic Customer Journeys

Todd Hinton | November 5, 2019

A customer who drives away from a home improvement retailer with a new refrigerator has little awareness of the domino effect the transaction generates, happy enough to have a working freezer. Unbeknownst to the customer, however, the purchase introduces a flurry of changes to the customer’s data aggregates, which have a material impact on the continuing customer journey. Aggregates that require updates will include categories such as date of last in-store transaction, last retail purchase amount, last purchase store number, last purchase date, last purchase amount, and year-to-date purchase amount, to name a few. Other potential changes could include data points such as a new physical address or email, or a customer’s status as head of household.

Within each of these broad categories there may be dozens of calculation rules that update a customer’s status, such as customer lifetime value (CLV), and others that determine the retailer’s next-best action based on the aggregations. Does the retailer send a thank you note? An offer for storage organizers and ice trays? Does the updated CLV warrant an invitation to a gold member club? Or does the purchase trigger free delivery and installation?

The permutations that kick into high gear with a single transaction underscore the importance of using automated, rules-based decisions that are updated and pushed out in real time to keep pace with a customer journey. Consider a scenario where the customer with the new refrigerator arrives home and sees an email offer for a discount on a water connection kit, with free hook-up. The offer is personalized, relevant, and in the context and cadence of the customer journey. Now consider the alternative where aggregates are updated using lists and batch data. At best, the same offer is made three days after the purchase – after the customer has already bought and installed the water connection kit.

Always Keep Pace with the Connected Customer

What differentiates the RedPoint Customer Data Platform from a list-based approach is that aggregates are not only updated in real time, they are also pushed out to subscribers in milliseconds. The master data management component eliminates lag time between data ingestion, processing, and calculation updates – ensuring a frictionless customer journey. This means that every engagement channel and external system that subscribes to the real-time updates is in synchronization with a customer at any stage of the customer journey.

To be considered an enterprise-grade CDP, a solution must ingest data from all sources, retain full detail of the data, store it, convert it into a unified customer profile, and make the profiles available to all external systems. Because these requirements do not specifically include real-time aggregation calculations, there are CDPs in the market today that lay claim to providing a single view of the customer through the aforementioned capabilities. In truth, however, the lack of rules-based aggregations means that they’re not equipped to manage an omnichannel customer journey.

Typically, a list-based CDP will instead ingest data, calculate some aggregates for a nightly batch upload to an FTP site, and a subscriber or external system will pick it up via web services or API integrations.

A Personalized Experience Requires a Rules-Based Approach

A traditional cadence sufficed when customer journeys were linear, static and rarely involved multiple channels. Marketers could safely rely on lists to generate outbound campaigns where there was little expectation from the customer for a personalized experience.

That’s not true today. According to the Harris Poll survey commissioned by RedPoint, 63 percent of consumers say that personalization is now part of the standard service they expect, with 37 percent of consumers going so far as to say they will flat out stop doing business with a company that fails to offer a personalized experience.

Consumers also expect a brand to know who they are – preferences, behaviors, permissions – across every channel. Satisfying the always-on, connected consumer requires two-way, real-time communication across a host of new and emerging channels. To achieve this, brands must have the capability to apply rules dynamically at any stage of the customer journey, producing a next-best action in the context and cadence of an individual journey.

The modern customer journey renders a list-based approach and list-based decision-making obsolete. To learn more about the benefits of real-time aggregates and what sets the RedPoint CDP apart from others in the market, I encourage you to read a recent BOSS Magazine article that goes into extensive detail on the shortcomings of what it called “out-of-the-box” CDPs with a “one size fits all approach” that mostly fail to match brands’ aspirations to target customers with highly personalized engagements.

In the article, my colleague George Corugedo explains how real-time aggregates provide a fast path between data and revenue, and why many RedPoint clients have declared that the RedPoint platform is the primary revenue generation platform for their organizations.

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Todd Hinton
Todd Hinton

As VP of Engineering, Data Management for RedPoint Global, Todd Hinton leverages more than 20 years of technology management and software development experience to his oversight of RedPoint Global’s data management product offerings, including master data management and the RedPoint Customer Data Platform. Connect with Todd on LinkedIn and Twitter.