Chapter 1: How to Build a Business Case for Data Transformation and a CDP

Martin Kihn
SVP of Strategy, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Chris O' Hara
VP of Data & Identity, Salesforce Marketing Cloud

When starting a new data transformation, you need clear goals. This may sound obvious, but even some of the world’s biggest companies have stumbled by embarking on data transformation without clear goals in place. Even more, companies have mistakenly assumed that simply licensing a CDP will create tangible transformation. But it’s never that easy.

To make sure you’re ahead of the curve, establish clear goals, a KPI framework, and data alignment. This ensures your new digital transformation will be off to a great start.

Establish clear goals

Technology provides companies with great new tools, but these great tools need to be deployed with measurable goals and tied directly to the company’s business strategy.

Any company can say they’re licensing a CDP because they “need better tools for targeting online consumers.” That’s not a specific or measurable goal.

Clear goals like these will put you on the path to success:

  • We want to increase the amount of time customers spend on our website by 20%
  • We want to increase our video ad conversion rates by 30% through more granular customer segmentation
  • We want to serve personalised content to 100% of visitors we can match to an audience segment to drive 50% more conversions.

Consult the right stakeholders

When you set your goals, make sure that the right stakeholders are in control of the process. If your IT team is buying the software, but it’s going to be primarily used by your media team, then there’s a disconnect. IT teams know as much about advertising tactics as media teams usually know about writing Javascript. Get the right team on board and head into your data transformation with a clear set of KPIs that are tied directly to business success. Start by making sure you see ROI from the software and then align its function to your overall business strategy.

As you develop your strategy, make sure:

  • You can count or list all of your data transformation goals — this way, you can keep them organised and specific
  • Your goals are aligned to use cases or examples that have worked for others
  • Each of your goals has a statistic or measurable quantity associated with it
  • Everyone understands which goals are most important — and less important

Track performance to meet goals

Once you’ve established clear goals with measurable outcomes, you’ll need to consistently track your company’s performance as it works to meet those goals. To track the effectiveness of your data transformation, you’ll need a clear performance framework and KPIs to align with.

Sample KPIs include:

  • Expand addressable customer segments from 10 to 100 in three months
  • Reduce nonhuman digital ad traffic from 35% to 5% in six months to save $1.5 million
  • Reduce website bounce rate by 25% by delivering personalised content
  • Suppress known buyers of specific SKUs from being exposed to cross-channel messaging for those products to save money in addressable media spending 

Your team needs clear benchmarks for what success really looks like. This will allow them to align their work to precise metrics that prove your data transformation is working — which will let your investment continue.

It’s also essential to tie the success of your data transformation to your company’s overall business success. Vague goals like “better segmentation” aren’t relevant to your executive team’s success metrics. When you link data goals with higher-order business goals, you’ll increase the effectiveness of your data transformation project and garner more executive alignment and budget support.

An example of a clear data goal aligned with business success is:

  • We’ll increase marketing effectiveness by 15% by driving customer acquisition through more efficient digital channels (like Instagram) instead of expensive traditional channels (like television)

Make sure your executive team knows which use cases you’ve based your goals on, and understands the value of your data transformation goals. It’s essential for your data transformation to be fully aligned with your company’s overall goals.

In our next chapter we’ll discuss how people fit into the data transformation process. Once you’ve built a compelling business case for a CDP, you’ll need to identify key stakeholders to work with. This all starts with creating a data centre of excellence.


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