How brands are leveraging customer data to evolve their business

Article by Billy Loizou, Area Vice President APAC, Amperity

At our recent Amplify summit, industry leaders and professionals from iconic global brands like Deloitte, Patagonia, Taco Bell, and more converged to explore the evolving landscape of data-driven marketing and the profound impact of first-party data.

Under the theme of ‘Together We’re Electric,’ the event explored critical facets of using customer data for strategic advantage, focusing on the future of paid media, best practices for Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), and the transformative power of a unified data foundation with Amperity.

The right tools for a shifting customer data landscape

Billy Loizou, Area Vice President APAC, Amperity

Amperity CEO Barry Padgett kicked off the event with an analogy: a CDP is like an electrical outlet, with all the circuitry behind the wall making it work and the appliances that get plugged in making things happen. The data foundation is behind the wall, and all the marketing and analytics tools get power from the foundation.

He emphasized the importance of both halves of the customer data equation – what goes on behind the outlet and what gets plugged in – working in harmony to create a seamless flow, from data intake and unification to insights and activation to revenue.

“Customer data should always be two things: reliable and repeatable. Results are only as good as the data you feed it. We must get the data right,” he said. A collaborative approach is even more important at a time of heightened external pressures like regulatory compliance, technical evolution, and the demands of knowledgeable and savvy customers.

The keynote unveiled Amperity for Paid Media, a new solution addressing the challenges to traditional digital advertising methods from the continuing deprecation of third-party data and evolving content and privacy regulations. Amperity CTO and Co-Founder Derek Slager laid out a customer data strategy focused on using unified first-party data to power paid media and be much more effective than a third-party approach.

Amperity is already sending more than 12 billion profiles a day to the majority of top media partners, and brands adopting a first-party-first strategy have seen great results, including match rates as high as 85% in key channels, improved return on ad spend (ROAS) by up to five times, and up to 90% faster activation time for new campaigns. The keynote summed it up as “better data, better results.”

First-party paid media strategy in action

Several sessions unpacked the future of paid media, making it clear that this moment in digital advertising is both evolutionary and revolutionary. Things are changing, and they’re not going back.

With third-party-reliant systems becoming obsolete, it becomes critical to base your approach on first-party data to navigate the changing ecosystem. We heard from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Citizen Watch, and Taco Bell about how they’re working with Amperity to unify and use their owned data for advertising, and seeing tremendous results.

They shared their experiences with change management when transitioning to a unified customer profile approach. They also discussed how adapting their paid media strategy pushed them to think about other ways to use customer data in different settings, emphasizing the critical role of a unified customer foundation to make any of it possible.

Mike Shiwdin, VP of Digital Optimisation, MarTech, Guest Intelligence and Engagement Strategy at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, shared, “Anticipating your guests’ needs and acting on them is the core of hospitality. First-party data allows us to truly understand who those customers are and what they want and need across our 20-plus brands globally. So that was where we first started: How do we better understand who is a budget hotel customer in a registry collection and who’s spending $700 a night at an all-inclusive resort?

“From a paid media perspective, we started with suppression. Without first-party data, we had a one-size-fits-all approach. So that was the clear proof of concept to drive value internally to build momentum in the investment. Now as we’re three years into it, we’re starting to build a robust retargeting effort. And we’re seeing material results. We’re starting to get more of a sense of how we expand out across paid media.

“Once we saw the value of paid media at Wyndham, we slowly started to mature into the realization of how first-party data isn’t just about the next transaction. And we started to see the real value of first-party data and a CDP with Amperity. The next transaction – the value of that is just incremental touchpoints to build a stronger relationship with your guests.”

Customer data should always be two things: reliable and repeatable.

Customer data should always be two things: reliable and repeatable. (Image generated by AI)

Customer data platform best practices: scoping, ROI and use cases

During the summit, we also dug into the different aspects of using a CDP, including hearing from SPARC Group about building a multi-brand strategy with a unified data foundation and exploring the three pillars of ROI strategy at Vail Resorts.

We had the privilege of learning about how CPG company Reckitt makes a CDP work on a global scale. Bastian Parizot, Global Head of Tech and Digital at Reckitt emphasized, “First-party strategy for us is about how we take control of that ‘seed’ that helps us do better at media targeting, to be more relevant in advertising and start building a direct relationship.”

Sessions with Vince and Citizen Watch walked through specific use cases for marketing and analytics, focusing on tying together the customer experience across all touchpoints. Rob Harvath, VP of Consumer Insights and Data Management at Citizen Watch, said, “The power of a CDP like Amperity is that it has made my life a whole lot easier, but it’s also made us a whole lot smarter about who our customers are.”

“Amperity has helped me tell the company and our sales team who our customers are, all the way down to the individual model of watch they bought. So when you take into account all of our brands, all of the collections within those brands, all the way down to the individual model, guess what? Our data now is structured so that I can answer the question, who’s the customer for this particular watch with these attributes.”

We also heard from Taco Bell, in partnership with AWS, on how it went from having no customer data to operating seamlessly between digital and in-person channels. It used data to understand customer preferences, creating the kind of personal experiences that build loyalty. Dane Mathews, Chief Digital Officer at Taco Bell, emphasized, “Loyalty is transforming customer expectations, retail experiences and the QSR business model.”

From unified data to downfall of DMPs

The speakers emphasized that the success of their marketing strategies hinges on having a unified data foundation as the bedrock. They shared their experience of how important it is to feed accurate data to a range of tools for use cases like omnichannel, multi-databases, and real-time profile API.

On the issues of culture and change management, speakers agreed that each organization’s initial use cases and CDP rollout plan should be tailored to specific needs. But regardless of what’s tried, each needed to see ROI quickly.

There was also a session from David Chan, Managing Director at Deloitte Digital, discussing the future of customer data. He explained why brands need to move from Data Management Platforms (DMP), which had been popular but are dependent on third-party data and thus are becoming increasingly less viable. He recommended that brands move to a CDP, which maximizes first-party data, and explained how clean-room technology is vital to make that move happen.

each organization's initial use cases and CDP rollout plan should be tailored to their specific needs

Each organization’s initial use cases and CDP rollout plan should be tailored to their specific needs (Image generated by AI)

Strategies and tactics for reshaping customer engagement

Some sessions asked, ‘What does it take to put together a data foundation that can turn customer data into business value?’ Patagonia Manager, Customer Insights and Analytics, Dan Sundaram, shares, “[With Amperity] we can illuminate touchpoints across the brand that we’ve never been able to see or understand. And that lets us talk to people in a much more relevant, less intrusive way, which in a world of personalization is the key to valuable customer relationships.”

Databricks also joined Amperity on the stage to discuss the concept of a ‘composable’ CDP, which involves solving CDP-related challenges using individual point solutions, also known as a modern data stack. One of the takeaways was that the point solutions within a composable CDP do not create unified customer profiles – a highly specialized technical problem that needs to be solved to make the other points work more effectively. (Incidentally, this is the problem Amperity was built to solve.)

The future of data-driven marketing is electric

We’re on the cusp of a remarkable transformation in customer data. The Amplify Summit offered a glimpse into the future, where the power of unified, reliable data is harnessed to drive unprecedented levels of innovation, engagement, and growth. The future of data-driven marketing is here – and the possibilities are “electrifying.”

About the Author

About Billy Loizou, Area Vice President, Amperity

Billy Loizou has 15-plus years of experience in design, technology and marketing. He has worked with some of the world’s most renowned and respected brands, helping them improve their customer experience and drive profitability.

About Amperity

Amperity delivers the data confidence brands need to unlock growth by truly knowing their customers. With Amperity, brands can build a first-party data foundation to fuel customer acquisition and retention, personalize experiences that build loyalty, and manage privacy compliance. Using patented AI and ML methods, Amperity stitches together all customer interactions to build a unified view that seamlessly connects to marketing and technology tools. More than 400 brands worldwide rely on Amperity to turn data into business value, including Alaska Airlines, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Endeavour Drinks, Planet Fitness, Seattle Sounders FC, Under Armour and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. For more information, visit amperity.com or follow it on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.