At the Women in Retail Leadership Summit in Key Biscayne, ActionIQ’s Tamara Gruzbarg joined visionary Cindy Marshall, CEO & Founder of Shine Strategy, for a special panel discussion on the future of retail. Together, they tried to answer the question, “Can customer data fuel retail innovation?”
Not surprisingly they both answered the question with a resounding, “Yes.” In fact, they agreed, holistic access to customer data and analytics has become a must-have in today’s complex, constantly changing and hyper-competitive landscape. Top level retail data analytics are now becoming standard across the industry to improve sales and customer retention.
Both women have devoted their careers to making this possible. Marshall founded her consulting company to focus on building omni-channel retailing brands—and says she uses “creativity with data to drive insights.” And Gruzbarg has helped top publishing, retail and finance brands turn data into valuable marketing insights.
Below are some highlights from their discussion. For more on the future of retail, you can watch the entire discussion here.
Uneven adoption of data-driven strategies
While Marshall has worked for billion-dollar brands that have sophisticated in-house teams specializing in customer data and analytics, she has also worked for a billion dollar hospitality brand that had only a couple of people and needed full service from her company, Shine Strategy.
The beauty of “smart” campaigns
Marshall is a big proponent of smart campaigns, i.e. campaigns that, once set up, keep running and optimizing with little human intervention. Initially triggered by certain customer behaviors, the campaign keeps running and, based on ongoing results, it will: 1) drop customers who don’t respond, 2) add new consumers, and 3) customize experiences based on customers’ individual interactions with the brand.
CDPs on the rise
In the past year and a half, Marshall said she has received four different RFPs from clients wanting to implement a customer data platform (CDP). She described CDPs as “CRM on steroids” that have the potential of enabling marketers to realize the dream of “smart campaigns.”
Beware CDPs in name only
Marshall says that tag managers and email service providers (ESPs) sometimes market themselves as CDPs, when in fact they lack key capabilities of a CDP. As strategic consultant helping brands implement CDPs, she says she has learned how to tell, “who is telling the truth and who is not.”
Holistic data drives organizational transformation
Cutting edge customer data tools have the potential not just to change the customer experience but also the internal experience for teams working with customer data. “It forces teams to be collaborative, dig deeper and break barriers between online in-store, marketing and merchandising,” explained Gruzbarg.