Merkle’s Connected CRM (cCRM™) strategy provides our clients a business framework for competitive advantage by fully leveraging their first-party, or customer, data. Once a client has accepted and implemented a cCRM strategy, they typically expect to take advantage of the value it provides as soon as possible. The technology framework that supports the cCRM strategy is the Connected Customer Platform. This "blueprint" provides the roadmap for combining the first- and-third-party data, traditional and digital, structured and unstructured, into an integrated repository for campaign management and marketing analytics. This provisioned marketing data is also used for determining and tuning audience segments to ensure the most efficient audience management for media and channel execution. Our clients look to Merkle to plan the roadmap that will provide the fastest path to implementing components or all of the Connected Customer Platform. As Merkle’s Technology Solutions Group (TSG), we are creating pre-developed assets, by vertical, that will help reduce the "time-to-value" for both the Merkle Data Management Cloud component and system integration components for the software vendor products in the advertising serving technologies (Adtech). We are also developing new capabilities to integrate these technologies and components of the entire Connected Customer Platform.
How do these assets and integration capabilities assist in time-to-value? By reducing the time, lowering the cost of implementation risk, and integrating the Connected Customer Platform. The following two use cases detail how TSG’s capabilities help our clients get to their value sooner.
1. Time-to-Value in the Merkle Data Management Cloud
The value to our clients (and to Merkle) is not in the deployment, but the usage of an environment. The faster we can implement, the faster the time to value. Typical marketing database deployments can take 6 to 12 months to implement with a price tag of $800,000 to $1,000,000. In today’s packaged software and increasingly cloud-based world, waiting 12 months for a valuable database is becoming harder to sell. Plus, clients are much savvier about the time, cost, risk, and failures of custom development projects.
Many IT departments have had significant cost overruns and outright failures in custom development projects that have made them risk averse. Being able to demonstrate strong marketing and technology skills, along with a set of assets to ensure quality and mitigate risk, we help our clients reduce the time-to-value in a database build. Consider the business benefit when a client can start running campaigns on a new platform three to four months earlier using established technology assets rather than a custom-developed environment. Leveraging assets also provides clients with the capability to parallelize a marketing database development effort. For example, a marketing database effort in the retail banking industry would take the following approach using an assets-based approach:
- The Merkle team would gather and map the requirements against the business intelligence and campaign management banking assets, confirming which aggregations and measures in the assets can be used as is and which need modification.
- These modifications would be mapped to the Merkle Data Management Cloud’s data management layer, where any extensions or modifications to the operational data store (ODS) and marketing database would occur.
- In parallel, another Merkle team will map the bank’s required data sources into the pre-built subject area, load the data, and then integrate job loads.
- Then, data management changes and extends. The source system extractions will be completed and tested.
- At the same time, the final report configuration requires that users perform iterative techniques to ensure that the calculations, aggregations, and the look/feel are aligned with the client’s vision.
- The process can outstrip the timeline of a traditional database deployment by 3–4 months and reduce the cost of a project by $300,000 to $400,000 per deployment. This provides both the client and Merkle with faster time-to-value.
2. Time-to-Value in Digital Systems Integration
Digital systems integration is defined as the functional and technical component integration of the Connected Customer Platform. It provides the “connective tissue” between traditional marketing data platforms and Adtech. For example, in a media execution solution there may be the need for data from a DMP to be sourced from a Data Management Cloud and integrated into an AdTech package such as MediaMath. Each of those integration points will have a functional use case and recommended best practices for creating a combined capability amongst its piece parts. By having this expertise, we save clients time and accelerate time-to-value.
The ideal end-state for our clients to realize the full benefits of a connected customer strategy is an instantiated cCRM. Our Merkle Data Management Cloud and Digital systems integration assets help our clients realize that time-to-value sooner and with less cost and risk.