number four painted on a brick wall
PHOTO: Makarios Tang

2019 ended with big news in the customer data platform (CDP) world when digital experience software provider Acquia acquired CDP platform vendor AgilOne. It validated earlier reports of a growing software industry: The CDP Institute reported the industry will reach $1 billion in 2019 and grew in funding by $680 million the first half of the year.

But how are businesses using the technology? While the use cases may be confusing for some, others have a clear-cut picture where they want to go with the software. We asked four CDP vendors to share their top case studies. While not reflective of all implementations of the software, this side-by-side comparison will hopefully provide some insight into where a vendor's strength lies.

Editor's note: Case studies are presented, with light edits for clarity, as provided by the vendors.

Acquia CDP: Wickes Boosts Shopper Engagement, Customer Support

Wickes, a home improvement retailer with 240 stores across the United Kingdom, had two goals in mind when they started the search for a customer data platform: reducing costs related to the outsourcing of marketing functions (such as targeting and database management) and to take control of the company’s customer data which includes Wickes’ “DIY” and trade customers. 

Hayley Clifford, Wickes senior CRM and loyalty manager, along with her team, ultimately decided that the Acquia CDP could help them accomplish these goals, and more. While customer data platforms are traditionally used by the marketing team, this is not the case for Wickes. In fact, Wickes’ CRM team was the primary user of the CDP for the first two years. Seeing the benefits of the CDP by the CRM team, the platform is now being used by the marketing insights team, who use it to analyze customer purchase behavior, as well as the social media and digital teams. The ability for various teams to leverage customer data has had the effect of creating a seamless and more efficient cross-team approach to serving Wickes’ customers, raising the quality of engagement online and off. 

AgilOne call center profile example from CDP

Relevant Emails, Decreased Cart Abandonment

Wickes’ goals for their online retail operations included increasing customer engagement and conversion through more relevant email campaigns and decreasing cart abandonment. Prior to deploying the CDP, they had no way to mitigate cart abandonment. After deployment, Clifford and her team were able to: 

  • Map the top 1,000 search terms to product category 
  • Capture browsing behavior using the AgilOne webtag 
  • Send personalized emails to customers who browsed but abandoned a site.

The results of their new engagement and conversion strategy delivered beyond expectations: 

  • 108% increase in email opens 
  • 116% increase in email clicks 
  • 275% increase in purchases on the website. 

Empowering Call Center Agents

As a large omnichannel retailer, Wickes’ number one goal is keeping both its online and instore (DIY and trade/business) customers happy. Call centers are a key customer touchpoint for Wickes, generating revenue and contributing to customer satisfaction and retention. Wickes is able to provide more personalized customer service by using Acquia’s platform to surface specific information, giving the call center agents a complete picture of the customer, including previous support calls and transaction history, so they can personalize the call experience and resolve inquiries more quickly. 

Before the Acquia CDP, agents only had visibility into purchase history and previous communication with the call center. Agents had to ask the IT department for customer details and loyalty program memberships. Agents now use the CDP to immediately identify whether the customer is part of loyalty program. Agents tailor the phone conversation or email based on the caller’s profile. Agents can now manage tickets without needing to involve IT, and there has been a 98% increase in operational efficiency.

Related Article: Will the CDP Marketplace Consolidate in 2020?

Arm Treasure Data: Increasing CLV for MobilityWare Gamers

If you’ve ever played games on your phone, chances are you’ve played a MobilityWare game — either its flagship Solitaire or any of the many other games such as BlackJack, Spider or Jigsaw Puzzle. Founded in 1990, the company’s continued success and platform transitions are due in part to its deep understanding of its players and their customer journeys. 

The Business Challenge: Keep Players Playing 

One of the toughest things for a gaming company to do is keep its best customers playing, and obviously that’s pivotal in increasing customer lifetime value (CLV). The answer is usually highly dependent on the game, the demographics of the players and even individual customer journeys and player histories. Teasing out player incentives or other customer retention strategies requires careful customer data analysis. 

The other problem game sellers face is how to monetize their games, and a major concern with any contemplated change is not cannibalizing revenues from current play. MobilityWare makes money from in-app purchases and ads, plus rewarded video. To address these challenges, MobilityWare turned to Arm Treasure Data's customer data platform to assist in getting a creative look into customer behavior insights. 

Predictive Modeling to Help Prevent Churn 

MobilityWare wanted to better understand: When is a customer likely to quit playing? And which player incentives could delay or stop customer churn? MobilityWare focuses primarily on “dedicated players,” those who have installed the game more than two weeks ago, but have not played in the previous two weeks. Dedicated players can be incentivized, they’re more valuable, and Mobilityware has a larger behavioral dataset because they’re more likely to have played a lot in the past. 

Customer Insight Outcomes

Leveraging predictive modeling through the Arm Treasure Data platform, MobilityWare was able to uncover that rewarding people with a "coin" that can be redeemed within the game wasn’t the clear winner. It did reduce churn, but had a negative impact on monetization. People tended to hoard them for unspecified “later use,” rather than play more and use them in the game. And who wants to take steps that hurt revenue if they don’t have to? 

Gamers Want Boosters, Not Coins

The real surprise was that giving someone a “booster,” or a small tool they can use to win, was almost as effective as coins in combating churn, plus it increased average revenue per user by more than 450% for those with a probability of churning between 60 and 80%. These insights were key to reducing churn and renewing player interest in the game. Additionally, the CDP data made it possible to uncover customer insights that helped MobilityWare determine the right experience to offer customers going forward. Leveraging hypothesis testing and predictive modeling has helped create higher profits for MobilityWare and is a strategy they will continue to utilize in the new year.

Related Article: Lessons Learned From CDP Implementations

BlueConic: Advantage Rent a Car Increases Bookings Through DTC Model

The $45 billion rental car market is hyper-competitive. Rental car companies face a particular challenge as they balance direct bookings with online travel agents (OTA) like Booking and Expedia, much like manufacturing brands balance direct revenue and selling through retailers. While bookings through OTAs give these rental companies more reach and bookings, they lose a percentage of the revenue to OTA fees; and don’t have access to the customer’s behavioral, transaction and demographic data. 

Advantage Rent a Car is one of the major players in the US rental car industry and includes EZ Rent-a-Car among its brands. The company saw an opportunity for growth by establishing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy to increase revenue from direct bookings, differentiate Advantage from competitors and fuel Advantage’s marketing team with first-party data to make smarter ad spend decisions. 

Building Unified Profiles

The success of Advantage’s DTC strategy depended upon the company accessing unified, first-party data in real-time. Advantage identified BlueConic CDP as the solution to its first-party data challenge. Advantage is now able to collect data across its known and unknown website visitors. Within BlueConic, Advantage now builds unified profiles that persistently store each customer’s demographic, behavioral, and interest-based attributes, such as name, email address, location, car class preferences and preferred rental location. 

With real-time access to the profile data that it stores in BlueConic, Advantage can deliver individualized experiences on the website experience for each visitor. Based on their browsing behavior, for example, a customer will see images of the city which he or she is planning to visit on the homepage. Now Advantage is able to deliver personalized customer experiences that drive bookings. In three months with BlueConic, Advantage has reported a 25% lift in direct bookings. 

Improve Cross-Channel Segmentation and Optimize Ad Spend

The rich profile data in BlueConic informs Advantage’s overall marketing strategy to make it more effective and cost-efficient. With BlueConic the company can identify the most popular locations from across channels and combine this data with other attributes in order to create rich customer segments. BlueConic’s partnerships and integrations allow this data to be passed to Advantage’s email service provider, and directly to Facebook and Google Ads to optimize ad spend and prioritize marketing budgets. In the near future, Advantage will leverage BlueConic’s AI Workbench to further enrich customer profiles with predictive scores based on customer lifetime value.

Related Article: Customer Data Platforms: The Truth Behind the Hype

Lytics: Regit Builds Customer Relationships for the Long Haul

Regit, based in the UK, provides car services to more than two million motorists, from helping buy and sell cars, to Ministry of Transport inspection reminders. They help motorists navigate car ownership more effectively, whether it’s looking for vehicle history or buying a new car. 

Desire to Serve Ownership Lifecycle

Regit wanted to build relationships that serve the car ownership lifecycle. Recognizing a need in the industry for more personalized information, the company began helping consumers using vehicle registration numbers to serve up personalized offers and services. Although Regit had a lot of accurate data, they didn’t have a good way to use that data to engage with customers. They needed a platform that could unify their data with a single view of the customer and ultimately orchestrate user experiences to get customers the right offers at the right time. That is where Lytics came in.    

Going Beyond Email

Staying connected to consumers when they’re off-site is an important part of Regit’s customer communications strategy. Regit targets customers with ads from Facebook, Google and other channels using the customer knowledge that resides in Lytics to personalize those ads. This is a significant step forward from the email-driven campaigns of the past, which were static and difficult to adjust as new customer data came to light. If a customer sold a vehicle, the email campaign might not be “aware” of that change and would end up serving the wrong message. These missteps negatively impact the relationship between the customer and the brand.  

To individualize customer experiences, Regit uses a customer scoring system to better understand and predict car owner behavior over the life of their relationship. Free car valuations have proven a highly effective method for getting consumers to share information and sign up for services. There’s a clear value exchange that happens and further deepens the partnership and brand loyalty. 

Not every consumer is willing to share registration information for a free valuation. Using Lytics, Regit identified users who appeared about to exit before registration and engaged them with a pop-up screen for an anonymous valuation. Thirty-three percent who would have exited clicked on the offer. Registration, that initial sharing of identity, is the beginning of a relationship. The longer they engage with customers, the more they know about them and can better serve their needs.  

Screenshot from inside the Lytics Customer Data Platform (CDP).

Managing Test-Drive Process

Another pain point for Regit was coordinating test drives, one of their most popular services. Regit arranges test drives between car owners and dealers. They are important predictions to car sales. But because of the hand-holding required it's one of the most costly services. Many test-drive leads come from ads on third-party sites loosely targeted to general demographic groups. While they yielded a number of leads they were not necessarily qualified. About 70% of the leads would contact Regit’s call center while the remaining 30% would perform the follow-through on their own.   

Regit created customer segments to reach highly targeted “lookalike” customers. Since implementing this strategy through Lytics, Regit has seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of responses. Approximately 70% of test-drive candidates create their own arrangements, while only 30% require customer care from Regit’s call center — a complete reversal. They’ve generated more revenue at a lower cost and created more efficiency and tangible cost savings in their call center. The trend in Europe toward electric and hybrid vehicles is just one area where Regit sees a chance to help customers by providing personalized content and services.