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Refined Path: Paving the Road for Seamless Omnichannel Customer Journeys

CIO VendorTom Quinn, Founder and Principal
In a career spanning two decades, Tom Quinn worked in teams that served as digital agency of record for companies like AstraZeneca and Capital One. Working with these world-class clients, he learned the importance of carefully listening to customers and engaging them in relevant ways. He also came to appreciate that in order to achieve great results you needed the right team and the right strategies. These strategies were enabled by technology and fueled by data.

In recent years Quinn has seen many organizations struggle to harness their data. Then along came Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). Quinn was immediately attracted to CDPs as they solved two big problems–breaking down data silos for a single customer view and enabling companies to offer synchronized, omnichannel personalization based on a customer’s real-time needs. But he recognized that many marketers were focusing primarily on the CDP technology and not as much on the necessary strategies. This invoked Quinn’s entrepreneurial spirits, marking the inception of Refined Path—a vendor-neutral consultancy that specializes in linking data for one-to-one customer engagement and 360° insights.

Mindset Change: From Touchpoints to Personalized Journeys

Organizations realize the importance of customer experience, and in an omnichannel world isolated channels just don’t cut it anymore. Many companies still manage customer touchpoints on an individual basis and may be blind to customers that are frustrated by a disjointed experience. “Our vision is to help companies with the transition from touchpoint-based interactions to personalized, end-to-end journeys based on each customer’s real-time needs,” says Quinn.

Challenges in Implementing a Successful CDP Program

Without a roadmap, companies often have difficulty getting started. It doesn’t help that there are over 50 vendors offering Customer Data Platform technologies. Quinn advises that before selecting a vendor, organizations should envision their desired outcome and design specific use cases.

To achieve great results you need the right team and the right strategy. The strategy is enabled by technology and fueled by customer data

This will inform technical requirements which will ultimately help them select the right vendor. Additionally, many companies struggle with implementation because they don’t have an operating plan for aligning people and processes with the technology. Quinn warns, “This isn’t turnkey. Achieving success with a CDP requires a disciplined approach.”

For organizations that need help getting started, Refined Path partners with them to develop plans and design use cases for optimal customer engagement. They also assist with vendor selection (they’ve engaged with over 15 leading CDP technologies).

Organizational Issues: Collaborating Around the Customer Journey

Many MarTech implementations occur within a single function such as email or search. CDP’s are different. Synchronizing customer engagement across channels requires cross-functional teamwork. Quinn notes that most successful CDP implementations have strong executive support. Refined Path helps organizations develop the right roles and processes and advises senior leaders on how they can support the program in areas such as governance, messaging and goal setting.

Post-Implementation: Achieving One-to-One Engagement at Scale

Refined Path has experience working with clients from a wide range of industries including retail, publishing, financial services, healthcare, travel, auto, CPG and B2B. All have different business goals but Quinn sees three common best practices: “First, develop an orchestration framework that aligns with your customers’ journeys. Second, think about your consolidated first party data as a valuable asset and invest in it appropriately. Third, B2C companies should implement people-based campaigns that leverage the connected data. B2B companies should similarly implement account-based campaigns.” Refined Path executes campaigns with a test-and-learn approach, keeping an eye out for opportunities that will have the biggest near-term impact. He observes “When the team sees early wins it paves the way for ongoing success.”