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Interview with Augie MacCurrach, CEO at Customer Portfolios

In this interview Augie discusses how using data analytics and lifecycle marketing can fix the “broken” customer experience resulting from the all-too-common gap between offline and digital marketing

Tell us about your product/business and your specific role?

Customer Portfolios partners with omnichannel retailers to grow their customer value and business with our products and services. We provide our clients with customer-centric marketing services along with our fully integrated marketing automation platform and customer database called the MARCIE Workbench. By using advanced analytics, we identify actionable insights about specific behaviors and revenue opportunities across the buying lifecycle. Leveraging these insights, we execute targeted and measurable Lifecycle Marketing campaigns. The result is an increase in lifetime value.

As CEO, I oversee the financial and organizational health of the company. I also wear the CTO hat to help grow our platform and database products to meet the needs of our clients. I also spend a lot of time with our business development teams, packaging our products and services for the marketplace.

What is the core issue your product/technology aims to address and what sets it apart from the other players in the market?

We combine a brand’s disparate data sources into one actionable database that provides the single view of the customer. The rise of marketing technology has come about through point solutions, which allows marketers to communicate with customers channel-by-channel. However, we live in an omnichannel world, and customers want to be marketed to in a seamless way that fits with their lifestyle. Customer Portfolios combines customer data from all different touchpoints into one customer profile along with a connected identity system so marketers can have a holistic view.

We are vendor-agnostic, and our technology is set up to integrate with any touchpoint, no matter how new it is to the market. Additionally, we help brands make this holistic data actionable by recommending lifecycle marketing strategies to move the needle forward on revenue growth.

What’s the one industry, sector or role that your technology is most relevant to?

We work primarily with omnichannel retailers and brands selling direct to consumers who need help combining their data across channels. However, any industry that works with customers can benefit from this technology, the single customer view, and lifecycle marketing. In addition to omnichannel retailers, we work with other consumer-facing companies such as subscription-based services, restaurant chains, and retail banks.

What are some of the common challenges your customers approach you with?

One of the major challenges for our customers is making their data actionable and measuring the impact of their marketing. They have been collecting data about their customers, but it is disparate and siloed, so it’s difficult to create one seamless experience for the customer and track the experience across touchpoints. On top of that, our customers see that attributing revenue to one channel or campaign doesn’t work anymore. When customers move from channel to channel on a daily basis, they are being shown multiple messages that may or may not contribute to their purchase decision. By combining data from all these touchpoints into a single profile, marketers can see the full omnichannel path a customer took before they made a purchase, and we can optimize the different channels accordingly.

Using technology to effect transformation usually starts with a transformation of beliefs and mindsets. How do you consult enterprise clients and help them make that important shift in mindset to move ahead on a particular project or implementation?

We start all of our client relationships with an 8-week analytical project called Portfolio Pathing. Portfolio Pathing is an in-depth analysis of your holistic customer data that provides customer insight on trends and behaviors.

In the retail industry, all revenue comes from customers. They are a brand’s most important asset, and should be treated as such.

But today, most brands are just blasting emails to their lists, pushing products whether they are relevant or not. This portfolio analysis helps marketers treat customers differently by showing who their customers are, where they are in the lifecycle, and the best ways to take the next step and grow their relationship. The analysis and strategic recommendations created from the insights help marketers optimize the customer relationship and start to give customers the personalized treatment they deserve.

Give us an example of an enterprise meeting a digital transformation goal through your product?

The goal of any omnichannel retailer is to deliver targeted, seamless messaging wherever their customers are and track their customer base on a more holistic level. By connecting their POS system, website CMS, and digital channels into the CP Customer Profile, our client has a holistic view of their customers online and offline, and can create a seamless personalized experience for each customer. This single view helped the client identify that 50% of their digital responders made a purchase in-store, and that their digital marketing efforts are having an impact on all sales, including in-store sales. Because our client now has an omnichannel view that shows online and offline shopping activity, they were able to create lifecycle communications that gave customers the right message through the right channel.

What present or upcoming technologies you think have the maximum potential to accelerate enterprise digital transformation?

Everyone is finally talking about the importance of a customer data platform and a single customer view, but that’s what we’ve been doing for 17 years. We have the customer profile, the question is where is it needed and how do we leverage it to create that seamless customer experience. It’s not enough to just have the container for the single view of the customer, you have to have the marketing automation to deliver it to each touchpoint in near real-time. We’re working with our clients to deliver this integration and automation on a daily basis.

What’s your go to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that you use to stay in touch with the explosive changes happening in the digital space?

eMarketer has great statistics, and RetailDive and MarketingDive are great for timely industry news. I also like to read MarTech Today and scan the CRMC newsletter every week for longer thought-leadership pieces.

Read a good book lately on digital transformation that you’d like to recommend to us?

I’m going to recommend an oldie but goodie: Peppers and Rogers 1-to-1 Marketing. This outlines the original intent of customer relationship marketing and the Holy Grail that marketers are trying to achieve today.

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