How is marketing and customer experience changing in an omnichannel world? Josh Mueller, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Dun and Bradstreet, and Rachel Richter, Senior Vice President of Customer Analytics and Insights at Dun and Bradstreet, tell CXOTalk about the “omnichannel customer experience,” which uses data and complex analytics to identify customers’ needs and optimize delivery.

“The most important thing is really to centralize all of the amazing data that you have at your fingertips and… unify it together so that you can act on it,” Richter explains. “It really allows us to explore with more complex analytics; some of those being propensity models such as look-alike models based on historical data; or even demand estimators which really help you identify opportunities and the dollar value of different prospects. And that, then, empowers that very customized engagement, really understanding your customers and prospects.”

As SVP at Dun & Bradstreet, Mueller has global responsibility for demand generation, digital, operations, marketing technology, creative and content. His organization is pivotal to Dun & Bradstreet’s transformation to a modern company with a focus on providing an amazing customer experience and scaling demand generation.

Richter leads Customer Analytics & Insights at Dun & Bradstreet with global responsibility for predictive modeling, customer segmentation & targeting, marketing analytics, business intelligence and customer/market research.

Transcript

Michael Krigsman: I’m Michael Krigsman, an industry analyst and the host of CxOTalk. And, we’re talking about marketing and customer experience in the omnichannel world, and I’m speaking with Josh Mueller, who is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, and Rachel Richter, who is VP of Customer Analytics and Insights.

So Josh, when we talk about omnichannel customer experience, what does that mean?

Josh Mueller: Well, omnichannel customer experience is a bit of a buzzword, and people have been talking about it for several years. At its most basic level, brands and customers are interacting across a lot of different channels. They're interacting in digital. They're interacting in events. They're interacting directly with sales teams. And, historically, marketers and brands often try to optimize for a specific channel. "Omnichannel" means you're optimizing across that customer experience. You're putting yourself in the customer's lens, and you're optimizing for that, not for what you're doing as a brand.

Michael Krigsman: And, what are the foundations? How do you deliver that?

Rachel Richter: The most important thing is really to centralize all of the amazing data that you have at your fingertips and bring that all and unify it together so that you can act on it. And then, it's all about how you build more complex analytics on top of that to help you really anticipate customer needs. And, at Dun & Bradstreet, having all of this amazing data at our fingertips, it really allows us to explore with more complex analytics — some of those being propensity models such as look-alike models based on historical data; or even demand estimators, which really help you identify opportunities and the dollar value of different prospects. And that, then, empowers that very customized engagement, really understanding your customers and prospects.

Michael Krigsman: So, Rachel, I have to ask, what is a "propensity model"?

Rachel Richter: So, a propensity model really looks back at historical data and tells you what the attributes are of customers that have purchased that product historically and really hones in on the right customers and prospects to target with a certain product.

Michael Krigsman: Josh, how does this work across channels?

Josh Mueller: Yeah, it’s really difficult to do. I’ll start with that. This doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes a lot of discipline, both from the marketing organization as well as the company holistically. A lot of companies make the mistake of going out and buying a lot of technology. [And they think it] will solve these problems for them and then they’ll be able to have omnichannel customer experiences. It doesn’t start with technology. It starts with a really good marketing strategy and knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. And then, it’s your data strategy. It’s actually being able to have consistent data across all of your systems and being able to truly have that 360-degree view.

And then, that's when you leverage marketing technology, which is amazing and it's better than it has ever been. But, without those two things in place — your marketing strategy and your data strategy — what you're trying to do from a marketing technology perspective will fall short.

Michael Krigsman: And how do you do that? How do you connect that data so that you’re managing across channels?

Rachel Richter: Yeah, so I will say we are very lucky, both of us, to work at a data and analytics company like Dun & Bradstreet, right? So, we have amazing, amazing data at our fingertips, right? And then, it allows us to then go study, and go test and learn, and bring that data together, right? So, we build ourselves kind of a centralized data warehouse or data lake like most best-in-class companies do. The advantage that we tend to have at Dun & Bradstreet is we almost get to be a guinea pig and really drink our own champagne for the newest data analytics

Michael Krigsman: I’m Michael Krigsman, an industry analyst and the host of CxOTalk. And, we’re talking about marketing and customer experience in the omnichannel world, and I’m speaking with Josh Mueller, who is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, and Rachel Richter, who is VP of Customer Analytics and Insights.

So Josh, when we talk about omnichannel customer experience, what does that mean?

Josh Mueller: Well, omnichannel customer experience is a bit of a buzzword, and people have been talking about it for several years. At its most basic level, brands and customers are interacting across a lot of different channels. They're interacting in digital. They're interacting in events. They're interacting directly with sales teams. And, historically, marketers and brands often try to optimize for a specific channel. "Omnichannel" means you're optimizing across that customer experience. You're putting yourself in the customer's lens, and you're optimizing for that, not for what you're doing as a brand.

Michael Krigsman: And, what are the foundations? How do you deliver that?

Rachel Richter: The most important thing is really to centralize all of the amazing data that you have at your fingertips and bring that all and unify it together so that you can act on it. And then, it's all about how you build more complex analytics on top of that to help you really anticipate customer needs. And, at Dun & Bradstreet, having all of this amazing data at our fingertips, it really allows us to explore with more complex analytics — some of those being propensity models such as look-alike models based on historical data; or even demand estimators, which really help you identify opportunities and the dollar value of different prospects. And that, then, empowers that very customized engagement, really understanding your customers and prospects.

Michael Krigsman: So, Rachel, I have to ask, what is a "propensity model"?

Rachel Richter: So, a propensity model really looks back at historical data and tells you what the attributes are of customers that have purchased that product historically and really hones in on the right customers and prospects to target with a certain product.

Michael Krigsman: Josh, how does this work across channels?

Josh Mueller: Yeah, it’s really difficult to do. I’ll start with that. This doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes a lot of discipline, both from the marketing organization as well as the company holistically. A lot of companies make the mistake of going out and buying a lot of technology. [And they think it] will solve these problems for them and then they’ll be able to have omnichannel customer experiences. It doesn’t start with technology. It starts with a really good marketing strategy and knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. And then, it’s your data strategy. It’s actually being able to have consistent data across all of your systems and being able to truly have that 360-degree view.

And then, that's when you leverage marketing technology, which is amazing and it's better than it has ever been. But, without those two things in place — your marketing strategy and your data strategy — what you're trying to do from a marketing technology perspective will fall short.

Michael Krigsman: And how do you do that? How do you connect that data so that you’re managing across channels?

Rachel Richter: Yeah, so I will say we are very lucky, both of us, to work at a data and analytics company like Dun & Bradstreet, right? So, we have amazing, amazing data at our fingertips, right? And then, it allows us to then go study, and go test and learn, and bring that data together, right? So, we build ourselves kind of a centralized data warehouse or data lake like most best-in-class companies do. The advantage that we tend to have at Dun & Bradstreet is we almost get to be a guinea pig and really drink our own champagne for the newest data analytics that we’re bringing to market; to test it and learn it on ourselves.

Michael Krigsman: And Josh, finally, what is your considered wisdom on getting this right?

Josh Mueller: It's 1) Being really patient because this is a big evolution for many companies and it frankly took us a lot of time. So, the words of wisdom are, "Try not to boil the ocean at once." It's, "Be very disciplined on where you want to start." So, we started with a single persona, a single customer set. And so, we're going to do it really well for this particular area. We started with a strategy: here's what we want marketing to look like in this area for the next year; then we figured out how we would ingest data and connect it; and then, we built our plans behind it — "What is our digital strategy? What's our outbound strategy? What's our event strategy?" against that. We started slowly and then, we were able to scale from there.

Rachel Richter: And I would say: be open to new challenges; be willing to test and learn. It is easy to look at all of the new data sources, the types of analytics that are best in class, and get stuck. And, it’s better to just get started: to explore your data; to test and learn; to think of new use cases. And even if certain things don’t work, just get out there and learn, and target, and test different channels, and see what works best for your company.

Michael Krigsman: Okay! I love it! Marketing and customer experience in an omnichannel world. Josh Mueller and Rachel Richter, thanks so much for speaking with me today!