Customer Profiles Across the Enterprise and How to Use Them All (Yes, All) for Marketing Greatness

The customer profile — a marketer’s Rosetta Stone. Or at least it can be, if you are using it right. But what is it and where does it live, exactly? There are handfuls of profiles containing thousands of disconnected pieces of data about your customer across the enterprise. This data exists in your CRM system, e-commerce website, loyalty program profiles and in your mobile apps and enterprise data warehouse. So which profile do you use for marketing? It’s a trick question, because you should be using all of them: You should use every piece of treasured information from your customer that you possibly can, because it is the secret to your success and their continued delight. But how? No single profile holds all the information you own, and the systems likely to hold the most are not equipped to handle the stream of digital data that is shaping and reshaping your customer understanding by the minute.

Adobe has taken the first step in solving this with the Adobe Marketing Cloud Profiles & Audiences core service. Last year we delivered the consolidated, common ID under the thematic name of master marketing profile. This year we’ve taken it a step further with the ability to upload customer attributes from any owned data source across your enterprise once, centrally, to the Marketing Cloud for use across solutions, channels and experiences.

Using customer attributes for a better customer experience** **

Customer attributes come in many forms and can include demographic, socioeconomic, psychographic, generational, geographic and benefits-sought attributes related to the benefits that consumers seek when shopping for products and services. Take all that and then add brand affinity, purchase history, product usage and other attributes specific to your business and industry. That’s a lot, and it’s far from an all-inclusive list.

Because no single system specializes in every data type, the need for multiple systems arises. It is just a reality of business and technology — and that specialization is a good thing. The interesting question is how do marketers work with this dispersed data for the benefit of the customer experience, because customers don’t know or care about your disconnected data situation; all they know is whether you are listening to them and responding with information, experiences and offers specific to their aspirations, needs and preferences.

The answer is not to aggregate a massive store of your enterprise data to provide a static, all-in view of the customer — which would be easy by comparison — but to deliver both a complete profile and an actionable, performant one that incorporates digital data in real time.

How Profiles & Audiences is technically superior for experience optimization

Rather than literally consolidating all existing customer attributes into one profile, which would be heavy, inefficient, and expensive for marketers, Adobe is taking a different approach with customer attributes in the Profiles & Audiences core service. The Marketing Cloud Profile assigns a common visitor ID that is valid across Marketing Cloud solutions, connecting centrally uploaded attributes with shared audiences. As customers interact with your brand, the Adobe Marketing Cloud continues to build an even more robust view of your customer, allowing you to deliver the most relevant experiences in real time.

In designing and engineering Marketing Cloud Profiles & Audiences, Adobe made sure that the profile was actionable in real time and in context. To do this, Marketing Cloud Profiles connects all pertinent information for marketing decisioning and caches the subset of data needed to make “last millisecond” decisions at the time of experience creation.

In order to deliver the best experience to consumers around the globe, Adobe’s platform takes the responsibility of distributing cached profiles to local infrastructure. This cached data is intersected with in-browser and in-device context, plus a user’s data stream of exhibited behavior in real time to determine the best experience for each user.

What about third-party data and PII?

To respect and safeguard customer privacy, personally identifiable information (PII) and third-party data can only be managed in solutions specifically designed for this. When you’re ready to start combining your first-party data in Profiles & Audiences with third-party and partner data, Adobe AudienceManager is the natural and pre-integrated extension, enabling richer audiences, cross-device identification, and the ability to algorithmically locate audiences with similar characteristics in the broader market.

Then when you’re ready to start addressing your customer by name and talking about his favorite movie or the vacation she just got back from? That’s when Adobe Campaign comes in, enabling you to have truly personalized, intelligent, continuous conversation with your customer across every conceivable touchpoint.

Both Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Campaign are designed to respect and safeguard the privacy of your customers and work seamlessly with Adobe Marketing Cloud Profiles & Audiences, supercharging your omnichannel customer experience.

Putting your audience data to work

At the end of the day, the key to your relationship with your customer is almost entirely in your hands. Directly or indirectly, your customers are giving you a wealth of information on their wants, needs, preferences, story and habits, and this invaluable data is sitting in your organization right now, waiting to inform your next interaction. Make good use of it. The tools are in your hands, and we’re all ready for the delightful experiences that will ensue when you do.