Hybris Marketing projects are different. You may already be experienced in implementing and running front-office solutions from SAP-Hybris but even if your estate includes Hybris Commerce, Sales Cloud or Service Cloud, there are key points that you need to consider before starting your Hybris Marketing project. These are borne out of the new business challenges that Marketing departments are being asked to deal with, the increasingly complex nature of customer journeys and the ever-growing array of technologies available for customer engagement.
In case you haven’t see this already, I provided an introduction to Hybris Marketing in this earlier blog. Here are the seven points I would consider before starting your project….
1. Take time to understand and measure the quality of your customer data
Not a particularly sexy topic to start with (despite what my colleagues in our Data Management practice tell me) but this is one of the first things you should do. Profile and measure the quality of the customer data that you have in your business today, because this is the lifeblood of the solution. Many people mistakenly assume that Hybris Marketing is a solution to fix data quality issues. This is not true but it will highlight any errors or issues in the information you store about your customers. You will be taking action, making predictions and engaging customers using the information you hold about them, so you need to be confident it is correct otherwise you risk creating negative experiences and disengage your customers.
This is more than just making sure an e-mail address is valid, it’s about ensuring that customer data is consistent between different source systems (the same customer record will exist in your ERP system, an enterprise CRM platform, a commerce platform and from other sources), and in the event that it’s not, being clear on how to resolve this situation. Before you pour customer data into Hybris, be sure that you know it is accurate, consistent and up-to-date.
2. Align the project to your brand and customer engagement strategy
There is a broad range of capabilities in Hybris Marketing but why would you deploy e-mail campaign management if your customers don’t believe direct marketing is the appropriate way for your brand to communicate with them? Be clear about the offers, promotions and communications you want to run with your customers and make sure that you have identified the right parts of the solution to support this during your Design phase.
If you can be clear on these points, and remember this is not just about replicating what you do today, but about how you want to reach and engage your customers in future, then you will help to focus your project scope on the areas of the solution which matter most. As part of this alignment process, you will also want to consider your channel strategy, which might need to be flexible enough to vary by individual customer. If online is a significant channel for your business, then you need to consider how Hybris Marketing can take best advantage of this channel. Are there key social platforms that you need to reach your audience with?
3. Make friends with your IT Security team
Unlike many enterprise technology projects, Marketing involves reaching a group of people and information which exist in the public domain and well beyond the safety of your corporate firewall. If you are considering a cloud deployment, it is likely you will need to send customer information from existing on-premise systems to the Marketing cloud.
If you are deploying an on-premise solution, you will need to agree a safe way to send out information (such as e-mails or Facebook custom audiences) through your corporate firewall. You will also need to bring in customer data which started life outside of your organisation, again there are security considerations in how you do this. You will therefore want to involve your IT Security team in the project early on to get these issues reviewed and an architecture validated.
In my experience, IT Security people are much friendlier when you engage them early rather than take them a problem to solve later, the old adage, “better to seek forgiveness than ask permission” definitely does not apply here. Whilst you have their attention, you may also want to engage their assistance in IP-warming (if your project scope includes e-mail as an outbound campaign execution channel).
4. Give your business team (and agencies) a hug
For many businesses implementing an enterprise marketing solution, they will be insourcing work which was previously provided to them by an agency. One of the most common questions I’m asked from clients considering a Hybris Marketing implementation is “how many people will I need to run it?”. In reality, operating the solution, as a business user, does not take significant amounts of time, although of course this depends how many initiatives you are running; using the Acquisition solution, it’s perfectly achievable to build an audience, design a message, build a campaign and submit it for approval in a few minutes. You might want to give consideration to the fact that if you’re in-sourcing skills and work that was previously provided by your agency, then there is a significant business change aspect to consider and that user adoption will be a vital strand of any successful deployment strategy. You will also want to consider the impact on your agency partners here too, since you are still likely to rely upon them for creative services, campaign strategy and customer profiling. If you have developed an in-house platform, you will need to define an effective collaboration strategy to join up the dots.
5. Marketing project or single customer view project (or both)
Many B2C organisations are currently wrestling with the challenge of how (and where) to build their single customer view (see my previous blog on this topic). Hybris Marketing provides a platform and many of the capabilities that you need to build that single customer view – real-time access & decisions, consumer-grade data storage, predictive models, integration tooling and information visualisation. You will be pulling different sources of customer data in Hybris Marketing anyway, to support the process and capabilities that you want to deploy. So in many respects, this is a great opportunity not just to deploy an enterprise marketing solution but to establish a single customer view capability in your business.
You will therefore need to be considered about the scope of your project, the business case and who your customers / stakeholders are. If you are taking single customer view into scope, then your project boundaries need to extend a long way beyond the Marketing department. The Sales and Service teams will need to become involved, as well as other teams or departments who could benefit from exposure to a single customer view application. You will naturally find that this increases the size of the customer data model and the volume of data you hold, in turn creating further architectural considerations on topics such as data lakes and integration strategy.
6. Privacy and Security
There is increasing attention to and protection of consumers’ rights, in particular relating to the data that companies hold about them and how this may be used. My colleague James Blackburn has recently blogged about GDPR which will be introduced next year in the EU as regulation heats up in this area. Your Hybris Marketing project will provide a means to consolidate, store and generate new data and then to use this to reach and engage customers. With these capabilities there needs to be consideration, both from a regulatory perspective (could you comply with GDPR when it arrives as an example) and from a basic customer engagement perspective (just because you can reach your customers on a daily basis with automated multi-channel campaigns, do they want you to, and how would you stop if they ask you to).
7. Outcome-based solution design
I’ve come to this point last, but it’s arguably the most important of the lot. When you run campaigns and marketing initiatives, you need to be very clear about the business outcomes and customer behaviours you are trying to drive and the data you require to do this.
Since customer journeys are increasingly made up of multiple touch-points, across a range of channels and platforms (some of which you won’t directly own), are you clear how and where you will check and measure success? One of the most common campaign outcomes sought is a customer sale transaction, but this could happen in-store or on-line so you’ll need access to information from your POS and commerce platform. You also need to confidently associate individual sales transactions back to a campaign which is not easy if your POS data is anonymous (typically it will be unless there is a loyalty card involved).
In more complex examples, your objective might be more than a sale. Launching a new brand, reducing customer defections, improving the customer experience might all seem simple objectives, but unless you can measure them, you can’t demonstrate return-on-investment from the campaign or indeed the Hybris Marketing project itself.