The pandemic has put a sense of urgency on every company and institution around the globe to become a digital business.
As the global leader of professional services, PwC has seen first-hand how companies are navigating this new digital-first world, characterized by rising customer expectations. Customers want personalized experiences but are more aware of data they share and how it’s used. With the removal of third-party cookies looming, businesses are seeking new ways to connect with consumers, and business customers, that are transparent, secure and value-added.
In order to help organizations transform their digital strategies and deliver personalized experiences, PwC leverages many tools including Adobe Experience Cloud applications, specifically Adobe Real-time Customer Data Platform (CDP) built on Adobe Experience Platform.
In this interview, we sat down with Phil Regnault, Principal of Customer Transformation at PwC, and Ryan Fleisch, head of product marketing, Real-Time CDP, Adobe, to understand how they approach customer experiences, the impact of third-party cookie deprecation, and the focus on first-party data strategies.
How do you define the customer experience? Why does CX matter?
Regnault: Give customers a great experience, and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends. That’s what every company strives for.
A good experience requires speed, convenience, consistency, and a human touch—that is, creating real connections by making technology feel more human. Adobe has done a great job at providing the right technology to help brands understand their customers and deliver experiences customers desire.
Fleisch: Customers expect personalized experiences—valuable interactions tailored to their wants and needs at the right time and place. These personalized interactions need to happen in a way that’s seamless to the customer and keeps their data secure.
Together with PwC, we help brands orchestrate and personalize the entire end-to-end customer journey, moment-to-moment, at scale, on any channel, in real-time.
How do you build trust with customers?
Regnault: The future of business is anchored in consumer trust. With consumer preferences as the foundation, companies can build trust with them by implementing a centralized privacy strategy aligned to consumer personas and journeys through a shared accountability framework across the organization. This includes a consistent and transparent privacy-first customer experience that includes easy-to-understand ways to consent to share data – plus allows for continuous monitoring of new compliance requirements.
Fleisch: Trust is a fundamental foundation for impactful customer relationships and experiences. To build trust, companies must adapt quickly to changing consumer expectations and be authentic and transparent.
Consumers are more privacy-aware and attentive to the data they share, and privacy regulations are continuously shifting. Companies investing in technologies now to build and reinforce trust through these changes are already seeing a competitive advantage.
How did Google’s announcement that they are delaying the removal of third-party cookies impact digital strategies?
Regnault: Despite Google’s delay, digital platforms are changing policies and privacy regulations, and enforcement is growing in both number and strictness. Most companies failed to fully access and monetize data gathered from third-party cookies. For example, many haven’t integrated customer information they have to create individual customer data profiles. The opportunity is to create a new strategy that include first-party and second-party data via the right technology that also brings new value — a resilient data pipeline, laser-focused on giving the business exactly what it needs.
Fleisch: With Google’s announcement, some brands may feel less urgency to adopt first-party strategies, but this would be shortsighted and a mistake. Brands still need to prepare, and like Phil alluded to, there’s broad consensus that the opportunity to create first-party data strategies is more important than ever. Building trust with customers doesn’t happen overnight. Plus, it takes time to operationalize durable first-party data strategies. It’s in the best interest of both customers and businesses to make this a priority.
Google’s delay simply gives brands more runway to be ready on time – but only if they keep their foot on the gas in transforming their business and building first-party data strategies starting today.
How do you build a future proof foundation to help enterprises succeed in a digital economy?
Regnault: The challenge of building a resilient marketing strategy and enterprise-wide data trust strategy is too big for any one function to solve. It will be wasteful if different lines of business reach agreements with different technology vendors when a single customers’ data crosses many business lines.
A brand’s path toward seizing the new opportunities begins with bringing together executives from marketing, sales, privacy, finance, and IT. Success will have three ingredients: a new data strategy, a new approach to trust and value, and a newly innovative technology toolkit. This is why we work with Adobe to help our clients achieve successful first-party data strategies across the business.
Fleisch: Companies must focus on the customer and the experiences they expect while respecting their privacy. To do that, consumers must have ultimate control over their data and how their data is being used. Companies must also collect data and deliver experiences in ways that build trusted, reciprocal relationships.
Building trust and collecting data with consent at any scale can only happen with a foundation of purpose-built, extensible technology. Preparing for the deprecation of third-party cookies is not as simple as adopting one solution and calling it a day. This foundation must be seamlessly integrated with other offerings that can make the most of the data and power experiences. We’re hyper focused on this at Adobe, by offering a complete data management foundation with Adobe Real-time CDP.
What should brands be doing now to get started on their first-party data strategies?
Regnault: First-party data should also include offline insights, derived from in-store activities or information collected at other touchpoints like customer support.
It’s imperative that brands develop and deliver an engaging and personalized customer experience across all touchpoints that offers high value and return on experience (ROX). Traditional advertising campaigns that focus on clickthrough rate need to be supplemented by factors and attributes customers see as providing value to their experience – such as social reviews or a product’s environmental impact. Understanding what makes up the totality of the customer experience and ROX should be front and center.
We developed a digital product called Customer Link that combines PwC, customers and third-party data from Adobe Experience Platform, to achieve a true 360-degree customer “Golden Record,” coupled with analytic capabilities and pre-built templates that help organizations gain better customer insights and drive better engagement outcomes.
Fleisch: We believe investing in a first-party data strategy is the only way for companies to get a more complete view of the consumer and create a lasting connection. It’s important that brands prioritize their first-party data strategies and think ahead as to how and where this data will be used across their organization. Ensuring that the strategy is built with extensibility in mind will prevent “data dead-ends” and “frankenstacks” of multiple disparate solutions.
PwC leverages Adobe Real-time CDP and Adobe Experience Platform Activation for their clients who are looking to build first-party data strategies. These solutions provide a single true view of the customer, offer first-class privacy and governance capabilities, and enable expansion of use cases beyond third-party cookies.