A customer intelligence platform is a software solution that gathers, stores, and analyzes customer data to use in reports and analytic outputs. The goal for a customer intelligence (CI) platform is to combine the quantitative outputs with the qualitative insights from a company’s marketing department to better understand the buyer journey, foster effective and long-lasting relationships with customers and ultimately, accelerate business.

To get stakeholders in your organization to understand the true value of a customer intelligence platform, it’s important that they can see it and experience it for themselves.

The need to be more customer intelligent is often rooted in abstract and hyped concepts that lack specificity, but business stakeholders need to put pen to paper to commit to an actual expected return on investment to motivate action. Marketers and other lines of business professionals need something concrete to react to in informing their planned use and adoption of a system.

3Cloud believes that an ideal first step is to create a visual representation/proof of concept of what a Customer Intelligence strategy can deliver, focused on the art of the possible. This ideally short-duration project (around 6 weeks) tangibly articulates your organization’s vision for implementing the system, starting first with input from your marketing department or lead business sponsor who will then become champions of the project and gain buy-in from other departments.

The single biggest realization for marketing teams is often that, for every question, the CI platform answered, more questions arose, and intuitive self-service reporting around customer data was the most critical capability needed.

In one use case, what started out as an engagement to frame up an interactive customer health dashboard representing acquisition, retention, and growth activities ended up revealing dozens of other analytical insights that marketing had authored.

Photo: Sample of a Customer Health Dashboard

Photo: Sample of a Customer Health Dashboard

The ability to ask and answer real-world questions immediately via self-service reporting allows business stakeholders to see the value and application of customer intelligence in a much more tangible manner than a roadmap alone could provide and inspires them to become ambassadors for the initiative going forward.

Once stakeholders can see how the dashboard will look and function and have tried it for themselves, it’s time to begin proving its value by putting it to work on real-world challenges the organization is facing.

Customer Intelligence Platform in Action:

This was the approach taken by a clothing retailer.

The marketing team had data about sales, marketing activities, and customer information spanning multiple systems, but did not have the ability to answer critical questions about their business needed to inform future activities such as:

  • To what extent are we acquiring new customers?
  • How are our marketing activities impacting overall sales?
  • Where do we have emerging issues around customer churn?

3Cloud recommended the build-out of a CI platform, offering a mix of dashboards and self-service reporting capabilities built with Microsoft technologies. But they started with the proof of concept – a 7-week engagement that delivered a microcosm of the platform, allowing the company to experience it for themselves, test hypotheses, ask questions, and see how it would perform.

Last updated in October 2021.