In conversation with: Treasure Data’s APAC marketing lead Sean Valencia

Treasure Data was founded in 2011 and aims to simplify customer data management and help brands transform customer experiences by identifying and gauging, and acquiring customers efficiently in a flexible, scalable and secure environment. Among the list of brands it has worked with include, Subaru, Muji, Wish, Parco, Kirin and Lion Corp. 

Its enterprise customer data platform unifies all types of online, offline and internet of things device customer data to unlock critical business insights needed to drive business growth. Last year, the company was also named a stronger performer in real time interaction management and customer analytics technologies by Forrester.

In this series of “In Conversation”, Treasure Data’s APAC marketing lead, Sean Valencia (pictured), shares the various hurdles companies face when it comes to customer experience and the takeaways SMEs can learn from Treasure Data’s enterprise customers.

Valencia is based in Tokyo and joined the team in 2018. He currently manages strategy development and marketing campaigns for the Asia Pacific region.

Listen to the full episode here. This conversation is powered by Treasure Data.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is normal for us is also of varying degrees right now, with some markets opening up, while others are still careful or still in lockdown. Tech also plays a part at what consumers might associate normality with in their lives. How is this impacting global brands looking to interact with consumers? 

Valencia: The pandemic has forced all of us to change how we live, but digital technology has allowed us to keep connected when we could not meet physically. Brands also have made the shift towards digital to stay connected with their customers. 

I think that this digital shift has renewed our focus on innovating new ways of how we interact with our customers. You are seeing the emergence of many new direct to consumer strategies, and marketers are rethinking what is the relationship we are going to establish with our customers in the future. 

But this is quite a challenge. I think it is important for us as marketers to make a goal to develop those customer relationships as deeply as we can. Those relationships start with having a deep understanding of our customers - what do they need? How best can our brands or organisation best serve them? Then making sure that our actions and communications are aligned with those needs. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE:  Some of the hurdles companies face when it comes to customer experience including organising the data and probably even the lack of investment. What are some of the aged old challenges we still haven't solved in customer experience and how can the industry go about solving them? 

Valencia: The good news is a lot of these challenges can be answered through data, but that is a challenge in itself. Many of us are considering what kind of data are we lacking right now? What are the right insights to solve these challenges? Considering data may be the root of these challenges, how can we get the right data and utilise that data? I think that creating a relevant customer experience for each individual customer depends on having the right technology stacks.

We can categorise these stacks as data, insights, and engagement. But the big challenge is oftentimes these systems are separated and siloed. Also, the teams using them are not always in communication with each other. So that can really make it difficult to solve some of those challenges were talking about before because you end up having this fragmented environment. Joining all of these systems should be a priority. Joining not only just the technology but also empowering the teams with data and insights. 

You may be thinking right now - how do we make such an ecosystem? There are a couple of different options, you can build it or you can buy it. If you have a lot of engineers in your organisation or data science resources, perhaps building might be the solution. But there are more and more technologies emerging that can meet these data silo challenges, CDP being one of them.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Your clients are mainly enterprises which consist of names such as LG, Kirin, MUJI and Danone Indonesia. What are some of the best practices you feel our SMEs friends can adopt and learn from these bigger companies while being on tighter budgets? 

Valencia: Delivering a personalised customer experience can be challenging for everyone regardless of the company size. Both large and small companies struggle with personalisation. I think it is easy to get too focused on trying to create a big plan for personalisation. For example, how do we make a plan to understand and personalise the entire customer journey? I think that is a good long term goal, but when starting our data journeys, it is best to start small. Focus on time to value. Starting with smaller use cases and expanding from there is a great strategy I see regardless of company size. 

Even for large organisations that are experiencing digital transformation, the journey starts with finding that one initial KPI to improve. That goes for the SMEs as well. 

Instead of designing a massive plan at the start, filled with many use cases, focus on one or two. We might focus on optimising one ad for this one particular product category, then see if we can improve that conversion rate with personalisation. Set a goal that can be tested quickly, execute, review the results and celebrate the win! Then, continue to expand the scope from there. 

For both the SME and the enterprise, don't worry too much about a complex data plan from the start. Identify those small opportunities for improvement, dive in quickly, test and improve from there. 

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