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With recent acquisitions ASOS buying Topshop and Boohoo buying Debenhams, this made me think how brands brought together via acquisitions or even umbrella companies i.e., like Hilton Hotel Group are disconnected from each other and struggle to leverage 1st party data and put customer data at the heart of their strategy. The other angle is developing 2nd party data partnerships between brands from different categories i.e., Hilton and Emirates Airline where there is strong 1st party data.

Some of the questions that may arise when brands merge or within an umbrella company would not know the answer to:

  • What customer overlap is there between brands?
  • How do I target a customer segment and communicate with them across multi-platforms?
  • How do I measure the value of different customer segments?
  • What is the churn rate of different customer segments from 1st purchase v 3rd purchase?
  • What customer data privacy and usage concerns need to be addressed?

Data & Tech can underpin disconnected brands within an umbrella group or an acquisition. The complexity comes in how data assets are managed within each brand and the tech they have within their ecosystem to help leverage the data. This is where Customer Data Platform and / or a Data Clean room can help connect brands together while making 1st party customer data the focal point.

Which tech to use? You probably need both in the ecosystem as they both provide huge value, finding the right CDP partner who can accommodate the business architecture becomes a critical factor when it comes to selection.

The value a data clean room and customer data platform can provide together in the ecosystem:

  • Better measurement i.e., customer lifetime value and attribution
  • Management and control over data sources and primary 1st party data + marketing data
  • Richer segmentation with 1st party data
  • Building audiences to activate against
  • Understand the end to end customer journey
  • Improving the effectiveness of marketing budgets

Understanding Data Clean Rooms

Data clean rooms helps brands understand their marketing data better connecting it with 1st party data which is done in a privacy safe environment ensuring user-level data is not exposed.  So how can it benefit an umbrella company or where an acquisition has been made it allows brands to find intersections between data sets under strict privacy controls.

For example, if we take Hilton Hotel group and if they used a data clean room between Doubletree and Conrad Hotel & Resorts. It would allow the brands to:

  • Understand if there are customer segment overlaps between the brands
  • Activate campaigns i.e., Conrad to run a campaign on customers that matches with Doubletree CRM

This example was for 2 Hilton hotel brands. It could be done across 18 of the Hilton hotels brands the insights that it could provide has the potential to be transformative and potentially powerful to the customer and to each of the brands under Hilton Hotel group.

When looking to invest into a data clean room solution in the current landscape it can be split into 2:

  • Walled gardens data clean rooms:
    • Aligning with walled gardens room i.e., Google will share their own data within ADH in a tightly controlled environment which can be combined with 1st party data. The segments and insights can only be activated i.e., within Google only.
  • Private data clean rooms:
    • Aligning to a private room i.e., InfoSum there is more flexibility in how it can be used working with multiple data sets. Provides flexibility in how the segments can be shared with any of the approved vendors.

You could if needed use a walled garden and a private data clean room. This is where you would need to consider where most media budgets are being spent, how does this align with the short to long term strategy. If majority of budgets are with Google, then it makes sense to use ADH if not then consider a private data clean room.

The bonus of using a private data clean room is it helps build 2nd party data partnerships, which is the future post 3rd party cookies. Let say Emirates airline is also using InfoSum so Hilton could query Emirates data if a segment has flown multiple times and stayed at the Hilton in the last 3 years but not travelled with Emirates in the same period. This would allow Hilton to create a campaign to drive dormant customers to re-engage with the brand and make a booking.

Understanding Customer Data Platform

Customer Data Platform allows you to collect, analyse and activate. With the core premise of a CDP to help build a single customer view using personally identifiable information. For an umbrella company or where an acquisition has been made it would need a CDP that can support the business and data architecture and requirements such as Mediarithmics.

Dependent on the ecosystem finding the right customer data platform becomes critical in the process: In the current landscape, CDP’s can be split into 5 categories:

  • Big tech player CDP’s.
  • Tag Management + CDP.
  • CRM + CDP.
  • DMP evolving into a CDP.
  • Pure play CDP’s.

There is a solution for every brand that requires a CDP.

The main areas that need to be considered when looking to select a CDP:

  • What is the business use cases for on-boarding a CDP – The use cases primary cover CRM, Acquisition and Retention.
  • Can the CDP on-board data from your defined ecosystem – This would primarily be from a mix of Data Lakes, Data Warehouses, CRM, and additional data assets.
  • Does the CDP have the right connections to activate your campaigns – This would be a mix of social platforms such as Facebook + Instagram, DSP’s and many more.

The Ecosystem

It is a complex world when you think about how two brands i.e., Doubletree and Conrad Hotel & Resort look to share and better understand each 1st party data better. Each brand needs to have a clear understanding of their business objectives and their data & tech ecosystem. The next consideration is how does a Data clean room and a Customer data platform fit into the ecosystem? If Doubletree and Conrad wish to work in a privacy safe way with customer data at the heart of it then it becomes key to find the right tech partners in the ecosystem.

The Data clean room becomes the key connector between the brands CRM, querying the data and sharing it with the CDP for activation. It could be shared with i.e., Guardian who also have a bunker with Infosum to activate a campaign.

Campaign approach: (Doubletree and Conrad share their CRM data with Infosum which sits in its own bunker)

  • Conrad query Doubletree data looking for matches between both CRM
  • There are 50K matches for Conrad with Doubletree data, 35K matches for high value customers and 15K doormat customers
  • Conrad run two campaigns activating via the CPD on the 35K and 15K customers
  • Doubletree when running a campaign at the same time, 50K customers are suppressed to ensure there is no cannibalisation

This would not be possible without a Data clean room.

With the right approach this can work for any brands who wish to form a partnership i.e., Emirates and Hilton hotel group. I believe brands who can harness their 1st party data while establishing key partnerships will achieve high growth, surpass their competition, grow market share and profitability.