Whether you’re coordinating after-school carpool or deciding where this week’s post-work happy hour is, one thing is always true - communication is the key to success.
And for marketers, communication doesn’t just apply to human interactions. In today’s data-driven, hyper-personalized, consumer-focused marketing world, eCommerce retailers rely on an endless number of tools to keep track of key data - onsite analytics, purchase history, inventory management, campaign performance - and the list goes on.To get the most out of your tools, they need to talk to one another. Just like forgetting your neighbor's kid in the carpool line, poor communication can have some serious consequences.
We sat down with our co-founder and CTO, Chris Humphres, to break down Windsor Circle’s data integrations and how retailers can leverage them to make the most out of their eCommerce and ESP platforms.
Can you give me an overview of our integrations and the key differences between our pre-built connectors and our custom data feeds?
Our integration pulls historical purchase and transactional data from your ecommerce platform into our software. Our platform then pushes this data through your ESP to enable automated, predictive email marketing campaigns.
We have pre-built integrations with a number of platforms that will pull the data automatically. All we need is access to the client’s platform. That’s usually nothing more than an API key-type configuration.
We always recommend our pre-built integrations because there’s no development required by the client. And if a client has a custom, home-built platform or a platform that we don’t already have a pre-built connector for, a custom data feed is the alternative that’s available.
In terms of time and cost, how does a client-built data feed compare to our pre-built integrations?
With our pre-built integration, it’s usually only a few hours of time for the client to talk through the configuration options with our client success onboarding team. We’ll do the configurations and the client has to generate an API key and give it to us so that we have access. So thats a few hours of work.
Versus if a client is building their own data feed and delivering it to us - the amount of development effort that takes varies a lot. It could be a day or two if they have a lot of pre-built data feeds already that can just be modified and delivered to us. Or if it’s a very complex platform then it could be a week or two of development on your side as a client. So thats a lot more costly.
Plus maintaining it is more costly. With our pre-built connectors, we’re constantly staying up to date with our partners. So when Mailchimp changed from their 1.0 API to their 2.0 API and to their now 3.0 API, we made those migrations for our clients without them having to do anything. When it’s a client-built data feed, they’re going to have to maintain the code and make sure they take care of those changes.
Why does Windsor Circle charge a recurring annual fee when many manual integrations are a “1-time fee”?
We charge a recurring fee because there is ongoing processing and maintenance that’s required on our part. So we have engineers, client success team members, and support team members who are all supporting maintenance and the continuing flow of data from a client's eCommerce platform to their email marketing platform.
In addition to that, there’s all the processing that we’re doing with our statistical analysis by our data science team. They’re analyzing things such as predictive dates, replenishment, optimization, and other types of data that are not as simple as running the numbers once and you’re done. We’re actually running that process every day and doing near real-time updates of that information in the platform.
What differentiates Windsor Circle’s data integrations?
From your perspective, how important is the data element of data-driven marketing?
It’s really important for data in marketing to be timely, accurate, and actionable. If I’m just part of a batch and blast of 100,000 people, I’m getting the exact same message as everyone else. Whereas if you’re using data-driven techniques you know when I need to get a specific message and the type of message that should be. With this approach, client’s are much more likely to a) buy your product and b) really appreciate that you made it easier for them to make a purchase and love your product more.
Do you find there are common mistakes marketers make when they’re analyzing or using their data?
Sometimes marketers want it to be easier than it is to use data. But you really have to think hard about how you’re going to personalize and build a campaign given you now have all this personal data available to you. A lot of marketers just want to “set it and forget it”, but they need to spend time thinking about if they have the right content and message to go along with sending it at the right time and making sure that it all comes together in a cohesive marketing program.
Do you have any tips or advice for marketers that are undertaking these data-driven projects?
It’s really important that you have highly accurate data and really good algorithms for it to actually have an impact. You can’t just randomly say ‘well for this product I’m going to assume everybody is going to buy it every 30 days’ because people use things at different rates. It’s really important to use a personalized, focused algorithm to the individual to get you to the right level of communication to help the customer.