CEPs, or Customer Engagement Platforms, have been a staple for businesses of all sizes for decades. However, customer engagement processes have also evolved drastically, with marketers and growth teams trying new approaches and channels to attract customers.CEPs have stood the test of time amid this ever-changing marketing landscape and have constantly added features to keep growth and marketing teams up to date with the latest trends.
This blog will share the findings from interviews with 100+ customer engagement teams. We will discuss the major pain points they face with their CEPs and how we propose to solve them out of the box. It will include deep diving into each of the problems and how Castled addresses them.
Illogical Data Volume-Based Pricing
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Are you worried that your finance team or business executives will give you a hard time before you decide to start a new campaign or event?
You're not alone if you're struggling with the high cost of customer engagement platforms (CEPs). Many growth marketers across the globe are facing the same issue. CEPs like Braze, Iterable, and CustomerIO are all priced based on the amount of data used, and with the increase in digital transactions, the costs can quickly add up. Unfortunately, this often forces customer engagement teams to make trade-offs regarding campaign efficiency to stay within their budget.
But why do the current tools charge primarily based on data storage?
There are a few reasons for this common pricing strategy.
Firstly, creating a product that can manage many data points from thousands of customers is challenging. A lot of engineering time and cost goes into solving the scalability issue instead of building features that would be useful to the customer.
Secondly, by charging for data storage, companies can make more money as customers store more and more data. This usage-based pricing gives organizations a steadier stream of income, which is helpful for cash flow purposes.
We believe that the current way of pricing exponentially in terms of data storage is not giving a fair ROI back to the marketer, even from a business point of view. However, it makes sense for the CEPs to charge in terms of data storage since more storage means more value. But unfortunately, this leaves marketers uncompensated on the return on their investment.
Restrictive Data Look-back Periods
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Most CEPs provide a look-back data period of only 180 days or less by default. Such a restrictive look-back period can be a significant issue for businesses that want to keep track of their loyal customers' purchase history. Imagine you having to pay an unreasonably high amount of money even to make sure that your most loyal customers are not treated as first-timers. You would want to remember the health package they took six months back or the products they bought from you in the last Christmas Sales.
This restriction is due to the limitations of CEPs in storing and processing large amounts of data across thousands of customers. As a result, businesses have to pay unreasonably high money to ensure that their loyal customers are not misunderstood as first-timers.
Unavailability of Quality Data
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Even though the CEPs you're using right now have a lot of functionality, none of it will be helpful if you don't have the correct customer usage data.
Currently, customers' data/events are fed to CEPs using SDKs on websites or transactional backends. However, this data is usually incomplete because it doesn't contain a 360-degree view of the customer. In addition, many significant customer interactions happen outside the core application, in third-party sales or support tools, and the SDKs often miss these.
Your cloud data warehouse is the only data source in your product-tech stack with a comprehensive view of your customer's product usage. Marketing/Growth teams have recently started using Reverse ETL to sync their customer data from their data warehouse back to their CEPs so they can use this valuable resource. Still, the downside of this approach is adding an unwanted dependency on your data teams to create and maintain those complex data pipelines.
Increased Time to Value (TTV)
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Imagine you having evaluated and purchased a Customer Engagement tool. How much time does it take to start your first campaign? Also, if you are migrating from an existing tool to another, how much time does it take to migrate all your campaigns to the new tool and stop using the old one? Finally, are you tired of asking your tech team about the status of the developer tickets you raised?
Just because you bought a CEP doesn't mean you can start engaging customers immediately - you will need developer time from your tech team to integrate the users/events/custom objects you need to use in your campaigns. And that's when the next obstacle appears: it's almost always the case that tech resources in a company are limited, and their main priority is to develop the core product.
As a result, product managers must be strategic when requesting time from developers and be prepared to make a case for how engaging customers will impact the company's bottom line.
So in all likelihood, the tickets you raised for your integrations will not be resolved for at least a few months and, worst case, more than a year. During this time, you're potentially losing out on a lot of money in opportunity costs. And this is not a one-time effort - the same cycle must be repeated whenever you want to change your CEP (which is a fairly common scenario as businesses grow).
Now that we have listed down all the major drawbacks and pain points with the existing CEPs, how do we solve them?
Castled as a solution, with data warehouse as the backend
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The best way to have a more flexible, cost-effective, and robust CEP is by building it natively on top of your cloud data warehouse. Your data team has already done the demanding work of bringing all the user/events data to your data warehouse for analysis and creating crucial semantic models relevant to your business using a modeling tool like DBT. All that would be left for you to do is create dynamic segments directly on top of those models and run campaigns/customer journeys using those segments.
Now let's see how Castled as a warehouse native CEP cracks all the abovementioned problems.
- Cost: Castled does not have to store your users/events/custom objects' data as it is built natively on your cloud data warehouse. This results in an 80% reduction in your bill compared to a traditional CEP.
- Data Retention/Look-backs : Since the data remains in your warehouse and the warehouse storage cost is exceptionally cheap, there is no restriction on the data retention/look-backs while using Castled as your CEP.
- Removes unwanted data activation pipelines: No dedicated pipeline solutions like Reverse ETL are needed to activate Castled. This limits the dependency on the data teams to only areas where it matters. Instead, use segment builder directly on top of the data in your data warehouse to create segments.
- Reduced Time to Value : Start engaging your customers in a matter of a few hours instead of months.No developer time required to migrate the data, which is the most time-consuming procedure in setting up a traditional CEP.