Ambition Data is raising the stakes for CMOs and other senior marketers attending its Customer Centricity Conference late next month by putting them into groups to compete in an online simulation to test what they will have learned about customer lifetime value.
Running May 17-18 in San Francisco, Ambition Data recently announced a speaker lineup for the Customer Centricity Conference that includes the chief analytics officers of Electronic Arts and Publishers Clearinghouse along with experts from Forrester Research and the Wharton School of Business, among others. Those keynotes and breakout sessions will just lay the groundwork for an unusual finale, however: a nine-round challenge in which attendees try to increase the market valuation of a fictitious company by making strategic use of data.
“Most conferences pick a topic, and the organizers don’t necessarily know a lot about it — they just pick up people who can be good speakers,” Allison Hartsoe, CEO founder of Ambition Data, told B2B News Network, which is a media partner for the Customer Centricity Conference. “The feeling that people get after the simulation is, ‘Wow, I’ve actually got to apply this.’”
The online game that forms the basis of the simulation has been used by students at Wharton, Hartsoe explained, and requires the teams — which will have six to nine attendees each — to make decisions based on marketing data, CRM and various reports. The more traditional part of the event was curated based on speakers who could show how they have made similar kinds of decisions in their own careers. This ensures attendees walk away with insight that truly justifies the time they’re taking from their day-to-day activities, according to Hartsoe.
“That’s what people are looking for. They’ve not just trying to pick up one nugget,” she said. “Teach me something that’s going to have a big impact.”
As the name implies, the Customer Centricity Conference, which is being presented in partnership with Google, is designed to further educate marketers in the value of customer lifetime value (CLV), which is where Ambition Data spends a lot of time with its clients.
“It’s the only metric that matters. It drives the equity of the business. It’s not about your distribution, it’s not about your pricing,” Hartsoe said. “I’ll ask companies, ‘Can you give me an exact list of who your good customers are and your bad customers are?’ In most cases they can’t. They can’t tell predicted future lifetime vale. They don’t know who to listen to. You can have marketing automation and personalization tools set up, but without CLV you’re just operating by a whole lot of noise.”
The way CLV gets championed can be different depending on the size of the organization, Hartsoe added. In a highly entrepreneurial or small firm, for instance, CLV becomes a discussion point at the CMO of even CEO level. In larger organizations, she said, getting finance leaders on board is critical. “If the CFO doesn’t bless the (use of that) information), it’s not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if the CMO loves it.”
Although there will be a winner after the nine rounds of the simulation are over, Hartsoe said the idea is to experiment and learn, whether you have a background and expertise in CLV or not.
“You can do as much or as little data analysis as you want,” she said. “If you just guessed and filed in the numbers, you could still have an interesting approach to learning whether that was a good or bad choice.”