MasterClass Activate data infrastructure

MasterClass: Making Your Data Infrastructure Work for You

Great customer experiences are rooted in data. Every time your customers interact with your brand, they’re leaving behind unique data trails pointing to their interests, preferences, and wants.

The savvy growth marketers of today follow these trails using their wits, technology and robust data infrastructures to deliver unparalleled customer experiences.

While this all sounds like a marketing dreamstate for many, the right strategy for managing an insights-driven marketing program is a reality—and it all starts with a sound data infrastructure.

MasterClass shared their own approach for building and scaling their organization’s marketing data infrastructure at Activate 19 and we’ve recapped some of the key elements from their presentation below.

That said, this is only a taste. Do yourself a favor and watch the full presentation here or register for our upcoming webinar featuring both MasterClass and Segment

Build a Legacy

MasterClass is the premier online education platform bringing world-class experts and renowned instructors to students globally using a cutting-edge technology platform meant to distill knowledge and create meaningful experiences through online video.

Education and learning is a lifelong experience. As you might imagine, MasterClass values the importance of legacy building.

For customers, it’s nurturing the pursuit of education and mastery; for the brand, it’s growing the business. MasterClass is only a few years old, but keeping an eye toward scalable growth is paramount.

As a growing business, their marketing team recognized that they would need the ability to scale quickly. But like most startups, dedicated engineering resources to marketing initiatives were sparse.

They only had one shot at getting a scalable infrastructure into place and they had to do it effectively. Here’s how they did it.

Go With the Flow

Data creation never stops and marketers must be ready to harness it in all forms and iterate on it accordingly—this is Growth Marketing 101!

As MasterClass planned out their own data infrastructure, they knew they would be using Iterable, Segment, Amplitude and Looker and wanted to ensure that these tools could seamlessly communicate to further drive their marketing.

MasterClass data infrastructure feedback loop

Data makes the marketing go round!

 Their marketing ecosystem looked a bit like this:

  • The MasterClass data from their website and mobile app feed into Segment,
  • Segment flows into Iterable, Amplitude and Looker,
  • Iterable sends out their beautiful, data-rich emails,
  • Email performance ties back into Amplitude, and
  • Amplitude ties back to Segment, and the cycle continues!

MasterClass designed a nice data feedback loop that provides their team with information they need to keep engagement high.

Charting a Schema

MasterClass has only been building atop their data infrastructure for the last year, but knew they would need to be ready for quick growth.

One way they could insulate themselves from data silos was by mapping a schema for data processing. By thoughtfully understanding the different data types that flow through their marketing systems, they could design highly personalized experiences.

MasterClass basic data schema

Activating different types of customer data keep MasterClass customers tuning in for more.

User Attributes

User attributes are data points that describe how MasterClass customers engage with their services. Information like access levels, products they own, opt-in information, and more can not only build a bigger picture of who your customers are, but they’re also useful for segmentation and personalized content streams.

Back-End Events

The essential customer profile details make up back-end events. MasterClass back-end events store information like purchase, refund rate, and password details—highly personal information used for transactional emails.

Front-End Events

Front-end events are things like page views, interaction activities, and histories. MasterClass classifies front-end events as the different types of “things” customers do when coming to one of their sites. Front-end events offer a rich level of detail for triggering behavior-specific messaging or sending related and complementary content.

Workflow Calculated Attributes

Iterable offers the capability to calculate customer attributes through workflows. This is an especially handy way to gain specific information to further customize experiences. For example, MasterClass marketers can view of the specific classes their customers watch, the first classes they ever enrolled in, or the most recent classes they enrolled in.

With these different forms of data in play, MasterClass creates seamless cross-channel experiences that move with their customers’ experiences.

How It All Comes Together

MasterClass put in the work to build a sound data infrastructure, mapped out a sound data integration approach and are now producing sleek cross-channel messages. Here’s an example of how it works.

MasterClass data personalization

MasterClass personalizes messaging using the most relevant data.

In the example MasterClass above, they show a logged in viewer seeing an ad for Neil Gaiman’s trailer. That engaging ad prompted them to watch the trailer and navigate to the specific course on the MasterClass marketing page. But right before they’re about to buy the Neil Gaiman’s class, they abandon their cart and walk away.

Fortunately, that leg of the customer journey was logged as an event! The creation of this abandoned cart event in Amplitude feeds their data cycle, triggering an abandoned cart workflow from Iterable.

Now that they know there was a near-purchase of Neil Gaiman’s class, they can not only highlight that class in their follow-up campaign but they can also include the past classes that the user has previously watched as an additional layer of personalization.

Endless Possibilities

The example showcased by MasterClass is only the very tip of the personalization iceberg. Seamless data continuity unlocks new depths of possibility.

We recommend checking out the full presentation to learn even more about MasterClass’s experience—if you’d like to learn how Iterable makes engaging marketing like this possible, join our upcoming webinar with MasterClass and Segment

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