by Contributor

(May 27, 2021) — As a business-owner or marketer, you want to deliver those “Aha!” moments to your customers consistently and accurately.

Your dream is to provide the right product/service to the right customer, at the right price and time, via their preferred channel and to ensure that they repeat the experience.

You are constantly on the alert to explore different tech stacks that can provide solutions to omnichannel marketing issues.

Data is the lifeblood of any business today, no matter what its size and nature, extent, and whatever the product or geography.

With the humongous volumes of data pouring in, you would also be keen to ensure that it can be integrated, without forming silos. This is important when you want to create discernible and usable patterns of customer behavior, preferences, needs, or spend.

As a savvy marketer or entrepreneur, you’ve certainly heard about the latest customer data platform (CDP) innovations. There is certainly a lot of information about them available, but are they the magic wand that can solve all your data-related issues? Is the CDP a one-size-fits-all solution? Can it work alone?

Before we answer these challenges, it’s important to know all about CDP, its benefits and how best to leverage its power.

What Is A Customer Data Platform?

The underlying aim of all marketing efforts has been to “Know The Customer.”

The things you need to know are facts such as their name, location, demographic information, professional information, social media profile, opinions, motivating factors, attitudes, behavior on your website, and more.

In the early days, information about customers was either through a laborious process of direct interaction, or through a process of educated guessing.

Up until recently, data was very much like a huge river flowing into your property. Of course, you needed the benefits. But it was largely unstructured, and lacked direction.

Today, information flows in from marketing automation software, CRM, social media, analytics, content personalization and more. This information arrives via a variety of devices and channels.

What a CDP does is compile all this data on a single platform and build the connections to give you a holistic, 360-degree view of every customer who interacts with your business.

In 2013, marketing guru David Raab defined CDP as a “marketer managed system that creates a persistent, unified database that is accessible to other systems.”

  • It is different from some of the things we already have such as data warehousing, delivery platforms, custom integrations, CRM or DMP.
  • The CDP is capable of plugging into and connecting internally and externally-available, batch/streaming, and structured/unstructured data.
  • This data is available under different categories such as transactional and order, web, behavioral and mobile, product and profile, CRM and offline data.
  • Its architecture has a marketing focus. They have pre-constructed marketing databases, tools and functionalities such as business intelligence, reporting, tracking and analytics.
  • They integrate information from customer touch-points. These would include your website, email marketing, social media, account-based systems, and the apps that you may have installed for this purpose.
  • What they also do is provide you with real-time, actionable data that you can use to connect swiftly with the customer.
  • Most importantly, the CDP creates those invaluable, amazing, endurable and memorable moments that will go on to define your relationship with the customer.
  • It centralizes your data so that you can identify and fulfill the unique requirements of a single customer and retain them.
  • You can create a single, consistent identifier to link the data about a particular customer and also about groups of similar customers
  • CDPs are reliable tools to predict future behavior of the customer so that businesses can work on staying in sync and also simultaneously anticipating needs.

Benefits of CDP

To round up, CDP helps you to answer a range of questions about the customer. These would include:

  • what products they have previously purchased
  • the target-segment that they fit into
  • what is the level of engagement with your brand
  • their intent and timing of purchase
  • where they can be placed in the customer journey graph
  • what channels they consistently use
  • what is their present and potential value to your business
  • what predictions you can make about their behavior

The tangible benefits of CDP are:

Provides Direct Data: CDP allows you to access first-party, direct data from your customer every time, whether it’s from visitors, social media posts, analytics or behavior. Since it comes from “the horse’s mouth” so to speak, it is reliable and can be verified.

Increases Efficiency: Integrated and consistent data helps marketers to allocate time and efforts more efficiently. The return on investment is much better when your marketing message reaches the right target. You don’t have to waste time and effort trying to collate data from different sources.

Avoids Compartmentalizing: CDP’s main function is to integrate data from different sources. This means information doesn’t stack up in separate silos and remain unconnected to other data. It serves to ensure that data is more democratic and evenly handled in a balanced way.

Boosts Insights: A sectioned view from separate sources means that you don’t get the whole picture. CDP prevents fragmentation of data and helps you to get a better insight into your customer and what they’re all about.

Ramps Up Alertness: When you get data that can be cross-checked and verified, you remain more alert to clues and signs that you get from your customer.

Converts Data into Revenue: CDP data provides you data that can be swiftly and easily converted into real revenues. It also increases up-selling and cross-selling. An efficient CDP software can compile, sort, clean, collect and control the data provided by your customer. This means you can avoid speculative and shoot-in-the-dark type encounters with your target audience.

Conclusion

Investing in a top-quality CDP is a long-term strategy that will pay great dividends in the long run.  It helps you to identify, observe and manage customer expectations and this in turn assists you in giving your customer a personalized, bespoke journey.

And that is something that they will value and remember.

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