Why Marketers Need a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Say you see a Google Search ad for a wine club. You click the link, sign-up as a subscriber, and await your first delivery. You get weekly emails to your inbox, one of which suggests you refer a friend to get a month of free wine, which you go ahead and do. You receive a flyer promoting Christmas specials with a QR code that sends you to their website. Facebook ads start appearing in your news feed for wines you’ve been meaning to try. Every time you visit the website it seems designed specifically for you and the newsletters have become essential reading. 

It’s straightforward enough for the wine club to capture data on your interactions with each channel individually, but to deliver a personalised, omnichannel experience, they need to know that you’re the same person whether you’re interacting with an email, making a purchase on the website, or taking up an offer from a direct mailer. That’s where a customer data platform (CDP) comes in. 

What is a CDP? 

The purpose of a customer data platform is to create a ‘single customer view’, essentially a profile of every customer (or prospect) that contains all pertinent information relevant to marketers – their purchase history, website interactions, responses to marketing communications, demographic information, along with calculated fields such as propensity to purchase, propensity to churn etc. This means consolidating data from multiple source systems such as CRMs, websites and related web analytics tools, marketing automation and social platforms, to create a profile for each customer that updates whenever they interact with one of your channels, and presenting that data in a digestible format for a non-technical marketing audience. 

How do you build a CDP? 

Building your CDP starts by creating integrations between your source systems (such those mentioned above) and a centralised data warehouse. This should be automated wherever possible with only information pertinent to your marketing activities extracted. Once in the data warehouse, these datasets are combined using a unique customer identifier and enriched with relevant calculated measures (e.g., purchases in the past 30 days or website visits per week). The final step is to reformat your data to suit the recipient. This could be a staff member like a marketing manager, in which case you might create a dashboard, or a platform such as a marketing automation tool, in which case you may be creating segments in a format that your marketing automation tool can read. 

Why do you need a CDP? 

Enhancing the customer experience 

In our fragmented media environment, positive audience experience is a prized commodity. The success of many brands is now often no longer decided by product and price alone but rather the quality and efficiency of the customers experience when dealing with them. Brands can only hope to compete in this space by delivering compelling and (critically) relevant content to their existing and prospective customers. As organisational data capabilities progress, this increasingly means personalisation, with brands delivering highly relevant communications and digital experiences designed around a user’s unique characteristics. Customers have come to expect every ad in their Instagram feed to be relevant to them, and companies to know exactly who they are when they visit their website or send them an offer via email. A CDP is essential to delivering on these expectations of a personalised, seamless experience across multiple channels. 

Enhancing customer engagement, conversion & retention 

CDPs allow you to build marketing segments with a vast array of customer data from across your Martech stack. Say you’re a charity running Christmas fundraising drive on Facebook targeting previous donors who have since unsubscribed from your mailing list. A CDP will allow you to create an “unsubscribed donors” segment using data from your CRM, CMS or marketing automation platform and run a retargeting campaigns for those users on Facebook. CDPs also enhance your lead-scoring capabilities, allowing you to evaluate prospects based on their interactions with all relevant touchpoints, from incomplete check-outs on your website to link clicks on your email campaigns. 

Better decision making 

Having a complete view of your customers allows you to unearth trends and insights that you wouldn’t otherwise identify looking at a disparate collection of data sets. It also helps ‘de-silo’ teams that would otherwise be working with their own customer data, facilitating collaboration and insight-sharing across different marketing functions, for example social and email. This helps build a more complete picture of your audience, which in turn means better, more-informed marketing decisions.  

Year on year, consumers experience perceptible advances in the level of personalisation in their digital lives. Brands (and media companies) are locked in a personalisation arms race, recognising how critical relevance is to winning the attention of a digital audience inundated with a flood of hyper-targeted brand messaging. Cutting through the noise requires a deep knowledge of the people you’re talking to, and CDPs are an essential tool for constructing that puzzle. 

IVE – Data Driven Communications (IVE DDC) works with many clients in helping to consolidate their data in the pursuit of creating an effective single customer view. Working across all online and offline channels, IVE DDC has partnered with many of Australia’s leading household names to bring customer experience to the forefront of their marketing activities.  With a dedicated Customer Experience (CX) team consisting of software developers, data scientists and digital strategists, as well as partnering with world class software platforms, IVE DDC can help your business achieve its’ CX goals.  

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