Whether you’ve established a proper system or not, data is flowing in, and it’s ripe for the taking. The problem, however, is that it’s coming from so many different sources, flowing through so many different channels, and involves so many various events that marketers and support teams cannot keep up. This situation has created a need for a proper, comprehensive tool that can be used to organize and manage the data flows, and also integrate the information into existing processes.
Queue the Customer Data Platform or CDP. According to David Raab, Founder of the Customer Data Platform Institute and expert on the subject, a CDP is “a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.”
Let’s break that definition down into simpler terms, and explore how it can help your business.
What is a Customer Data Platform?
Fundamentally, a Customer Data Platform or CDP is a lot like other marketing platforms such as Data Management platforms (DMPs) or Customer-Relationship Management platforms (CRMs). They all are designed to collect, store and process data.
Where they differ, are the methods used to collect data, and also how that data is organized and processed to become “usable” or viable.
A CDP specifically, is managed by marketers through and through. They do not have a technical background and generally do not have an involvement in IT. The system also focuses on a brand or companies first-party data, with little emphasis on second or third-party channels.
Finally, a CDP is primarily meant to analyze and identify information about a company’s customer base. In this way, the tool is intended to be used as an organization and management system for business-to-consumer marketers and customer relationships. Of course, that’s not to mean it cannot be used for business-to-business relationships because, in essence, there is still a customer in that equation.
B2B companies can benefit from a well-established CDP because it helps eliminate the silos between different tools and channels. SaaS or software-as-a-service solutions, for instance, can allow for more enhanced marketing automation and CRM integration but this also means the connected systems remain separate and often isolated from one another.
A CDP makes it much easier to integrate and work with existing systems, putting a focus on customers and customer experiences.
How a Customer Data Platform Can Help Your Business
By nature, data-driven marketing solutions and campaigns foster a constant environment of analysis and improvement — marketing and support teams continuously assess the customer relationship data flowing in and use this to inform future strategies.
Compared to many of the other data management platforms, CDPs have an advantage because they are designed to enhance efficiency. There’s a particular emphasis on marketing automation, but not just that, the ever-evolving opportunity of a continual improvement process.
Smart recommendations are delivered thanks to AI and machine learning capabilities, for instance. This helps produce more accurate and reliable predictive models. Also, CDPs provide robust and detailed reports about all angles of a customer relationship. You can use a CDP to map, analyze or even view real-time insights related to customer experience touchpoints.
Privacy and data governance measures are baked into the platform to allow for more secure storage, review and retrieval processes. It’s there right from the getgo and doesn’t require half-measures to implement. You see, CDPs were created at the opportune moment, a time when data privacy and security are high priorities.
The best CDPs also come with varied customer segmentation options, so that you can refine and truly dive into your audience and their various traits. Who are they? What do they need? How does this affect their engagement? What influence does that have on your business? So on, and so forth.
Customer Data Platforms differ from many other data solutions because they are designed to be run, managed and operated by marketers first, and that also means you benefit from the expertise of fellow marketers when utilizing the platform. They also tend to work in places or situations where CRMs would fail. That alone makes it a lucrative tool and presents new opportunities.
True Marketing Automation and Independence
Since data is becoming more and more necessary, the kind of solutions and benefits that a CDP can provide are unprecedented. CRM databases and tools tend to be much more complicated, and that means IT support is necessary which means there must be a collaborative process between marketing and IT to sustain its use.
That’s not the case at all with Customer Data Platforms, aside from the initial deployment or setup. Once implemented, it offers marketers a one-click or convenient drag-and-drop workflow system to manage various aspects of customer data. Self-serve analytics are now possible, at least when it comes to the world of marketing and that’s a huge boon.
It’s the ideal solution for marketing and support teams that want to grow their independence, and also want to become more efficient. Really, who doesn’t that apply to?