Marketers across different industry verticals are constantly looking to simplify the complexities involved with managing a martech stack. Among the long pile of existing solutions, a name that frequently stands out is the Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP has been very effective in helping companies build a perfect martech stack by putting customers at the center of their thought process rather than as an afterthought.
CDPs have grown rapidly in the past few years due to the value that they bring with respect to managing user data as well as delivering personalized marketing to customers. However, marketers aren’t very clear about why they should use a CDP over other martech tools.
Here are a few concerns that marketers have while considering a CDP for their business:
1. CDP vs DMP
Many marketers are confused between a Data Management Platform (DMP) and a CDP. A DMP primarily makes use of 3rd party data through cookies, creating anonymous segments for advertising, and enabling retargeting. However, a CDP focuses on 1st party data along with data from different sources to bring into a centralized single database. This helps in creating unified customer profiles and thereby orchestrate personalized experiences across all channels for the target audience.
Moreover, a CDP can expose the data to a DMP and help in better identity resolution. The ideal purpose of a CDP is to sit atop the entire MarTech stack, connect data from different sources, and feed into different delivery platforms while simultaneously collecting engagement and campaign feedback.
2. Good to have, not a must-have
Since a CDP is not just a marketing automation tool, its true value is often not realized. With short-term goals and quicker results, traditional martech tools have been able to address an audience and meet the criteria. However, as customers demand unique experiences, every customer should be addressed differently with a tad bit of personal touch.
A CDP is not only offering real-time experiences but also infusing it with Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Data Science frameworks on an open and extensible platform. AI and ML just open a wide window of opportunities with much more capability than human-defined rules. This helps in achieving a higher value through improved audience segmentation and cross-channel orchestration. You must decide whether you want to achieve short-term goals or reap fruits in the long run.
3. Data Persistency
A CDP is most effective when it is able to bring in data from different sources. However, it is much easier said than done. An organization’s marketing ecosystem comprises of several tools such as CRM, Lead Management Systems, etc. There are also different data sources such as website data, app data, offline data, transactional data, and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
With such a complex setup, it is challenging to unify the data in a consistent format where these systems don’t even have a common data point. The purpose of a CDP fails if you fail to create a single customer view. However, through integration and standard taxonomies, a CDP is solving this problem one data point at a time. Nonetheless, with the ever-increasing scale and data types, CDPs will have to keep on evolving to get better and quicker in combining the data sources.
4. Scale and Latency
Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. The data points are just going to keep on increasing along with the data types. Also, if a customer is browsing for a certain product, the ideal time to reach the customer is right then instead of a week later.
The challenge for a CDP is to ensure that every customer’s data point is stored and maintained for real-time communication. This would involve a tight-knit integration with all the data sources and delivery platforms. With the help of cloud technology and CDP players partnering with delivery platforms, this becomes a solvable problem, but who knows what the future holds.
5. Myths and more myths
There is a myth amongst the marketers that a CDP will solve all the data problems and replace the entire marketing stack. There are different definitions for CDP and multiple vendors in the market are offering different CDP solutions. People are confused about the depth and breadth of its capabilities. This eventually leads to a dilemma where people might think about all the implementation costs and miss out on omnichannel personalization for the customer.
One has to stop giving in to the hype and understand the true purpose of a CDP. Before selecting a CDP, understand the reasons for selecting the same, set the right goals, review the existing technology landscape, and device an implementation plan.
A Customer Data Platform helps in creating a single customer view and delivering actionable insights. One might not get it right the first time and it’s okay. CDPs are also evolving as rapidly as your data universe. They are here to stay to break the silos for better customer experiences. Because as they say, Customer is King!
By Aditya Agarwal | Manager – Client Partner at Lemnisk