Your car may be fitted with the latest technologies to provide you with great speed and comfort, but it is useless without fuel. On similar lines, customer data is fuel for a firm's marketing technology.

A recent study carried out by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zeta Global found that 66% of respondents consider adopting Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) a strategic priority or key endeavor for their firm. However, a mere 10% of participants feel that the CDP meets their requirements, while only 1% believe it serves future requirements.

With a rush toward digitization, companies end up adopting numerous technology stacks, which in turn gets complex over time, millions are spent and companies fail to extract desired results. 

Let’s Clear the Fog

Being someone who has closely watched all this happening around for years, my personal take is to stay calm and put your initial focus on generating the base use case. But how to go about it? Let's deep dive and understand in a step-by-step manner:

Related Article: Data Enrichment: Key to Maximizing Customer Experience?

A Comprehensive Understanding to Customer Data

Understanding how different teams across an organization use customer data in their own way to create value is the first step. To fulfill this, it becomes important to conduct workshops with various teams across the company and interact with the brand team, analytics team and different business units to provide a holistic view of an organization. The need is to collect their respective use cases, find coherence among them, dump outdated approaches and finally map it with the foundational use case.

Unknown to known is one of the foundational use cases. Millions of customers scroll through a company's webpage, many of whom are potential customers. It becomes vital to identify who exactly your customer is, gather data on their tastes and preferences, and the solution they are looking for. The step sounds simple, considering the current tech stack available in the market. Easy for a retail company where a user has to sign-up or log in, but what about those where it's not the case? Take the case of pharmaceuticals, for instance. Use identifiers and list out potential customers.

Once done with an overall picture — the onus now lies on the customer data. However, the data should be meaningful and suitable to the company's end goals.

Putting a Good Data Acquisition Strategy in Place

A firm has sound control over their own data, i.e., first-party. In practice, the firm also uses second- and third-party data. Here, the need is to have partners and sources following transparent data transfer practices and committed to the laws of the land, such as GDPR or the California Consumer Privacy Act. Find out the right data sources, know who possesses the data, how to get it from them, try to avoid not-so-useful data and integrate new external data neatly.

With the ever-evolving identity ecosystem, it has become futile for companies to depend on third-party cookies. So, the solution to be incorporated must account for new identifiers developed by several companies, including Google, data connectivity platform LiveRamp, The Trade Desk and others. But again, identity should revolve primarily around privacy, consent and security measures.

Related Article: From First-Party to Zero-Party Data

Learning Opportunities

Data Enrichment

Having all your data in one location is a terrific first step, but businesses succeed more effectively by using data lakes, not by creating bigger data lakes. CDPs must automatically apply intelligence layers to consumer data, with enrichment and modeling at the individual level, in order to keep up with the speed and size of contemporary marketing campaigns. Real-time scoring and guiding marketing strategies entail using AI and predictive analytics.

Design Customer Journeys

Customers leave their digital footprints whenever they enter a domain, hop from one webpage to another, or even across various company social media platforms. This digital footprint needs to be followed to understand a customer's journey, likes and dislikes, opinions and even feedback — the most neglected one.

The customer's journey seems straightforward. Customers purchase a product or service that businesses offer. Actually, the path is more complicated than that. Customers may view advertisements, interact with customer support agents, or try to complete a transaction during this journey. These experiences have a direct impact on their behavior. A company can plan and get ready to entice customers to purchase by comprehending the process and how it affects customer interactions. 

With the combined effect of all these steps mentioned above, you will be in a much better position to come up with the base use case. In addition, this ensures the foundation and basis on which future use cases can be rolled out.

Conclusion: CDPs Have Their Concerns. Know Them.

With the combined effect of all these steps mentioned above, you will be in a much better position to come up with the base use case and create unified profiles of customers.

Finally, this approach ensures real-time availability of data for companies to deliver personalized experiences. This entails integrating client data with various platforms, including content management systems, demand-side platforms and email senders.

To be precise, the main concerns of CDPs are data gathering, data unification, data activation and data insights. Get to know them and stay ahead on building out great digital customer experiences.

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