Customer's in one place and their data being moved through the cloud into a CDP
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Your company’s ability to deliver a unified customer experience (CX) across the full customer journey isn’t just about installing the right content management (CM) or digital experience (DX) platform with personalization tools. Critical to a marketer’s ability to do true data-driven, customer-centric performance campaigns is the need for high quality, or clean data.

High quality data is not easy to come by though. While your company may have lots of internal and external data from your business partners that could tell you much about your customers, the data is typically housed and maintained in disparate systems across organizational silos that aren’t accessible to marketers or sorted in an actionable way to affect the customer experience. Further issues affecting the quality of customer data is the proliferation of thousands upon thousands of MarTech solutions annually, which themselves help to create even more low quality data that need to be made accessible.

In order to leverage all that inaccessible and unsorted customer information for your marketing campaigns, your company needs the right data management solution. Depending on your needs, that solution may be a customer data platform (CDP), an integral part of some web content management (WCM) and digital experience platforms. A CDP can provide your company a single environment for your customer data, and can give you a unified and integrated view into your customers’ profiles.

What is a Customer Data Platform?

A customer data platform (CDP) is a critical component of a digital experience platform (DXP) that consolidates and integrates disparate data sources together into a single repository. This single source of sorted data can then supply unified customer data profiles to various apps in the MarTech stack, from analytics to marketing automation to operations.

One primary difference between a traditional customer database and a CDP is that an IT team would typically manage a traditional database, while CDPs are fully built-out solutions that marketing and other business stakeholders can run and own, allowing the CDP to be leveraged throughout the entire customer lifecycle. This gives companies much more control over their unified customer profiles and enables them to deliver that data into other CX platforms like a DXP.

According to a survey from Forbes Insights and Treasure Data, CDPs are already making serious headway into most companies, with 78% of organizations reporting they either have one now, or are developing, a CDP.

What is the Difference Between a CDP and CRM?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been around for some time and are the lifeblood of many sales and marketing teams. While a CRM, like a CDP, can generate a unified customer profile, CRMs are not designed to collect and sort all the data available from multiple digital channels like a CDP does. Unlike a CRM solution, a CDP can align customer data directly to marketing campaigns.

What are the Benefits of a CDP?

As mentioned earlier, one of the core benefits of a CDP is that it is capable of taking in multiple forms and formats of data from several sources. With all that data from multiple sources now accessible and sorted, CDPs can give marketers a unified, real-time view into, and access of, their customers’ data. CDPs can pull data from websites, social media, call centers, sales, products, apps, and email, to name a few. All that clean data gives marketers a much better understanding of customer behavior, allowing them to segment their audience better, and will ultimately allow them to personalize the customer experience at all phases of the buying journey. That level of personalization helps to build trust with customers, since they feel your company is delivering them relevant and contextual information to assist them in their research or buying decision.

Conclusion

CDPs are a critical piece of your MarTech stack, but it is important to know they are not necessarily part of your current DXP as the core customer data source. Many popular DXPs do not have a CDP integral to their platform, so being conscious of connectivity and interoperability of a CDP into your DXP is a primary concern.

With the capability CDPs provide to hoover up a wider array of data sources than ever before, they will allow your marketing departments to get one step closer to providing a true, unified 360-degree view into your customers.