10 Benefits of a Customer Data Platform (CDP)
by Jan Hendrik Fleury, on Feb 4, 2022 10:46:38 AM
Connecting all applications for transactional, analytical, and activation purposes can be achieved with a Customer Data Platform (CDP). If you are asking why your business should consider using a CDP, you are at the right spot now. In this article, we will share more details about a Customer Data Platform and what the benefits are.
Customer Data Platform - explained
In a Customer Data Platform, data from different sources are stored and used to integrate applications and analyze data. A CDP helps businesses understand their customers since it creates a truthful and unified view of customer behaviour, transactions, and products. Truthful and unified because with the right setup, the data is being cleansed, deduped, modelled, and stored in one place and not shattered in applications.
A CDP is essential in executing a privacy-safe first-party data strategy, as I've written about before.
Let's dive into the 10 benefits!
1. All data in one place
Which data should you use? CRM, order, web- and app behaviour, advertising cost? The answer is all of them and all in one place. Companies often struggle to combine and utilize all the data they gather. Especially since data streams are coming from several different sources, it is impossible to get the complete picture if the information is not centralized.
Take our client Rituals, for instance. To become more customer-centric, they needed a single view of the customer. We integrated all the different data sources like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Point of Sale Cowhills, advertising platforms, fulfilment, GA360, and other sources into Rituals' CDP called 'Rituals Information Lake.'
Now, the global cosmetics brand can seize on- and offline data from all possible touch-points in one place as the foundations to offer customer experiences and business insights. This integration allows them to understand their customers better than before and reach their customer-centric goal.
2. 360-Degree View Of Customer
A 360-degree view allows companies to identify every part of the customer journey, products, and transactions. It supports the company in understanding consumers and their behaviour. Therefore, a comprehensive picture of the customer enables sales, marketing, and service teams to strategically promote the enterprises' products to the right people at the right time and place.
One example is Ritual's customer service. The customers can be easily recognized with their customer data platform when they contact Rituals. All relevant information (coming from several sources like shipping, orders, reviews, or complaints) about the consumer is shown to the agent directly after the purchase already. Consequently, the company can offer quality service—a higher level of satisfaction results in increased loyalty and bigger chances of returning.
This 360-degree view is one of the reasons why Rituals was able to grow at such a fast pace. With the knowledge about their (potential) customers, the brand can significantly market their products better and increase numbers like the conversion rate. All of these benefits lead to the biggest goal of businesses: increased revenue.
One crucial technical requirement is building a unique global customer identifier that can link all of an individual customer's information from multiple sources so that it is accessible to all relevant teams and systems. As a result, you keep track of all your customer interactions to communicate one-to-one and apply reliable measurement.
3. Increased Revenue
If used in the right way, CDPs should result in the final goal of a company: a rise in revenue as a result of higher customer satisfaction and intelligent targeting. By implementing data from all sources, the enterprise can completely view the customer. Therefore, the opportunity of well-targeted marketing to people with the right message may result in increased brand recognition and customer engagement. As a result, higher conversion rates can be realized.
Examples of marketing use cases may extend beyond marketing to customer strategy, experience, and service functions. Business stakeholders lead this aspect of the evaluation. Beyond a unified customer view, a well-defined and identified list of use cases helps realize better business outcomes. Examples include:
- Identifying, defining, visualizing, and continuous updating of customer journeys
- The ability to identify high-value customers before the acquisition, i.e., the ability to model look-alikes
- Creation and management of attributes
- Audience segmentation
- Attribution measurement
- Better and smarter targeting, e.g., rapid testing and learning across channels
- The ability to support owned, paid, and earned channels
- Handling complex attributions and modelling
- The ability to support customer look-ups, if relevant
A great use case in precision targeting, ease of activation, and insights of a leading eCommerce company in EMEA can be found here.
4. Finding new audience segments
Having the information in one place makes it easier to segment your customers and audiences and apply basic and advanced analytics. The Customer Data Management Platform may do the segmentation; this depends on the type (data CDP,= or analytics CDP or engagement CDP) and brand of the CDP. You can use standard segments; you cannot define and set bespoke segments as you can in a CDP built on Google Cloud Platform. What standard segments will do for you depends on your data-driven maturity and the complexity of your business.
While working with all the data, you might find new possibilities for audience segments like online spenders, loyal customers, or discount shoppers. Marketers can then divide each segment further with gender, age, and location. And reach similar audiences. Because the sections are smaller, the targeting may be more specific and customized messages.
5. Campaign optimization and long term learnings
A Customer Data Platform allows gaining insights into the performance of specific campaigns. By implementing a customer data platform, marketers can see the efficiency and outcome of the movement they want to analyze. Marketers can improve their attempts to promote the product or service for the next time by understanding the last ones.
CDP offers insights for solving immediate problems like high advertising spending or mismatching content for the targeted audience. Marketers and companies can also profit from using customer data management platforms in the long run. Every time a campaign can be favorably improved by using the customer data management platform, the company can learn and improve its efforts next time. The budget is saved, and conversion rates may increase in the future.
6. Reduce vendor lock-in and become the owner of the platform
Crystalloids build out customer data platforms by loosely coupling the applications. The persistence of your data is primarily in the information lake. In this way, it is easy to switch apps since the migration is smooth. No wonder since the data is persistent in the CDP.
Aside from the cost, most companies want to own the platform data, models, and code. This increases the market capital value of a company. Not surprisingly, CEOs and owners of a company love that. This is possible in a public cloud platform (aside from the out-of-the-box models in the platform).
The cost of applications like SalesForce are partially related to the data stored in these applications. Since the data is mainly persistent in the customer data management platform and not in the app, you might reduce costs. Next to this, a central view saves analysts and data scientists much time in gathering and cleansing the data.
8. Apply the models you like
Having the luxury of a unified data and analytics layer, you can enhance the performance of, for instance, Adobe or Salesforce Marketing Cloud emails because you can apply smarter modelling if you have access to all the data you need and if you can apply the kind of modelling you wish to use. The same goes for modelling to target the right audience for the suitable add bids based on your first-party data and apply modelling to personalize the website. You can still use out-of-the-box intelligence of marketing suites when this is offering decent performance. And if the data behind Einstein is richer and of more quality, the performance of Salesforce components will increase. As a result, you will have the best of two 'worlds' in one stack.
Analog to benefits 6,7,8 I've written a blog about these elements that explains in more detail how these are related to suites such as Salesforce or Adobe.
9. Reduce effects of third party cookie loss
The changes in the technical and regulatory environment around collecting and processing personal data are impacting companies' ability to precisely target and measure their audiences. Implementing an AI-based Marketing Engine in a custom-build CDP on Google Cloud Platform is the answer, as I've written in this blog.
This flexible solution enables you to exploit first-party data to its full potential, in full compliance with regulations. This solution allows audiences to be segmented in an automated way adopting MLOps for managed activation across all owned, earned, and paid digital marketing platforms.
Third-party cookies, which have been necessary to media marketers and media advertising spending, are disappearing. Businesses that use third-party cookies to track customer journeys need to think of alternatives to reaching their target audiences. A first-party data strategy is essential as I've written about in the blog 'First-party data strategy to achieve the holy grail of omni-channel customer experiences'.
Having the data in one place is an enabler to becoming and staying GDPR compliant. It allows your company to anonymize contacts, for instance. Furthermore, customer data management platforms support data portability, and data insight requests as these tasks can be executed with one source. To fulfil these tasks in shattered data silos would make this almost impossible.
Designing and operating a CDP
If you think you are ready to develop a CDP, I would recommend you to read the blog about 3 best practices to design and operate a Customer Data Platform.
It is important to get the use cases as clear as possible so that you can work towards a concrete goal and show results to the company in a matter of weeks. Are you curious how we at Crystalloids work with the customer, come up with a good use case, and how we turn ideas into a viable solution? Then read this blog titled Going from use case to a Customer Data Platform in 9 steps.
Crystalloids help companies improve their customer experiences and build marketing technology. Founded in 2006 in the Netherlands, Crystalloids creates crystal-clear solutions that turn customer data into information and knowledge into wisdom. As a leading Google Cloud Partner, Crystalloids combines experience in software development, data science, and marketing, making them one of a kind IT company. Using the Agile approach, Crystalloids ensures that use cases show immediate value to their clients and frees their time to focus on decision making and less on programming.