16 Dec 2018
What is a Customer Data Platform? Why does your business need one?

Customer Data Platforms, CDPs for short, are the latest craze in marketing technology. How can a customer data platform benefit your business?

According to the 2017-2018 CMO spend survey by Gartner, chief marketing officers invested two-thirds of their total budgets into the retention of their existing customers. Today, consumers access the same websites and communicate with the same brands using a plethora of marketing channels on different devices:a smartphone, a tablet, a desktop or a laptop PC. Creating and monitoring a single, unified view of each customer with them changing devices like gloves is a challenge for every marketer.

Each and every one of these touchpoints provide marketers with the most valuable data, the first-party data. First-party data is the data received first-hand from the users themselves. And data collection goes well beyond collecting people’s names, email addresses or physical location. More importantly, this means collecting data on the person’s real interests and preferences obtained via web tracking.

By using first-party data, brands can create the right message for a specific customer and send it at the right time using the best communication method for this particular customer.

However, for all this data to be truly valuable, the data collected from disparate channels should be identified and linked to that specific customer.

For this very reason, businesses are looking for an effective way to collect, bring together, and put to use that first-party data coming from a variety of sources.

There was a time when getting a unified view of a customer was something from a science fiction novel, a distant future, a dream one could never catch while awake. But it wasn’t CDPs that turned the situation for the better. Lizzy Foo Kune, Senior Director, Analyst, covering Marketing Analytics and Advertising at Gartner, believes that businesses shouldn’t blindly follow the hype over this innovation, but rather take a closer look at the Marketing Automation software they already use. Chances are the CDP features you need are already included there.

What Is a CDP, Exactly?

A Customer Data Platform, or CDP, is a system that can identify a user regardless of what communication channel they use, and combine all the data about the said user in a single profile.

This makes it possible to create a full, accurate view of the customer which, in its turn, allows brands to improve the customer experience, optimize communications and more accurately target customers with the right messages and commercial offers.

Such solutions have already been developed and implemented in different automation solutions. They were used, for example, in omnichannel campaign management, tagging, and a variety of integrations.

The hype around CDPs is mostly a sign that developers are now ready to invest in marketing technologies.

CDP is not a new solution but a new name for old(-ish) features that were previously scattered around in a number of alternative products.

The sudden interest in CDPs makes it clear that the customer data and automated data processing are now seeing a rapid rise in value.

What Can CDPs Do?

According to Gartner, a system can only be called a CDP if it enables its users to:

  • Collect data
  • Unify the data in a customer’s profile
  • Segment the audience
  • Activate communications with the segments.
How Customer Data Platforms work

Data Collection

The main task set before any CDP is collecting first-party data from a variety of sources in real time. This includes email addresses, phone numbers, social network accounts, device tokens, device IDs, browsing history, offline events, and so on.

With eSputnik, you can collect the same first-party data and use it to drive the success of your omnichannel marketing. To collect data, eSputnik uses web-tracking scripts, mobile SDKs, and a plethora of API integration tools.

Profile Unification

CDPs should enable you to to identify each user regardless of the channel they use to communicate with the brand on any device. Each interaction should be recorded and stored in the profile database; duplicate contacts should be merged and unified in order not to bombard the customer with identical messages through multiple different channels (for example, not to deliver the same content simultaneously via email and a push notification).

The eSputnik software can identify users who land on your website by clicking on a link in your marketing message and track the users’ behavior even if they don’t log in. eSputnik will connect the collected data to the data already recorded in the system for that same contact profile. For example, a certain user has followed the link in the message, landed on the website, and browsed through a specific product category. The information about all these interactions will be added to the user’s profile and used for automated personalization, for example, to deliver personalized product recommendations automatically.

Segmentation

The simplest feature any CDP should have is rule-based segmentation.

That said, eSputnik clients can group user profiles based on their interactions with the brand’s website and mobile app, for example, by the categories and pages they’ve browsed through, or the purchases they’ve made. You can choose to track any target action and segment your audience based on whether or not they have taken the action.

In addition to that, advanced CDPs can automatically predict if a contact will fall into a specific segment, using machine learning algorithms.

For example, we at eSputnik offer you the algorithms that will identify potential VIP customers in the span of 7 days after they make their first purchase.

Learn how this helped RetouchMe increase their quarterly revenue by 17%.

Activation

CDPs should have the ability to connect to communication tools such as email marketing services. Typically, these platforms alone do not provide messaging capabilities of their own.

CDPs should update segments automatically, in real time, so that all marketing campaigns can reach the target customer.

Advanced CDPs will also allow you to set rules for displaying product recommendations and displaying dynamic content, as well as optimize these rules with the help of machine learning algorithms.

eSputnik offers all these features on top of being an omnichannel marketing tool. With our help, you won’t need to use additional services like you would if you opt for a different CDP.

Why Do You Need a Customer Data Platform?

The more information there is, the harder it gets to attract and keep your customers’ attention. The only proper solution for this is utmost personalization in communications between your customers and your brand. All the latest marketing technologies are designed to solve this problem, one way or another. That said, customer data platforms help businesses track and manage the customer journey across different marketing touchpoints by collecting data in a single customer profile.

The good news for eSputnik clients is that we already offer all the advanced CDP features within our software.

If you are still on the fence about what marketing software to choose, take a closer look at eSputnik. You’re sure to find all the CDP features you need already packed there.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to share them in the comments below, we’re always happy to talk!

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