How a customer data platform can supercharge your marketing

Having a clear perspective of what motivates buying decisions and engenders loyalty is vital. Without it, marketing campaigns and activities are likely to miss their mark and contribute less to the business bottom line.

Yet, while marketers know what they need, they also know understanding their customers can be a tough thing to achieve. This is because the number of touchpoints between a customer and a business have grown rapidly in recent years, leading to a fragmentation of data. Many businesses struggle to pull the data generated by each of these interactions together to create a clear picture of the customer as an individual.

The rise of the CDP

Faced with this challenge, growing numbers of businesses are embracing the concept of a Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDPs allow data collected from different communications channels to be combined and made available to anyone within the business who needs it.

Specifically, a CDP can assist with:

  • Collection: Data from every customer interaction via all channels (web, phone, email, in-person etc) is automatically collected and stored.
  • Processing and consolidation: Once collected, the data is combined to create detailed customer profiles. Duplicate entries can be removed and errors fixed automatically to ensure each profile is as accurate as possible.
  • Segmentation: The customer profiles can then be grouped to create meaningful audiences. These can be used to develop and stage effective, targeted campaigns.
  • Activation and execution: Customer data can also be deployed to other tools within the business to improve customer experiences and support business decisions.

A good way to think about a CDP is as the central nervous system for customer data that connects with all parts of the business. It allows greatly improved understanding and ensures customers are treated consistently regardless of the channel through which they choose to interact.

Supercharge your marketing

Used correctly, a CDP can add significant firepower to your next marketing campaign. It will ensure messages are consistent, targeting and effective. The steps you need to take to reach this point are:

  1. Research: As is the case with every significant business decision, it’s important to start by evaluating the options. Once you’ve chosen a CDP, test it before making a commitment. Many CDP vendors offer a free trial period, so take advantage of it.
  2. Focus on the customer journey: Customers interact with a business in many different ways, from phone calls and web chats to apps and face-to-face conversations. To get a complete picture of each customer’s journey, look at data drawn from every touchpoint.
  3. Limit the metrics: It can be a mistake to think that tracking more metrics will help you understand a customer better. More often than not, you’ll end up data rich but insight poor. Instead, focus just on the metrics that provide real insights.
  4. Monitor behavioural data: According to our research, you’ll obtain more value by tracking events such as “product added”, “checkout started” and “order completed” rather than so-called vanity metrics such as new signups, downloads, or page views.
  5. Implement good data governance: It’s important to have a solid data governance protocol that ensures data is clean and free of errors. Choosing a CDP which can automate the data governance process is a good start.

Having taken these steps, it’s time to put your CDP to work. It can be connected to other systems and analytics tools used by everyone from sales teams to senior management. Because the data it contains is known to be accurate and up-to-date, the ways in which it can be used are vast.

Calvin French-Owen, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Segment

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