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Strategy

It Is the Age of CDPs

Marketers are learning the importance of customer data platforms for the future

Keith Loria
March 23 2019

Customer data platforms (CDPs) are standalone applications that convert leads as quickly as possible. With CDPs, marketers gain a clear picture of how many times and at which intervals specific prospects should see ad campaigns and promotions.

By leveraging CDPs efficiently, you can organize leads based on attributes like buyer persona, relevance, quality score, and life cycle stage, and see which channels best serve customers’ evolving needs. These details offer end-to-end visibility that help craft a highly-optimized marketing strategy and bring customers into the fold.

Industry leaders have noted that CDPs help marketers accomplish four objectives—building a unified system to hold all customer data, actions, and experiences; facilitating the analysis of data that helps organizations understand and improve the customer experience; making it easier to design, execute, and track initiatives that maximize customer lifetime value; and giving marketers greater autonomy to own, understand, and affect the customer experience with minimal reliance on IT or other technical resources.

In the words of Eric Davies, CMO of Interana, “The pros of CDPs are that they’re great for quickly addressing a lot of the basic data needs of a marketing team. The cons are that as soon as teams need to ask new questions and explore their data in an ad hoc manner, many CDPs are limited by the types of events they capture and the timeframe of the data they cover.”

Still, there is no greater competitive advantage than the ability to provide customers with a better experience, and the best way to do that is to know the customers better than your competitors do.

“Bleacher Report found the most engaged and successful users were following a specific sports team, and, with further insight and analytics, discovered that if a new customer followed three teams on the first day, they would most likely become a long-term, engaged user,” Davies said. “With these findings in mind, Bleacher Report redesigned their customer onboarding experience to encourage new users to follow teams, which increased their long-term engagement by 60%.”

It’s All About the Data

Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer of Amobee, said that the convergence of TV, digital, and social is the future of advertising, and orchestrating the consumer journey across all channels will increase in importance.

“The holy grail for brands is a path to a single view of the consumer and there is a demand for technologies that enable this—hence the new buzz around CDPs. CDPs and DMPs have areas of overlap but they also solve very different problems, both of which are important to the brand,” he said. “CDPs primarily operate as an extension to CRM systems by providing turnkey connectivity to other PII-based marketing activation platforms. In this way, CDP is optimized for talking to the customers you already have.”

Samantha Bonanno, marketing analyst for Capterra, believes that more than ever before, this will be the year of data.

“Businesses have been investing in data analytics, which means they already have all the information they need to make data-driven, informed decisions about business and marketing strategies,” she said. “What’s key here is how you can use that data to build marketing personas.”

The best way to do that is by constructing personas based on what you know about your customers—geography, age, professional title, or where they first made contact with your business.

“By leveraging the data you have from your actual customer base, you empower yourself to execute and measure your strategies based on those customized personas,” Bonanno said.

The better you can aggregate customer data and the touchpoints or interactions with them, the more holistic view of the customer you’re able to build up, said FloQast CMO Wynn White.

“This lets you truly segment your customers at deeper, more granular levels—beyond simple cookie cutter personas,” he said. “Customer data platforms offer the capability to micro-target solutions and offerings based on known behavior. In this case, the adage of knowing your customer holds the promise of paying off with more effective campaigns and programs.”

Founder of Seattle-based B2B marketing agency PlanBeyond, Laura Troyani said that one of the biggest values CDPs can offer is bringing a strategic, metrics-driven lens to content marketing.

“Frequently marketers will develop content—anything from whitepapers and blog posts to even an entire website—with internally-created personas,” she said. “The trouble is that those personas are often built on gut and supposition, and less frequently on statistics-based segmentation. CDPs can help take the ‘gut’ out of persona development.”

Matt Buder Shapiro, co-founder and CMO of MedPilot, explained that the rise of the CDP has been a revolutionary development for marketers.

“We are far from the ‘Mad Men’ era of marketing, and leveraging data has become absolutely essential,” he said. “Even as it became clear that data was critical to drive efficient marketing campaigns, marketers were still forced to pull information from many different sources. CDPs’ ability to bring together all customer data into a single record allows marketers to manage and deploy multichannel campaigns with ease.”

Having such a wealth of data will enable marketers to better predict customer behavior, increase conversions, and drive up revenue. This transparency will force marketers to deliver better results for their clients. A unified system pulling data from all sorts of places including website engagement, mobile apps, social media and more, translates into the ability to create a true picture of who customers are and what they want.

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