The first thing CDPs need to do is connect all of a company’s customer data in a single place. This means not only stitching together a single customer ID from many different CRM instances, but also tying together databases that traditionally don’t share customer data, like marketing clouds, service software and ecommerce engines. This is often described as the customer resolution.
The next thing CDPs must do is reconcile the identities organisation have about their customers (like email and mobile numbers) with what they know about customers before they share their data with companies (such as anonymous cookies and mobile device IDs). This way, marketers can start to associate an interaction that started with an email campaign and continued onto the website with the same customer. This is a cross-device identity.
Once the CDP has created unified profiles of customers, the system has to make that data available in real time so companies can deliver personalised experiences. This involves connecting the customers behavioural data to many different types of systems – email-send engines, demand-side platforms, and content management systems.
In a nutshell, CDPs are concerned with these primary tasks: data collection, data unification, data activation and data insights.
The CDP data process:
- Acquire: CDPs need user-level data from common marketing services.
- Process: This involves cleaning data, and matching fields and identities.
- Expose: Subsets of data are stored for fast access for analysis.
- Analytics: This stage will use segmentation and prediction and will help personalise customer journeys.
- Delivery: Data can be fed to messages, sites, apps, ads and social as well as customer service agents.
How a CDP uses customer data
There are certain functions that are suited to CDPs. The following explores some of the key functions that a CDP provides end users.
A customer comes to a website, browses a product and then leaves. CDPs gather the data from the customer’s website visit to make the unified profile available to all addressable channels, enabling personalisation and relevancy. Customers who see content tailored to their interests are five times as likely to engage with a brand.
Sometimes the best use of data in marketing isn’t to better target consumers — but to not target them at all. A unified profile that connects marketing and purchase data enables marketers to optimise their addressable spend by suppressing consumers that have already made a purchase, and redirecting those dollars toward new customers.
Many analytics systems operate in silos. A CDP allows an outdoor retailer to have a customer’s marketing interactions tied with ecommerce data (purchase history) and website interaction data (products viewed multiple times). When this information is available to a service rep in the call centre, this type of personalisation can turn a $15 per hour call centre rep into a $100,000 a year salesperson.