The first thing CDPs need to do is connect all of a company’s customer data in a single place. That 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. We call that customer resolution.
The next thing CDPs have to do is reconcile the identities we have about our known customers (like email and mobile numbers) with what we know about customers before they share their data with companies (anonymous cookies and mobile device IDs, as an example). This way, we can start to associate an interaction that started with an email campaign and continued onto the website with the same customer. We think of this as 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 personalized experiences. That means connecting customer 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.