The intricacies and benefits of customer data platforms
For data-driven marketers, getting their martech stack right can unlock the door to transformational customer experiences. In an ideal martech environment, where all platforms are tied together by a unified data framework & foundation, the entire business can benefit from real-time informed insight.
Yet, for many marketers, piecing together the martech puzzle remains a challenge. There are many questions to consider: what martech platforms do I need within my business? How can I ensure platforms are correctly implemented, integrated and optimised? What data strategy and frameworks do I need to support an unsiloed, unified world? How can I make the most of existing and new platform investments to drive real value and ROI?
And those questions are just the tip of the iceberg.
Including a customer data platform (CDP) in a business’s martech stack is one attractive answer. This is because CDPs can help companies who are looking to limit data fragmentation and achieve a unified, omnichannel approach.
Should marketers look to invest in CDPs?
In layman’s terms, CDPs work to centralise data across multiple sources for a unified database. Yet, there’s still a lot of confusion in the market as there’s no one single formula that all CDP solutions follow. Added to the fact there are many diverse and maturing data solutions on the market today, it can be hard to understand what each solution does and which is the best fit for a business. Indeed, the CDP Institute itself recognises over 100+ CDP solutions.
When marketers are considering a CDP investment, or looking to evolve and optimise their martech stack, they should assess the organisation’s unique position, existing frameworks and technology. With vendors evolving their positioning and technology, the scope of CDP capability, standard features and support can vary greatly.
What are the benefits of a CDP?
Despite the variety of CDP solutions, most CDP vendors say their solutions can address a number of common challenges including:
- Marketing fragmentation – working to create a single customer view across marketing channels
- Digital and offline integration – most CDPs support standard connections for source systems such as marketing applications and CRMs – a requirement to collect and integrate customer data from digital and offline sources, and support data integration
- Identity management – CDPs should be able to create universal and persistent person views, using identity resolution to create accurate profiles of individual customers, visitors or prospects across touchpoints
- Segmentation – CDPs should work to create segments for real-time marketing applications and enable marketers to make segment data immediately available in other marketing applications
- Data silos – CDPs help to expose data to other systems, including customer analytics, customer engagement platforms and more
- Governance and legislation – governance and privacy legislation compliance (such as with GDPR and the CCPA) are crucial for any data solution, and help marketers to maintain a transparent, responsible and secure approach to data
Considering this, investing in a CDP to achieve a centralised, omnichannel solution may seem an obvious choice. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that, as capability can vary between vendors, a CDP may still require support from other technologies in the tech stack (every technology has its strengths, so it’s important to play to them and plug in enhancements where needed). To ensure a business is making the right choice it is advisable to seek consultation from a data and technology expert achieve real value.
For this reason, and because different marketers and organisations have differing requirements, data ecosystems and existing martech, it often helps to consult a data partner to identify what platforms or tools can help companies meet their goals. If a single CDP or a combination of tools is the best option for an organisation. They can also help to answer how businesses can optimise an existing CDP and martech stack and how to consider martech and data strategies together for a unified, effective approach.
While CDP options can seem daunting, it’s true that no two businesses are the same. As such, technologies should be geared up to suit the intricacies of a business, rather than the other way around. With the right advice businesses can tailor CDPs to help drive real value by unify existing technologies and frameworks so that they are all working towards a shared company goal.