How customers and potential customers interact with a company is of great interest to marketers.
Each touchpoint is an opportunity to strengthen trust and build a relationship with the company’s brand on one hand, or introduces the possibility for frustration and dismissal on the other. How can a Customer Data Platform (CDP) improve the customer experience? In this article, we’ll examine how a CDP can influence and guide each aspect of the customer journey.
MARKETING WITH A CDP
All companies track at least some customer data, through analytics, customer service or purchase interactions, or customer journey mapping. And that data can either be put to use to guide future marketing decisions, or squandered through a lack of adequate data storage and implementation. By investing in a CDP, your company can ensure that all of the relevant data you possess can be utilized, saving future costs in development, IT management, and cost per conversion. CDPs provide a wealth of benefits for marketers.
1. SINGLE VIEW OF THE CUSTOMER
The driving idea behind a CDP is collecting and unifying data. With customers engaging across a myriad of platforms, it’s essential to have one location to store, assimilate, and distribute that data. A CDP is able to collect data from first-party sources, as well as other sources such as web analytics, customer cloud data, and many other sources in order to streamline customer data and make it accessible to any type of platform or system. With a CDP, it becomes a realistic goal for marketers to see their customers in 360 degrees. Anonymous data can be linked with identity information once it’s acquired. Not only purchase data, but campaign engagement, browsing behavior, etc. can all be linked to individual customers, then segmented as needed for marketing purposes. Individual data points are unified into a single view of the customer.
When data is siloed, or when there are significant lags in collecting, analyzing, and responding to data, the benefits of that data are forfeited. With a CDP, your data is accessible in real time and simple connectivity means your company can be fast and flexible in responding to new information.
3. DEMOCRATIZATION OF DATA
Customer data is a valuable asset not just for marketing, but for all departments in a company. A CDP makes data available to anyone who needs it, securely and easily. Without a CDP, there are additional hurdles for departments to get the data they need, either through APIs and software development, or direct IT involvement that takes time and wastes resources. When each department has the ability to access, analyze, and segment customer data, new avenues for growth and development become evident.
4. REFINED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Besides the obvious benefits for marketing that a CDP provides, there is the additional benefit of a more positive customer experience. With omni-channel data collection and delivery, customers can feel connected to your business through any device, platform, or in-person touchpoint. Additionally, CDPs make suppression simple, so you’ll save resources, and avoid alienating customers by advertising products they’ve already purchased. And in a world where government regulations are constantly changing, a CDP simplifies compliance and security.
5. OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY
Companies who are used to operating without a CDP may not fully appreciate how much time and resources they’re spending on piecemeal solutions to data management and access. Not only are such point solutions expensive to set up, they can be difficult to maintain, and add unnecessary complexity. With a CDP, integrations are seamless and self-contained, requiring minimal human involvement. Plus, functions are centralized, so audiences and rules don’t need to be duplicated across different tools or departments. By investing in a CDP, your company will save time and money, while increasing responsiveness, growth potential, and improving the customer experience.
AN UPDATED CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Imagine how a CDP can simplify how you view, interact with, and market to existing and potential customers. How might your customers’ experience be different with a CDP in action? Let’s consider how various touchpoints could be affected by a CDP. First, an anonymous user browses your website. Their behavior is stored in your CDP. With or without a purchase, browsing data can influence product development and web design. Then, this user enters their email address in order to receive a coupon to use toward their purchase. The CDP links their anonymous data to their email address, creating a customer profile, and additional identifying information can be pulled from other sources associated with that email address. Let’s assume the customer completes a purchase. Now, all of the customer information filled in at checkout will be linked in the CDP, along with additional information like how they navigated to the site, how much time they spent there, what they viewed, and what browser or platform they used. Using this data, customer segments are created for targeted ad campaigns or personalized email messages, based on anything from purchase information to age, gender, or location.
Then, using a delivery or operational CDP, real-time, cross-channel marketing becomes possible. Customer segments or even individual customers can be targeted through customer service center, app or bot interactions, and many other touchpoints. Specific engagements can be tracked and trigger personalized offers or campaigns. Suppose this customer made an in-store purchase. A CDP would record and assimilate that purchase information, allowing for future upsells, and suppressing redundancies. Based on your customer’s history and profile, you can determine which platforms will be the most effective for advertising, for example, through text message, email, social media ads, or direct mail.
And with the integration of AI platforms like Salesforce’s Einstein, marketers can generate models and predictions based on aggregated data from the CDP, removing much of the guesswork and eliminating expensive trial campaigns. In the end, the customer is pleased because they saved money, found what they needed when they needed it, or had an efficient interaction with a customer service representative. Marketers are happy because they’ve saved money on ads or email campaigns, and lowered their cost per conversion. And management is happy because the customer journey is more efficient and sales have increased.
The current enthusiasm over CDPs is based on real potential for marketing and operational improvements. Marketers and executives are excited because they’re able to create an accurate and comprehensive view of the customer, make real-time marketing innovations and be responsive to all kinds of changes that will influence buying decisions. Marketers can refine the customer experience, while saving development dollars through the use of a CDP.