But several obstacles can get in the way of achieving an effective strategy. These include fragmented data silos that make it difficult to access information in real time. The fragmented data can then lead to inconsistent experiences as customers receive disjointed messages. Marketing teams also have to manage private data and unknown pseudonymous data while adhering to privacy and consent standards.
The Benefits of a Customer Data Platform
A key tool for solving these challenges is a Customer Data Platform (CDP), which unifies profile data to generate complete customer views that are easily accessible. This in turn makes it possible to automate workflows for delivering connected and personalized experiences in real time—with relevant messaging across different channels and devices.
Marketing can also use a CDP to market responsibly—with governance processes that address corporate and regulatory requirements for managing personal information. This includes gaining the ability to label and define policies pertaining to known and unknown personal customer data as well as streamlining processes for cataloging, lineage and consent, and usage and enforcement.
By simplifying integration across multiple data systems and processes for wrangling and activating customers, marketing teams can then spend more time on activities with greater strategic value. Key areas might be identifying high-value audiences from pseudonymous behavioral data as well as comprehensive profile stitching and segmentation.
Key Attributes to Look for in a Customer Data Platform
As you begin your journey to deploy a Customer Data Platform, focus on the critical attributes of the solution you will implement. The leading solutions give you the base functionality every marketing team needs to drive real-time customer experiences along with the ability to customize for your particular needs.
Here are three key capabilities to look for in a CDP:
• Serves as marketing’s source of truth for reading dynamic real-time customer profiles, which will constantly change based on what’s going on digitally and offline. All the activity needs to be harmonized in real time; if you wait 30 days, you will lose the context of where customers are in the purchase cycle.
• Provides the ability to orchestrate experiences based on behaviors of audience segments and profiles. Such systems send API calls to other marketing solutions to generate real-time offers, emails with coupons, and SMS messages with discounts.
• Gives you the ability to create and manage machine learning models. Not all CDPs can do this! The models allow Marketing to democratize artificial intelligence and build analytics on the fly—rather than waiting for IT to help, by which time it will be too late to respond to an immediate customer need.
The leading CDPs also provide simple UIs for non-technical people, making the process to build machine learning models a frictionless process. And once a model is created, it will automatically kickoff experiences based on customer behaviors. It’s like having a 7x24 marketing manager built-in!
Before Your Competitors Get There
A well-designed CDP will produce value across many marketing use-cases. For customer retention, you can analyze complete customer profiles to produce insights on the most valuable customers and plan loyalty program effectiveness. And within personalization campaigns, you can deliver consistent messages—across email, paid advertising, push notifications, and onsite encounters—while also selecting relevant attributes to export from customer profiles so you can tailor your messaging.
With capabilities like these, the pay-off of your CDP will be huge. Not only will you develop strong loyalty within your customer base, you will also connect with customers during their key purchase decision moments—before your competitors get there!
For more information on the value delivered by CDPs, check out the Customer Data Platform Institute, a vendor-neutral organization dedicated to helping marketers manage customer data. Contact R2i today to find out more about developing customer experience strategies.