Different Types of Customer Data Platforms & What They Mean for Digital Marketing

“A CDP is packaged software that builds a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to all other systems” – CDP Institute

To properly manage all available customer data points, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) needs to be used in order to keep this information clean, analysis-ready, and accessible to marketers who need key audience details for proper campaign creation.

The kicker is that there are several types of CDPs out there and it’s up to marketers to choose the right one to suit their business’s needs. Managing customer data also has implications for the entire enterprise, and marketing is not the only stakeholder.

The Four Faces of CDP

What’s important to keep in mind when choosing a CDP is that one service may offer one or two of the below functions while some may offer all of them. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses which makes performing due diligence on a provider mission-critical. Every CDP has to do some sort of identity resolution—some integrate with each other while others operate independently. If your organization does have more than one CDP, it’s important to have solutions that already integrate with each other for the sake of consistency.

Data Collection: As the name suggests, CDPs that collect customer data gather information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. Proper data collection and management, especially first-party data, is worth its weight in gold. Organizations need to understand how their product or service is engaged with—and on what channel—to get a grasp of what initiatives are working and which ones aren’t.

Campaign Management: Alright, you deployed a paid ad campaign that’s generating traffic…now what? Your job isn’t done once you’ve lured a customer to your website and gotten a conversion, you need to know which avenue to credit for website traffic, be it social media ads, Google ads, or organic search. Just because they ventured to your website by clicking on your Instagram post does not mean that Instagram is your revenue-generating hero. The user may have left your site to look up reviews via organic search and then returned to your website directly. Digital customer activity is a tangled web and you need the inside scoop from start to finish. This platform is not solely for paid advertising, it also includes email, paid social, browser push, mobile notifications, and SMS.

Message Delivery: This type of CDP not only houses data and analytics but also handles the delivery of customer messages. It’s more important than ever to quickly correspond with customers as silence can make a customer feel ignored or that they’ve been taken advantage of. Thanks to social media, businesses can respond directly to consumers, but if you’re struggling to know how to best communicate with each customer (and how often), a CDP that handles emails, SMS, browser push, mobile notifications, and other methods of communication are incredibly helpful. Increasingly, CDPs are building in AI to help optimize and personalize campaigns for each individual customer.

Dynamic Segmentation: Not only do customer analytics CDPs collect and manage data, but they also analyze customer behaviors and segment them in real-time. For many companies, this “dynamic segmentation” is much more powerful than demographics and other traditional segmentation strategies. For example, the segment of “Customers Who Have Loyalty Program Points Expiring in Seven Days” will have different customers in it every day. If you’re not using this information to create marketing campaigns to speak to specific audiences, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Choosing the Best CDP for Your Business

You’re probably asking yourself, “Which CDP is right for me?”

The answer: It depends on what the rest of your martech infrastructure looks like. Are you looking to rip out an old solution or integrate it with a legacy system? If you’re a firm that only works with large corporations, you want a CDP that can handle companies of that size. The same goes for smaller businesses. If you’re a firm that works with organizations large, medium, and small, invest in a CDP that showcases expertise in all three.

Another question you may be pondering is, “What capabilities would add value but are not possible with my current martech stack?”

Here are some real-world examples: One might be the ability to execute a single campaign across multiple channels. In practical terms, you may know that SMS gets the highest response rate, but you may not have permission to contact most of your customers through SMS. You also do not want to send the same campaign messages to the same customer multiple times especially if they’ve already responded. You might program your CDP to send out a campaign via SMS first. Then, the customers who did not receive SMS could receive an email instead. Follow-up messaging could be segmented based on the response to the first message.

How Chartis Helps Businesses Implement & Integrate Their CDPs 

How businesses operate has been forever changed due to the predominance of e-commerce and our dependence on timely service, response, and delivery. If you feel that it’s time to give your marketing capabilities a facelift, let Chartis help you strategize, implement and operate a new way of doing business. We are talented digital marketing experts who can help your business succeed by taking your customer data and messaging to the next level. Contact Chartis today to learn how we can accelerate your business and get you where you need to be—and then some.