3 Reasons to Leverage Customer Data Platforms in 2019
Unless you’re a marketer gifted in the art of eye-rolling, the last thing we all want is another category of marketing technology (martech). The average marketer is inundated with rhetoric on the next shiny new thing; it can be overwhelming to determine which platforms are useful and how they add value to your organization.
Since the emergence of martech, there has been an implied promise to deliver omnichannel, real-time marketing. In practice, one of the key drivers for success is the accessibility of underlying data. Of course, the quality of the data is imperative but it is the accessibility of the data that drives scale. As many marketers are now starting their annual planning cycles, investment in new marketing technology is inevitably back on the agenda. The customer data platform is worth a look due to the unique gap it fills in the stack.
The customer data platform (CDP) has existed in some form for years. In fact, some organizations have built their own in-house data platform to drive high-performance user segmentation. The challenge with these in-house data platforms is the level of effort expended to achieve scale and, more importantly, to enable a user-friendly experience for non-technical users.
Here are three ways a customer data platform can add value to your existing martech stack:
1. Empower marketers to explore opportunities in the data and then execute — without technical support
Even the most advanced marketers have a disconnected view of the customer. They may see a report based on siloed data sources once a week or hourly campaign performance data in Tableau, but rarely does the customer profile take cohesive shape. This lack of scale makes it very difficult to understand overall customer behavior and orchestrate marketing against those behaviors.
With today’s more advanced CDPs, marketers are now empowered to find opportunities on their own and then execute without the aid of an analyst or IT. Not only is this important for evaluating the right actions to execute with your customers but for adding velocity to your programs. Many marketers still struggle to continuously improve their programs. A customer data platform allows marketers to apply velocity to the testing of new ideas and quickly reapply those learnings to user segmentation without the manual processing of data sources.
2. Orchestrate marketing messages in real time as new audiences meet the right criteria
A key differentiator of a CDP is that is a marketing-led ecosystem. The marketer can gain a greater understanding of the unified customer profile. As the opportunities become clear, the marketer can act to modify the user segmentation and push to delivery channels such as a marketing automation platform, email service provider, etc. When new audiences fit the criteria of those segments, the users will receive the right communications based on their individual behavior. Again, without having to wait for the typical batch processing of new data sources dependent on technical resources.
Many organizations, due to siloed data, start to act within their marketing channels and optimize based on limited data and little else — a traditional trend this approach discourages.
3. Simplify the process and expense of adding new data sources and delivery channels
Traditional databases, CRM, and delivery systems are built to engage with customers, but they are not built to ingest data sets that come from multiple sources (whether internal or external, structured or unstructured).
A good customer data platform will be very open and therefore fully compatible with a restful API approach. By connecting the data sources and channels, marketers can achieve a unified customer profile that is accessible to all systems and platform-agnostic. In addition, the CDP is more cost effective from an engineering and architectural perspective than an in-house model, especially when it comes to adding new data sources and marketing channels over time.
The emergence of the customer data platform makes it a useful addition to the martech stack. Not because it replaces your existing tech, but because it often can help deliver on the ‘real-time, omnichannel experience’ promise you thought you’d already invested in. There is a tangible path to deliver more value in each communication across the customer journey and to subsequently build higher ROIs on your existing technology investments.