Enterprise CDP capabilities should enable marketing, IT and data management teams to quickly ingest, process and analyze data to deliver personalized omnichannel customer experiences.
You must understand your customers intimately as people, not as just a segment or anonymous target, to create truly personalized customer experiences. While it may seem like an insurmountable challenge, it is within the capability of any organization willing to commit to data-driven and customer centric principals. You just need good, clean data and the right technology tools to leverage that data for highly contextual personalization.
A customer data platform (CDP) can help deliver the most relevant experiences for your customers. CDPs ingest and unify customer data, which can then be translated into marketing automation workflows that allow you to engage with relevant messages across the customer journey in real-time.
There are many different types of CDP tools on the market today, and not all are created equal. It’s important to evaluate different CDP capabilities and how they could bring value to your overall data management and Martech strategies.
Here are 10 key CDP capabilities you need to look for that can support data-driven, customer-centric experiences today, and in the future.
1. Customer Data Unification
Creating a single customer view is key to creating great experiences. Your CDP must be able to ingest all types of customer data from many different locations and applications. This data includes customer profile data, interaction data, behavioral data, campaign data, customer support data, data from point-of-sale systems, devices, internet of things (IoT), and more. Along with this first-party data, your CDP must be able to ingest second-and-third-party data from other trusted sources that help fill in missing or inaccurate attributes.
It’s not just about collecting customer data, though. CDP capabilities should include identity resolution and data unification capabilities in order to create a unified customer profile that continuously updates as new data is captured.
2. Data Processing Across Multiple Formats and Types
Customer data will come in many formats, like structured data, semi-structured data, and unstructured data. Your CDP should support the ability to ingest any data without transforming the data to meet a predefined schema in the CDP.
Schemaless data ingestion means you don’t have to worry about the format or structure of the data ingested. Instead, the CDP can collect raw, event-level data, which speeds up data collection processes and ensures it can quickly adapt to any changes in the source system
3. No Timelines on Data Retention
Collecting customer data is critical, but some CDPs don’t have the ability for long-term data management and storage. In fact, some CDPs will purge certain data after 30 days. You need CDP capabilities that provide a consistent view of all your customer data, with no limitations or data expiration requirements.
4. Machine Learning and AI Capabilities
It’s impossible to analyze all your customer data manually — there’s simply too much. A CDP that offers artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities enables you to derive actionable insights about every customer through predictive and advanced analytics.
5. Dynamic Profiles
Machine learning and AI also helps with dynamic profile creation. By slicing and dicing customers based on attributes and behaviors, you can identify customer segments to target with targeted and personalized messaging.
6. Personalized Experiences
Customers expect their experience with your brand to be personalized — they don’t want generic messaging or content that is irrelevant or out of date. A CDP ensures your marketing programs and engagements are personalized to the customer. With access to real-time data, workflows and dynamic segmentation, you can execute campaigns and communications targeted to the right person at the right time with the most relevant message.
Making the right customer data available to other systems for activation enables marketers to personalize your website, send targeted emails, optimize customer journeys, offer relevant product and content recommendations, elevate customer service interactions, and more.
7. Data Scalability
Your CDP needs to ingest and process billions of events every day. And as your data management and customer experience strategies evolve, your CDP will need to grow with you. Your CDP should be able to scale data analysis and query processing as you work to employ better customer experiences. Without the ability to easily and quickly scale to meet new customer demands, your experiences will suffer.
8. Customer Journey Flexibility
Customer demands are continually evolving, and that means you are regularly dealing with changes to existing customer journeys that cross multiple channels. Your CDP must be able to grow, adapt and change as your market does.
A flexible CDP enables you to easily connect new data sources and integrate with new marketing, sales, customer service and support applications to activate your customer data. Your CDP cannot restrict the types of vendors you can work with. Instead, it must be able to interoperate with many systems through built-in connectors, webhooks, SDKs, and APIs.
9. Privacy and Security
Customers expect you to take care of their data, and when that trust is broken, customer experience suffers. Look for a CDP that provides enterprise-grade security, including things like data encryption in transit and at rest, industry standards for authentication and authorization, and certification through third-party authorities like ISO/IEC 27001 and SOC 2 Type 2.
Along with ensuring your customer data is secure, your CDP must comply with enterprise compliance and privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA. A CDP can help you track how your customer data is used across systems by providing a map of data sources and integrated systems that use that data.
10. Quick Time to Value
Turnkey integrations and out-of-the-box value are vital CDP capabilities, along with strong professional services and support teams who have been through the implementation process and know how to get you up and running as quickly as possible. A good CDP should ease the burden on IT through the implementation and integration process. This will allow your data management teams to focus on more important work.
Find the Right CDP for You
Keep these 10 key capabilities in mind when looking for a customer data platform for your organization. Map your specific requirements or use cases to these capabilities to understand why they are important and how you will use them in your marketing and support programs. The right CDP will ensure you are creating the best customer experiences possible.
Want more tips? Our comprehensive CDP RFP guide explores the key steps needed to create a successful CDP evaluation and selection process – from the capabilities to consider, to the questions you should ask prospective vendors to make sure you’re making the right decision. Get your copy of our guide here.