Top 6 Popular CDP Use Cases & How To Develop Them

How To Develop CDP Use Cases

The first step before you begin researching what customer data platform (CDP) will be the right fit for your organization is defining how you plan to use and get value from it. Establishing customer data use cases up front will ensure you are looking at the appropriate CDP platform and CDP vendor for your particular industry and applications, as well as help your company align internally around what goals, processes and outcomes will define CDP success.

It is important to make sure there is a shared understanding across your organization as to what constitutes a customer data use case, and align everyone around that common definition. Without a shared understanding internally, there can be a lack of clarity around prioritization of use case development. And ill-defined use cases can lead towards an oversimplified assessment of what is needed to achieve success.  Many organizations will focus too much on the technology and features within a software package, while not enough on what internal resources, skills, and modern agile processes are needed for success.

The process of getting buy-in and alignment across an organization cannot be understated in importance. Having the right executives across the company involved from the early stage of customer data use case development ensures you can develop a proof-of-concept (PoC) pilot program use case to excite and sell through to the rest of the organization. A simple pilot use case that can be seen and understood by all stakeholders across a company will help to exemplify to people the value a customer data platform can provide.

With the right use cases defined, data-driven marketing teams can use a CDP to improve the customer experience by leveraging a single customer profile across their organization. A CDP enables marketers to optimize their daily tasks, while the platform can assist in the development of the data-driven processes needed for digital transformation and omnichannel marketing capabilities.

What is Your Pilot CDP Use Case?

When bringing any type of software package in-house that spans multiple departments, a successful pilot use case can show everyone the benefits the CDP can provide to their groups. If other departments see that a centralized software package can have a measurable effect on the bottom line of their business, they will listen. And even more important than getting other departments on board is getting the right executives to buy-in.

Your pilot use case should be something that is intrinsic to your company’s needs. You may have been talking a lot internally about how customer service needs to see intelligence in real-time from other channels while trying to solve a customer’s problems. Or maybe you do business globally and must get in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) immediately, knowing a CDP is made to centrally manage data from disparate silos.

The most important thing to remember is to not bite off too much in the pilot and over-promise and under-deliver. The pilot should be simple and executable and easy to translate to multiple stakeholders with measurable ROI and value.

Top 6 Popular CDP Use Cases

Regardless of your industry or particular needs, CDPs are extremely broad in application and can address many diverse customer data use cases. The following use cases are some of the most popular that organizations bring a CDP in house to address. These may give you a good idea on how to proceed after the pilot use case, setting up near-term and long-term planning as you integrate the CDP not just with the rest of your technology stack, but evolve data-driven processes across the entire organization as your company reaches digital maturity.

  1. Personalization

One of the most popular, and certainly the most talked about, use cases for customer data platforms is personalization. Personalization refers to the ability to tailor the digital customer experience for the full customer journey across every channel. This personalization is most commonly visual in the form of look-and-feel or for content tailoring, as content recommendation and offers are contextually added to the experience based on past history and customer behavior. Personalized messaging and interactions are more relevant, timely and effective in translating users into action for better cross-sell and upsell.  

  1. A Unified View of the Customer

The holy grail of data-driven customer centric marketers everywhere is the 360-degree unified view of the customer. The ultimate goal is to know all there is to know about an individual customer, from behavioral data to transactional data, regardless of channel and persistently over time. The customer data platform is designed from ground-up to be a centralized repository for a single record of truth regarding a customer. CDPs ingest and sync customer data from any online or offline source, and unify that data through profile-unification with the help of a unique identifier.

  1. Omnichannel Marketing

The ability to support omnichannel marketing for a superior customer experience is a must-have for any organization, regardless of size or industry. Global retailers whose multichannel efforts are critical to survival were some of the early adopters of customer data platforms, as they need to be able to serve up custom experiences and offers across the globe. Plus, they must stay in compliance with international data privacy mandates like the GDPR, and a CDP is one of the only data management solutions designed to centrally manage all data with appropriate compliance controls and features, like the right to be forgotten.

  1. Data Integration and Management

This will be the primary use case for many companies who are considering adopting a CDP. The ability to collect data from various data-producing channels and platforms, from call center to web to DMPs and CRMs, is a primary feature all enterprise-grade CDPs should offer. The data a CDP ingests can be structured, unstructured or semi-structured, can be stored without modification, or it can be reformatted and unified to be used in data-driven marketing campaigns.

  1. Data Privacy and Governance

The expectations of customers for how a brand manages and stores their data has increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers want permission for you to use your data, and they want to know how it will be used. And regulations like the GDPR and CCPA ensure their wishes will be acknowledged. The good news is customers are happy to approve the use of their data as long as they get something valuable back for it. Since CDPs provide a single source of truth regarding a customer’s data, they are the ideal solution to get and stay in compliance with regulations.

  1. Marketing Automation

While a CDP is not a replacement for a marketing automation system (MAS), it can work in tandem with one to improve the efficacy and efficiency of your marketing operations. Marketing automation can typically make time-consuming activities like lead qualification and campaign creation much less onerous. CDPs provide advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to assist in automating marketing tasks. A CDP enables real-time campaign activation allowing marketers to deliver highly-personalized marketing campaigns across all areas of customer engagement.

Looking Forward

Defining your primary use cases up front will give you the information you need to do proper due diligence when reviewing both a customer data platform as well as it’s supporting vendor. While there are several popular use cases that CDPs are used for, like personalization and data privacy and governance, starting with a pilot use case to sell the software through to your entire organization for buy-in and alignment is critical to success. Customer data platforms are extremely broad in application, so while they are most commonly used for data integration and omnichannel marketing, they can be leveraged for use in dozens of unique applications. It all depends on what your needs are.

Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson is the Founder and CEO of RoC Consulting, a digital consultancy that helps brands establish the optimal balance of content, technology and marketing to achieve their goals.
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