As RFPs for customer data platforms (CDPs) rise, and venture capital investments continue to pump cash into cloud-based MarTech solutions, the desire and competition in the CDP market has only increased – even amid periods of economic turbulence.
This push for a solution that takes fragmented data across an organization and unifies it into a single view of the customer (SCV) is at least partly fueled by Google’s efforts to deprecate third-party cookies within its browser, Chrome. While marketers now have until 2023 to prepare for a world without third-party cookies and CDP adoption accelerates, it begs the question – what is the organization’s strategic vision for its customer data platform? Where does the return on investment come from?
Making the MarTech Use Case
Consultancies and implementation partners provide the technical expertise to stand up the technology (ingest, unify, and harmonize data sources, data elements, etc.) and generally also provide at least some use cases, assuming the marketers did not already have a CDP in the first place. Even executives are sometimes confused as to how CDPs differ from other technologies in their MarTech stack.
Things can also become technical or legalistic quickly, especially when applying analytics on your customer data, or ensuring data governance policies are followed. Marketers will need a broader skill set to get the most out of their customer data platform to create unique personalized experiences. But oftentimes, marketers are not involved in the implementation of the CDP, which can lead to marketers asking themselves “how and why do I need this?”
Empowering Marketing Teams With Data
Assuming the organization has their first-party data available, cleaned, de-duped, ingested, harmonized, and have a single view of the customer profile readily accessible in their CDP, there are several ways marketers could use this organized information.
1. Uncover untapped opportunities and inspire next-best action
After aggregating everything an organization knows about its customers, including in-store purchases, online purchases, what product pages are looked at the most, and other data assets into a single profile, marketers need insights that are actionable. Low hanging fruit like “next best offer” are a clear use case, but to unlock the CDPs true potential, more advanced analytics and modeling will be required to determine what untapped markets are worth exploring,
2. Improve ad spend and expand into new markets
Lifetime value of not only customers, but also certain products, can help determine where ad spend goes and what products should be promoted. With a single view of the customer, not only does audience segmentation become easier, but finding new markets and customers among for market penetration or cross-sell opportunities to deepen relationships with the brand becomes possible.
3. Orchestrate the customer journey
Mapping the customer journey is only one piece of the puzzle. Marketers can expand on the capabilities that CDPs provide by ensuring consistent testing of different messages to different groups and measuring incremental lift. This would require insight from media buyer and analytics professionals – a cross-functional team that can not only extract value from customer data, but also apply those insights into their marketing programs.
Customer Data Maturity and the CDP Market
If you ask someone from sales, their CDP is real-time and enterprise ready. If you ask a consultant or business practitioner with experience, you will likely receive different answers. In the last two years, the number of tech companies offering CDPs and the acquisition of companies offering CDPs has skyrocketed.
The CDP market is confusing to say the least. Some organizations have expressed displeasure with their CDP, or aren’t sure exactly what a CDP is. The lack of knowledge around what they are and how to best use them is an obstacle that, if overcome, would allow marketers to access a 360-degree view of the customer that would contribute to the company’s bottom line within months.
As new iterations and features are released, the gap between expectations and reality will begin to close. Marketers that begin the learning and implementation process now will have an edge over organizations where data remains fragmented across a customer service center, transactions, social data, etc. – as opposed to a company that has ingested, unified and built customer profiles for better customer experiences.