Key features of the best customer data platforms
Customer Data Platform Software
What is a customer data platform?
A common question that often arises is simple: “What is a customer data platform?” To put it in basic terms, a customer data platform (CDP) is a software solution that can allow businesses to create one centralized location where many people within an organization may access the information they need. CDP can clean data taken from various sources – such as social media channels, paid advertising and mobile devices – by removing duplicates. It can then put the data together to create a single customer profile.
Customer data platforms can be used to collect, unify and manage customer data, control the flow of data between marketing systems and manage consent, and activate customer data that can be used across marketing platforms and channels.
When it comes to customer data platform features, CDP can gather data from a wide range of sources to generate a single, unified customer profile database. This profile can be enriched with product data matching. CDP may also be flexible in that it may be used with other useful marketing tools.
CDP can be a reliable data source to serve different marketing purposes and can provide useful data for campaign management, market analysis, and business intelligence. The data could even make recommendations on the best next step that companies should take to ensure that customers are interacting.
CDPs have different features and functionalities. Before investing in a CDP, you should first understand customer data platform architecture to determine the right CDP that would match the scope and scale of your business.
A good CDP structure could be scalable and can adapt to the increasing company data volume. Using CDP can help companies determine a customer’s lifetime value and determine their return on investment at the single customer level.
Beyond that, a CDP can organize data from multiple systems and sources into a single platform to help retailers gain insights on their business performance. It could also assist companies in collecting and enriching fragmented data sources into a single customer view and help them create a more meaningful experience for their customers.
CDP vs DMP
Customer data platform (CDP) and data management platform (DMP) may be easy to confuse with each other. Both platforms can store and analyze large data sets and can activate data for digital marketing purposes. However, it is the data that each platform uses that could make them easier to tell apart.
The main difference between CDP vs DMP is the data source. CPD focuses on first-party data, or the information collected by a company directly from its audience or customers. This data could come from both online and offline sources such as company websites, customer relationship management platforms, mobile apps, social media or surveys.
DMP collects purchased second-party data, such as leads bought from funnels, and third-party data which are cookie-based, or anonymous consumer data collected from various websites or platforms.
CDP may assist marketers in understanding customer behavior and equip them to provide better customer experiences – such as through personalization, product distribution, and customer assistance – throughout the entire customer journey.
DMP collects anonymous customer data and sends data to ad tech platforms, which subsequently send a message to potential customers via various digital channels. DMP may collect, organize, and classify data on audiences and campaigns from a variety of sources. This can help marketers in fine-tuning their advertising campaigns to ensure that they may connect with their intended audiences.
Customer data platform examples
One important question that you might ask is, “How does a customer data platform work?” There are some customer data platform examples that could serve as reference guides.
Customer data platform is essentially a flexible way of collecting data from various sources into a single platform. CDP could retain the original format of the data collected and does not aggregate the data within a platform the way a DMP might. Also, CDP data can be stored indefinitely, and data pulled from different sources could be combined into one record to create a single customer profile. This data can then be distributed to pre-built systems such as Adobe or Google, and internal platforms used by businesses.
A CDP can help retailers understand their customers better and create a more memorable customer experience. A CDP can also integrate data into a single customer view, where marketers can see unified customer profiles containing a summary of products purchased, loyalty, and campaigns engagement data. Finally, a CDP could make use of an AI-powered predictive analytics function that can predict lifetime value while studying customers’ buying and engagement behavior.
Customer data platform vs CRM
Due to their overlapping functions, it can be confusing to differentiate DMP vs CDP vs CRM. In general, customer relations management, or CRM, primarily focuses on transaction data which can have limited usage and integration. Transaction data sets are typically managed by IT professionals and do not track anonymous data.
DMP is composed of structured data sets that can be used for reporting, analysis and media activation. Structured databases are analyzed by a business intelligence team or a data scientist. Companies can gather customer insights from the analyzed data and can activate audiences for advertising purposes. While DMP is mainly used in advertising ecosystems and acquisition campaigns, CMP can use data for sales, advertising and many others.
One difference between customer data platform vs CRM is that CRM organizes and manages customer-facing interactions, while CDPs gather customer behavior data with a particular product or service. Another is that CRM is designed mainly for customer-facing employees such as salespeople and customer service representatives who interact with customers, while CDP is for non-customer-facing functions such as marketing, engineering or product development which can impact a customer’s experience. CDP, on the other hand, can be used to make business decisions and resolutions to certain issues and can help companies organize their data easily.
When it comes to data acquisition, CRM data such as sales notes is usually collected manually, and the data is mainly for CRM use only. Usually, salespeople, service and marketing teams update data directly into the CRM. Meanwhile, CDP data is gathered automatically through mobile devices, software apps, and the web.
Customer data platform companies
Companies may benefit from customer data platform training to help improve their CDP knowledge. A CDP training course can help companies get a general overview of what a CDP is, its core functionalities as well as its essential features as they relate to data security, privacy and compliance. A training course can also help explain about the different types and formats of data collected, CDP’s architecture and integrations, how it unifies and analyzes data, and how users can activate data for marketing purposes.
It is important to note that not all CDPs are built the same. Some CDPs are focused on gathering customer data, linking data to customer identities, and storing data in a database. Others may perform data assembly and conduct data analytics. Some CDP systems are designed for various customer treatments such as personalized messages and marketing campaigns. Lastly, there are CDPs that specialize in data assembly, analytics, customer treatments and delivery.
There are many customer data platform companies that enterprises may choose to work with based on their specific business needs and requirements. Some of the leading CDP vendors to consider include SAP and Salesforce.
In choosing a CDP company, businesses should consider the total cost of ownership as well as “hidden costs.” Also, some CDP companies may focus only on a single type of CDP, or may have similar features but have disparate price points. Other CDP companies may have a stale interface and limited split testing options for optimizing message and content. More importantly, it is important for companies to establish a long-term partnership with their chosen CDP vendor.
When searching for a CDP company, many businesses may seek out strong retail data analytics and intelligence capabilities. A CDP solution can help companies gain valuable insights and potentially reduce risks while also possibly increasing profit and boosting overall performance.
Customer data platform tools
Customer data platform tools can help companies differentiate their brands from other competitors, target customers, and improve their customer service. Obtaining a 360-degree overview of customer information can help businesses predict their customers’ buying habits and provide a personalized customer experience to encourage brand retention.
Knowing how to build a customer data platform can help companies facilitate real-time customer engagement and provide their customers with targeted offerings.
In selecting a CDP, you might first consider the company’s goals and desired outcomes. This will help you select the right CDP vendor that suits your requirements and to determine what kind of CDP tools will be most useful for you and your team. Since many different people will likely make use of the CDP, it would also be helpful to get input from team members who will most likely benefit directly from quality features. You might also define customer data platform use cases, or how a CDP could potentially be used within your business.
Types of customer data platforms
There are various types of customer data platforms and different customer data platform requirements to take into account. A B2C (business-to-consumer) CDP can help companies collect and interpret customer data to create a more personalized customer experience. A B2C customer data platform can manage fragmented data, track customer behavior, and make intelligent recommendations in real time. Generally, a B2C customer data platform is more focused on individual customer engagement.
On the other hand, a B2B customer data platform should be able to address the data challenges faced by marketing and sales teams and create a unified data source for the entire business. A B2B customer data platform could also provide business intelligent solutions.