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CDPs: A Cure for the Holiday Blues

Authored by James Meyers

Ah, the holidays! For marketers, it is the most stressful time of the year. As a former industry analyst, I advised hundreds of marketing organizations and realized how many of them feel overwhelmed at prepping for the tsunami of holiday demand.

It only makes sense. The stakes are high since holiday results can make or break a brand’s annual performance. At the same time, deadlines are non-negotiable. You can’t exactly launch a Black Friday campaign whenever your company has finished prepping.

Again and again, I’ve seen teams go into overdrive, planning personalized data-driven campaigns. But when campaigns go out the door, they’ve been forced to jettison their ideals because they don’t have the data and analytics resources to execute them. And so they revert to far more generic, spray-and-pray messaging, just so they can get campaigns out the door on time.

So what’s holding marketing teams back? In my experience, there are three critical obstacles:

  • Disparate systems & disconnected data. If you could combine browsing, demographic, and purchase data, you could mine it for affinities and provide compelling offers to each customer. Unfortunately, this kind of rich, multi-source customer profile data is not available. And so, marketers are forced to queue up for scarce IT and analytics resources instead.
  • Lack of IT & analytics resources. IT and analytics resources are already busy with other urgent holiday-related tasks, from ensuring system reliability to forecasting holiday sales. They have little bandwidth left over for compiling customer data and building audience lists.
  • Manual processes & missed hand-offs. Campaign data requests already require multiple hand-offs as marketers iterate on their target audience criteria. But even after marketers have gotten their audience lists, they must then coordinate with multiple team members who actually execute the campaigns—e.g., marketing operations who integrate the campaign data into execution systems for individual channels.

CDPs: The Rx for Holiday Stress

Instead of managing hand-offs and waiting in queues, marketers should be able to act fast and with insight, given the high stakes and tight deadlines of the holiday season. And that’s exactly what CDPs are designed to do.

They put unified customer data—plus predictive insights that grow out of that data—directly into the hands of marketers, so that they can build insight-driven campaigns on the fly. And rather than having to manually reach out to channel partners, a CDP worthy of the name acts as a centralized brain that can execute campaigns across any channel.

To make it more compelling, here are some of the results an ActionIQ customer received from our platform.

More agility
Before deploying ActionIQ, it took upwards of 45 minutes for one of our clients to calculate the size of a segment. Now it takes them less than 45 seconds. That’s 60X faster. Better yet, they now have the access to iterate their audience criteria as many times as they want— without having to rely on IT.

More personalization
At the same time, they are able to build much smarter campaigns. They now leverage 36 combined data sets, versus 20 disparate ones before. As a result, they have approximately 100 distinct audiences with which to build out their holiday campaigns.

More accuracy
Best of all, those 100+ audiences are constantly refreshed based on near-real-time customer behaviors. Before, the brand relied on static audiences built on a one-off basis by IT/analytics teams. Sure, they could reuse those audiences (they had 5,000 of them!), but the lists were becoming less and less accurate over time.


We understand it may be too late for a CDP to take away your 2019 holiday blues. But consider this: our clients typically get ActionIQ’s platform up and running in six to eight weeks. So if you want to arrive at the holiday post-mortem analysis with a plan for more agile, more personalized campaigns—and a less stressful 2020 holiday season—feel free to reach out to one of our experts and schedule a time to learn more.

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