Like any transformative new technology, the world is still trying to wrap its mind around the concept of customer data platforms (CDP). To help separate the hype from the chaff, CMSWire hosted a Tweet Jam last month on CDPs and the promise of omnichannel choreography.
The wide-ranging digital discussion attracted an impressive range of thought leaders, industry analysts, solution providers and marketing practitioners. To help build clarity and consensus, CMSWire moderators posed six questions to the group. Here are those questions—plus a summary of ActionIQ’s take.
Q1: Define customer data platforms. What do they need to have to be a “true” CDP?
A “true” CDP should democratize insights and empower marketers through data unification, analytics activation and cross-channel customer journey optimization, all while providing an ability to measure incremental lift across all digital and offline channels.
To achieve these objectives, an enterprise CDP must first be able to quickly connect to a huge variety of source systems, including historical data—enterprise warehouses, data lakes, and marketing clouds—with all the scale and complexity that entails. In doing so, they must also ensure enterprise-grade security and governance.
Q2: One of the selling points of CDPs is that it is managed by marketing. Does that: a) limit its uses, and b) effectively create another internal silo?
First, a CDP is purpose-built to help marketing drive innovation, and certainly doesn’t limit the business in any way. Rather, it enables marketing to converse with the data and execute campaigns at the speed of thought, iterating and testing in real time, and delivering on the promise of true 1-1 personalization.
Nor does a CDP create new internal silos. On the contrary, it breaks down silos between marketing teams and the customer data as well as marketing and execution channels.
Q3: What can companies do with a CDP that they can’t do with other systems?
A true enterprise CDP allows marketers to ask questions and get answers in a matter of seconds based on all relevant historical customer data—online, offline, behavioral, and demographic. As a result, marketers can design and deploy new marketing campaigns in hours, not days or months, increasing productivity 10x without the need for coding expertise.
An enterprise CDP can also demonstrate the value of marketing and CRM by accurately measuring lift and ROI within and across channels and campaigns. Vitally, it measures incremental revenue, not just views or clicks.
Q4: How can a business assess if it needs a CDP or not?
Are you struggling to activate your vision for a single voice of the customer? Are you only leveraging one percent of your first-party data? Are you unable to deliver consistent messages across all touchpoints? If so, then an enterprise CDP can be the answer.
The good news is, a CDP can hugely and immediately benefit any organization, irrespective of data or infrastructure maturity levels.
Q5: Where do CDPs fit in terms of regulations like the GDPR and California’s privacy law?
Recent regulations have to do with third-party data, or data collected from a multitude of outside sources, and how that data is shared with other companies. By contrast, CDPs leverage first-party data, which is collected directly from the customer.
It should also be noted that, as a unified customer data and channel activation layer for an organization, a CDP makes compliance with GDPR and other privacy laws and policies significantly more streamlined and manageable.
Q6: Are we any better at gaining a single view of the customer than we were five years ago?
The evolution toward a single view of customer is a multi-step process—gathering data, organizing and linking that data for marketing processes, and finally delivering the rich single view of customers to business users, so they can interact with, analyze and take action with on that data. Technologically, we are at a point where it is relatively easy to gather and organize data from disparate systems. However, organizations still struggle to make the data available to non-technical users so they can interact with it and take action accordingly.
This is exactly the challenge that CDPs are tackling. A true enterprise CDP should not only enable the 360-degree customer view, but activate it across all channels, ensuring you’re communicating on a 1:1 basis.
To understand gaps in your current martech capabilities and how an enterprise CDP like ActionIQ fills them, check out Enterprise Customer Data Platforms: A Buyer’s Guide for Marketing & Analytics Teams.