A customer data platform is a tool for better understanding your clients and serving them the most relevant content. Look at five use cases
Alex Husar, chief technology officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in developing PWAs, Magento migration, and Salesforce development.
Growing user demands create new challenges for businesses. How can you engage consumers and convert them into customers? Many business owners adopt recent technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, and mobile commerce solutions, to ensure they optimize every available touchpoint to reach and engage consumers.
Another asset for digital marketers is customer information. Whether you want to know a client’s age, preferences, or attitude toward your company, you will need to collect and process a wide range of data.
You may gather this data through registrations, email activities, in-store interactions, blogs, and more. Then it may be processed through email automation tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software, real-time analytics, and so on.
But there’s little point in collecting data in a central system without making it easy for teams across your business to access and utilize. A customer data platform (CDP) is the weapon of choice for marketers, analytics, customer service specialists, and everyone who leverages reports in their work.
It uses first-party customer data to employ in marketing activities, increase sales, and grow your business. But how can you leverage a CDP for your business needs?
This guide features five CDP use cases that help streamline marketing activities. But first, let’s look at CDPs, how they work, and the difference between CDP, data management platform (DMP), and CRM.
Screenshot taken on the official Blueshift website
A customer data platform is a piece of software or a system. It unites customer information in a single database from online (websites, mobile apps, and email systems) and offline sources.
A CDP helps you create a single customer view (SCV) to see their experience with the brand. An SCV (or a 360-degree customer view) is the collection of all data about a customer in one place. It allows you to determine a client’s typical behavior and spot similarities and trends across your customer base, helping to predict how customers behave on your website, their likes, preferences, and interests, the best strategies to convert the maximum number of prospects into buyers, and much more.
As a result, a comprehensive CDP can give highly valuable insights into customer loyalty, customer retention, acquisition, conversions, and average order value, to name a few.
A CDP differs from a CRM, data management, or marketing automation platform, as outlined by the definitions below
CRMs track the history of customer interactions with the sales and support teams. They focus on transactions and sales-focused information and don’t gather data from other sources and unknown users in real-time.
Cookie-based DMPs don’t generate a client profile, and integrations are typically limited to advertising (not the whole customer journey). DMPs deal with third-party data, while integrating first-party data is restricted.
CDPs rely on first-party data. It’s a single database creating customer profiles with transparent reports. There are various sources of these known and anonymous consumer data, and a CDP unites everything under one umbrella.
CDPs provide native (out-of-the-box) connections, so marketers can collect, segment, and orchestrate data without IT or developers’ involvement. Finally, CDPs can integrate data with any external source or platform, including CRM, POS, mobile, transactional, Internet, email, and marketing automation.
The first way of using a CDP for your business is to unify data. It involves compiling a 360° perspective of your client from all the fragmented data chunks across systems and teams.
Sounds daunting? A CDP can do this for you and integrate seamlessly with other marketing platforms to extract data (via APIs or native and third-party integration tools). These could be CRMs, analytics platforms, email autoresponders, or other marketing automation software.
After creating these integrations with all of the marketing systems your business uses, the CDP should become the hub for all of your incoming customer data. Once new information gets into the CDP, the platform automatically updates customer profiles and reflects those changes across all your other systems in real-time, saving your teams from spending time and effort updating everything separately.
Use case: Blueshift is a CDP, presenting customer data in individual profiles for identifiable and anonymous users. You can find such information as name, email address, date of birth, gender, location, etc. Everything is flexible and customizable to your needs.
Screenshot taken on the official Blueshift website
So, you’ve gathered and unified all data, as well as ideally deleting duplicate data or inactive clients. What’s next?
You can customize the buyer’s journey by linking a CDP to a customization engine via APIs. The customization engine can surface the most relevant content for each client using data from the CDP. For example, the information about the most popular categories, visited pages, time spent on a page, and past purchases can be a source for creating “You may also like” sections.
The CDP insights can also form targeted marketing campaigns at the individual level, such as promotions based on clicks, views, or location. For example, imagine one of your local stores is planning an event. You can easily send invitations to clients from nearby locations if you know their addresses.
The baby-walz online store used its CDP to send tailored emails based on their customers’ pregnancy stage. It presented products according to each mother’s current situation and increased email open rates by 53.8%.
How does the store get the information? It’s a part of the opt-in process. You don’t just enter the name and email address, but insert the child’s name and date of birth to receive the most relevant tips and suggestions.
Screenshot taken on the official baby-walz website
A CDP unifies data from online and offline channels, such as your physical store, to help build a complete profile of your clients.
Let’s assume a client clicks through from an email newsletter to browse products on the website. Once they add something to the cart but close the website without paying, you can trigger an email to reengage them.
Using a customer data platform, you can send a targeted message to these individuals using the right channel. It can also tell you what content you shouldn’t deliver to a customer.
You can also analyze customer behavior at your point of sale. If they purchased a particular item, such as a swimsuit, exclude this item from your next social media ad campaign. Instead, you can display related products, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, or towels.
Let’s look at the Optimove CDP interface in the screenshot below. The tool lets you create a marketing plan in the form of a calendar, representing customer target groups in different rows. The colors reflect communication channels.
Screenshot taken on the official Optimove website
A CDP is more than just a database to store customer information. Its value lies in the insights you can gain from it to plan your marketing campaigns. You can discover customers with the best metrics, such as loyalty, lifetime value, and average order value, and use analytics to learn what influences their choices.
For example, some may respond better to discounts. Others will react to related products shown alongside the cart to support up/cross-selling. That’s how insights can lay the foundation of your campaigns and maximize audience engagement.
CDPs contain advanced features and rely on machine learning to predict client behavior. They may calculate the chances of purchase, churn, visits, and email open rates.
Below are the options for predictive analysis from Exponea CDP. You may opt for email prediction to establish the best time for sending your messages based on the subscriber’s behavior. The purchase prediction function can determine the most popular time for placing orders and how likely customers are to do it.
Screenshot taken on the official Exponea YouTube channel
CDP information can assist you in dividing the audience into groups based on predefined criteria. This segmentation can boost sales because you offer a particular product and its features by aligning a particular product and its features to groups most likely to want it.
Remember the rule, “Not everything to everyone”. You may also utilize the segment to build a lookalike audience (groups with shared characteristics) to reach out to people with similar interests.
Suppose you sell kitchenware. You may divide prospects into the following groups:
Now, these groups will only receive the message most appropriate for their needs and interests. If you pick the strategy wisely for each group, you can convert more customers.
Segmentation ensures better targeting of your marketing ads on platforms like Google and Facebook. Use an exported audience segment in a social media campaign. Then you can analyze the performance of the ads to optimize their components, such as headlines, calls to action, colors, and pictures.
Let’s take the Segment CDP service as an example. Here’s how the segments in this tool look. You can select cart abandoners and configure email campaigns for those who added products to their carts within seven days or another period.
Screenshot taken on the official Segment YouTube channel
Information is king in any business. KPIs, website metrics, and customer data demonstrate the most successful strategies or weak points to improve. And it’s never been easier to collect rich information for your marketing teams than now.
How can you operate and manage large data arrays? Create customer profiles to know their specific needs.
Information should be easily accessible, usable, and unified. The better it’s organized, the more precise campaigns you can launch. A CDP can perform all of these functions.
What CDPs for an online store? The tool allows you to access and exchange data for making more accurate conclusions and saving energy.Personalized offers, omnichannel experience, integrated online and offline stores, etc. These benefits improve the customer experience and inspire prospects to buy more.
Alex Husar, chief technology officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in developing PWAs, Magento migration, and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.