In a world that runs on data, the ability to capture and leverage information can deliver a powerful strategic advantage. But, the challenge for most B2B marketers isn't about having too little data—it's about having too much scattered across siloed systems, platforms, and channels. With so much data available from multiple sources, many companies don't know where to begin. To get the benefit of your data, you have to get it together and get it organized. You need to understand what data you have access to, and you need a way compile, organize and activate it. That's where a Customer Data Platform, or CDP, can be a real game changer.
What is a customer data platform (CDP)?
A CDP is a technology platform used by companies to collect, organize, and analyze their data from various sources. Its primary job is to create unified customer profiles by aggregating the data from different channels and touch points, such as websites, mobile apps, social media, ad platforms and many others.
Isn't that what my CRM does?
A CRM is a powerful tool many companies use to manage customer data. While a CRM is a great for managing interactions with customers and prospects, it's not the same as a Customer Data Platform. A CRM focuses primarily on data related to direct customer touchpoints, such as sales leads and customer support interactions. In most cases the CRM doesn't provide a complete view across different channels or systems.
A CDP, on the other hand, aims to create a unified customer profile by integrating and consolidating data from multiple sources. This can include your CRM, website, mobile apps, point-of-sale systems, e-mail, and other online channels where your audience is interacting, like LinkedIn or Facebook. Its job is to provide a comprehensive view of the customer that can be used to more effectively target existing customers and help reach new prospects.
How does a CDP work?
A CDP imports data from multiple sources designated by you. It does the important work of integrating identifiers from different platforms to create a single actionable source of data. This involves resolving data inconsistencies, deduplicating records, and creating a single, comprehensive view of each customer's attributes and interactions across different touchpoints and channels. This is important work that makes your data more accurate and more actionable. Without it, you have access to more data but no way to know what's what, and who's who.
Data Analysis and Insights
Data can tell a story and help lead you where you need to go. One of the more powerful features of CDPs are their robust analytics capabilities. These enable marketers to analyze the customer data and extract insights. These tools often include features such as data visualization, audience segmentation, and even Artificial Intelligence to help power predictive analytics. Using these capabilities, marketers can explore their newly aggregated data to identify patterns, trends and correlations to help gain a deeper understanding of customer behaviors and preferences—helping them see a more clear path forward.
Segmentation for Personalization
Next comes putting it all to work. With the insights derived from the data analysis, CDPs can be used to create and target customer segments based on specific criteria, such as demographic attributes—or past behaviors like purchase history, browsing behavior or engagement with specific marketing campaigns—all to help identify those most likely to engage. Then, through integration with external email marketing platforms, content management systems and ad platforms, you can target these customer segments with more personalized relevant content, messaging and offers to improve the customer and prospect experience with your brand and increase your chances of building brand affinity and driving sales.
In our post last month, we covered six important strategies for activating first party data. You can check that out here if you missed it.
How to get started
CDPs are powerful tools that enable B2B marketers to harness the power of data to create a more meaningful dialogue with their audience and help transform the way they interact with their brand. Leveraging data in this way sounds great, but getting going can be a daunting task. To make it as easy as possible, start by asking yourself—what are the key things you want your CDP to do? Touch base with your team and ensure their requirements are covered too. Getting everyone on board will be a a lot easier if the system benefits the whole organization.
Then start with a couple of simple use cases so you're not overwhelmed. Maybe your main goal is to boost customer loyalty by personalizing digital interactions? Or perhaps you're more focused on understanding and targeting your best prospects in a new region of the country. Remember, it's all about finding new ways to more effectively engage your market. Embracing these opportunities will help your business evolve, smoothly shift from outdated practices, and open up ongoing possibilities for future growth.
If this CDP overview has piqued your interest and you'd like help turning your customer data into an asset rather than a challenge, we'd love to help. Don’t let your data run wild. Take control, drive personalization, and deliver unmatched value.
Reach out to us today, and let's talk about how to turn your data chaos into an organized strategic advantage!