Why you need a customer data platform

April 20, 2015 | By

Why You Need A Customer Data Platform

Eighty-four percent. 84%. More than eight in ten.

That’s the number of marketers who say they have a “weak” or “no” capability when it comes to distributing profile store data to different marketing technology vendors according to a just-published study by Infogroup. This, while according to Forrester, 68% of US and UK consumers expect the information they give an organization in one place to be available in another. What the heck marketers? Is it really that hard to coordinate your data?

 

To be fair – yeah, it is really challenging. Customer data integration is such a multi-faceted problem: organizational, strategic, procedural, legal, and technological. And the average marketer is facing an uphill battle when s/he tries to tackle the issue of integrated data precisely because of how much is required to tackle the various hurdles involved – much of which is outside of marketing. Even within the marketing department, more than half of marketers report using 21+ tech vendors in their stacks and neither CMOs nor CIOs are doing an especially good job of turning customer data into actionable insights. And yet, your customers aren’t going to wait for you to get the house in order to individualize their experiences and engage with them on their terms. So, without trying to boil the ocean, what’s a digital marketer to do?

On the technical side, enter: customer data platforms or CDPs. A category coined by David Raab in 2013 and added to Scott Brinker’s famous marketing tech landscape image in 2015, CDPs, to borrow from Brinker, are:

“Massive switchboards of data…They’re able to pull data from many different sources, in high volume, into a centralized repository. Here they correlate and connect the dots, striving to offer a more complete view of customers…A marketer with a CDP may more easily bridge multiple marketing clouds within their organization. Or more easily switch from one to another. Or even “build their own” marketing cloud, so to speak, by using a CDP to coordinate best-of-breed products from across the landscape.”

In our view, a CDP like BlueConic helps a marketer do three things:

  • Connect the disparate parts of the marketing stack. While using more than 21 different vendors for different tech needs is problematic – to put it lightly – for a lot of reasons, the customer data issues are flat out detrimental to the business. It is inefficient at best to impossible at worst to market to twenty different versions of the same person if you don’t have a mechanism to share data about that individual wherever it is needed. Rather than assigning one system – be it the CRM or other database – to house a supposed “single source of truth”, a CDP creates a single flow of truth, where all data coming from various sources is combined and served out when and where it’s needed by your best-of-breed tools and the channels they support. As an example, the Boston Globe Media Group leverages BlueConic to create a single profile that all of its different websites and digital properties share so they better understand who consumes different types of BCMG content.
  • Know the customers who are interacting with the brand online. Your customers want you to recognize them everywhere they engage, so as a marketer you – and the technology you rely on – must have access to the same, consistent profile in real time, at all times. For instance, working with BlueConic, Dutch football powerhouse Ajax generated 30% more turnover from ticket sales compared to the previous year, thanks to the personally relevant messages they sent to fans, based on profiles they built up over multiple properties including their website and Facebook page.
  • Drive better outcomes through individualized experiences. If we’re being honest, the fact that customers are asking for brands to customize engagement is really doing marketers a favor, because these types of tailored interactions are so much more effective than those that aren’t. ANWB created personalized cross-sell and upsell campaigns with BlueConic and has been able to increase its conversion rates by 8x, from an unchanged 4% to more than 30%. Without the ability to capture that first party data, segment it accordingly, and then trigger interactions accordingly, ANWB would still be stuck at that meager 4% conversion. And that’s real money left on the table.

To learn more about CDPs, join our webinar on Thursday April 30th at 1pm EST.

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