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Customer Data Platforms: Your Ultimate Guide


Talk to any marketing expert, and most of them will tell you that in this day and age, there are more customer data available than at any other time in modern history. Even though this is a fantastic opportunity, it can also be extremely painful as you have to navigate ancient systems for managing and extracting precious data. The massive amounts of data can make spotting and using the correct data feel heartbreakingly overwhelming. 

There are endless possibilities for connecting with customers and collecting valuable data: websites, social media channels, digital applications, e-commerce, face-to-face, call centers, and many more. The online world has made it possible to gather incredible amounts of customer-related knowledge — including habits, interests, and behaviors — but today’s data landscape makes it almost impossible to devise an actionable personalized experience. 

Instead of making it easier to analyze, the tons of data often make customer behavior even murkier to marketers. Gathering usable information is complicated even further when a big chunk of the data is controlled by third parties, which makes it hard to access for marketers who aren’t technically adept. Extracting even one customer profile can mean finding and reconciling data points from various sources, which is almost impossible to scale. 

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it’s called the ‘Customer Data Platform’ (CDP)

What Is A Customer Data Platform?

A Customer Data Platform makes the customer data you need readily available when you need it to activate your customers at the right time. It brings together four crucial capabilities: 

  1. Data Collection
  2. Segmentation
  3. Profile Unification
  4. Campaign Orchestration

What Does A Customer Data Platform Do?

Marketing is all about relationships between businesses and customers. The more people trust and enjoy a product or service, the easier it is to build a loyal customer base. This, however, leaves you, the marketer, with a dilemma: How can you establish these relationships of trust at such a scale as to keep growing your business while also keeping up with the competition? 

The secret lies in your data. From the first interaction to the housing and use of the data, all the way to a solid and lasting customer relationship, data is the key to sweet success. 

But how can you sustainably collect and utilize valuable customer data? Technology can help you a great deal, and your best option is CDP. 

In this article, we will go through all you need to know about Customer Data Platforms to become an expert in the field and elevate your business to new heights, starting with…

The Amazing Benefits Of CDP

The benefits of Customer Data Platforms are many, but here are the most important ones:

1. Get A Birdseye Customer View

Customer Data Platforms are made to combine data from various sources to craft a uniform customer view. This way, you can better understand your target group’s interests, habits, and behavior.

2. Gain Transparency In Your Marketing Operations

Often, it’s hard to know the actual costs and return of your marketing operations.

A Customer Data Platform gives you a clear view of your spending and how well your campaigns and channels are performing. When it comes to gaining transparency in your marketing operations, CDP is a true lifesaver.

3. Make Better Decisions With The Help Of Precious Insights

With CDP, you can make much wiser decisions as you collect, analyze and act on your customer data. Also, your business can make much quicker decisions, with both customers and in regards to your market niche.

4. Be Free To Focus On What You Do Best

These days, many analysts and marketers dedicate a lot of precious time to collecting and studying data. With CDP, you can automate this process and receive it in real-time, so you can focus on customer satisfaction and driving revenue.

5. Make Your Customers Happy

By being able to monitor your customers from all angles, you can design a unified experience for them. These days, we use more devices and channels than ever before, and naturally, we expect the experience to be the best it can be. This is made possible by Customer Data Platforms.

6. Campaign Optimization

CDP is the best path to gaining a deeper understanding of the most important marketing techniques. With it, you also receive information about how well your company can handle your customers’ needs. 

Customer Data Platforms help you access business insights by injecting relevant data into your campaigns. It also enables you to improve your future promotion constantly.

CDP automatically gathers the relevant data to provide the best possible customer journey while providing the smoothest interaction between the brand and the customer.

7. Discover Many New Segments

Your business needs to divide your target audience into segments. When segmentation is performed, it takes into account some factors like age, income, interaction with your brand, and more. 

A Customer Data Platform can help you find new segments, and all the information is saved inside it beforehand.

8. Reduced Management Costs

CDPs help cut costs since the data is presented within the platform. Also, all precious information is kept in one single location. Paying for the cloud won’t be necessary again. 

With all your data in one location, following the guidelines become a piece of cake. You can also give anonymity to your contact list to ensure maximum protection. 

Nowadays, people expect their interactions with brands to be personalized. However, in the digital business world, data leaks can occur. Thankfully, by using data from a single platform, you can keep an eye on the data so it doesn’t risk getting stolen. 

9. Long-Term Earnings

A Customer Data Platform can help you solve pressing problems swiftly. Every campaign is improved during the previous trial, and errors are eliminated in the process. This allows you to run a more economical operation and plan better for long-term earnings.

10. Boosted Acquisition Success 

Spot the best leads and high-end customer segments. For instance, a media business may want to seek out new, high-potential subscribers and give relevant customer data to its advertiser network. This way, it can help the process of placing more targeted advertisements.

11. Increased Engagement 

CDP helps you increase the customer life cycle, which will also naturally boost retention, upsell and cross-sell. For example, suppose you’re in retail. In that case, you may want to analyze your top-performing products and the likelihood of them leading to more purchases and pinpoint and promote complimentary items that the customers often buy in combination with other products. 

12. Build Advocates, Nurture Repeat Buyers, And Create Constant Movement Down The Funnel

Segmentation analytics done by a leisure company can, for example, help reveal how they could provide better service to long-term customers or pinpoint the ones at risk of churn without intervention and take the necessary steps to reach out to them before they’re gone for good.

13. Marketing Efforts Focused On The Hottest Leads. Saving By Removing Unlikely To Convert Prospects

For retail businesses that post direct mail catalogs, a robust database, and a clear view of customer behaviors, will ensure that the most valuable mailings go to the best prospects while boosting conversion rates. 

14. Elevate Marketing Efficiency Through Personalized And Precisely-Targeted Communications

Full transactional and behavioral history access in the Customer Data Platform lets businesses pinpoint patterns in purchasing journeys, so they can adjust communications with more personalized content and experience that increase the chance for a conversion.

15. Deliver The Right Message, At The Best Time Possible

An airline agency that uses a Customer Data Platform with integrated real-time marketing features can send notifications for customers who have abandoned their cart by not completing their ticket purchase but also take advantage of both online and offline data to push fresh offers and recommendations. Of course, this all leads to a substantial increase in revenue. 

16. Drive Lifetime Value And Satisfaction By Creating Cross-Channel Customer Experiences

Customer Data Platforms help businesses create an all-encompassing customer journey ecosystem, where responses from one channel can influence another and communications can be maintained between customer touchpoints.

CDP Categories

For maximal structure and clarity, customer data is separated into four categories. 

Basic Data

Basic data is vital in terms of your relationship with customers. Most of the basic CRM data includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Demographics
  • Income
  • Industry
  • Revenue

Once aggregated to a centralized platform, basic data produces the basis for segmentation.

Interaction Data

Also known as engagement data, interaction data covers a big chunk of the customer/business relationship touchpoints. It helps gain precious information about the customer journey. For example, marketing experts use interaction data to monitor how effective and profitable a campaign is and how easy it is for customers to purchase a product or service.

Behavioral Data

As the name suggests, behavioral data provides insights into the customer’s behavior. This is crucially important for marketing, and that is why every major business stores behavioral data that helps them make better decisions when it comes to product creation and customer engagement. 

Attitudinal Data

Last but not least, attitudinal data gives marketers an in-depth understanding of what customers think about a product or service. Attidual data gives marketers a deeper understanding of their customers’ thinking processes. However, the issue with this type of data is that some people are louder in expressing their views than others, which is why proactive and consistent data collection is crucial. 

Different Types of CDPs

A recent CDP Benchmark report, authored by the Winterberry Group, describes different segments of Customer Data Platform vendors in the following ways:

Basic CDP

Basic CDPs are great for collecting data from source systems, which include emerging data feeds. To ingest data, they use a mix of integrations — API, SDK, and tag management.

Typically, they support customer segmentation, offer customer profile management, and provide unified customer profiles across systems.

Analytics-Based CDP

Analytics-based, Customer Data Platforms provide integration and profile management, data ingestion, as well as analytical applications, which include predictive modeling and segmentation, among other things. 

Such systems will frequently push customer segments to campaign management tools, marketing automation, or other providers to make the data active. 

Application-Based CDP

Application-based Customer Data Platforms provide integration and profile management, data ingestion, as well as customer engagement applications like journey mapping, activation tools, and marketing automation tools for inbound and outbound communications, predictive recommendations, and message personalization. 

These types of Customer Data Platforms are primarily rooted in marketing automation, campaign management solutions, or online personalization, where unified data is the key to maximal performance. 

Marketing Clouds

Lately, marketing has become increasingly connected to Customer Data Platforms to capitalize on CDPs with their customers, who are having a hard time using a unified data set across the many elements of their suite of products. 

This has been accomplished by integrating various acquired solutions, most of which are tightly focused on customer engagement, to create the ultimate solution for marketers. 

Business To Business Customer Data Platforms

These types of Customer Data Platforms have, to a large degree, emerged from ABM platforms, and deal mainly with digital advertising to support an ABM outbound strategy with multiple channels. 

B2B companies have also adopted many other Customer Data Platform solutions, as they now understand the need for unified data to enable longer buying cycles while also appreciating the various use cases beyond ABM advertising. 

How to Choose the Best Customer Data Platform?

Choosing a CDP suited to your specific needs isn’t an easy task. There are many options to explore, and the process should be taken seriously. 

In the following sections, we will cover the best methods you can use to pick a CDP that’s right for your business. 

1. Assembling The Purchasing Team

Although you are the boss, you may need to include shareholders. And since you will be dealing with Customer Data from various departments, you should strive for uniformity. You will provide the best possible customer experience with the help of customer data-handling tools.

2. Pinpointing Your Biggest Challenges

If you want to be sure that a Customer Data Platform will be the best choice for your needs, think of the system you want to use. Define your biggest challenges beforehand, as this will help you find the best solutions faster. 

They can include:

  • Decrease abandonment rates
  • Identify the top customers
  • Boost engagement with royalty programs

Think about what you want to accomplish with a Customer Data Platform and ask your stakeholders about their opinions.

3. Knowing Your Integrations

List all the tools integrated with your software of choice — it will greatly help you when interacting with customers. 

For example, CRM software allows for chat services in real-time. Most businesses use some of the following tools:  

Some systems like CRM allow real-time chat services. Most businesses have the following:

  • CRMs
  • Business intelligence tools
  • Google Analytics

Most Customer Data Platforms offer these services. They gather data from numerous places and store it in one location. These tools help businesses in many ways, but the type you choose will largely depend on the needs of your business. 

And while that is undoubtedly the case, the industry is undergoing constant changes, making running a business even more challenging, and how you do data collection will directly affect how people see your business.

There are, however, a few other things you should aim for when choosing CDPs:

  • Having precise identity resolutions. You should aim for a Customer Data Platform that can unify all customer identities. A CDP must also have a single customer view, as the software would be of little use without it. 
  • A wide net of data integrations. The right CDP will give you the tech you need to put everything you need under one umbrella. Your Customer Data Platform should allow customer data ingestion. It is also active any time it’s held and whenever you need to access data while also allowing for loops.
  • Segmentation. Your software of choice should allow for in-depth personalization. The point is to create custom audiences on your data points. Your customer base naturally uses traditional channels such as social media and emails, which come with in-depth linking. Seamless transitions between programs are the main point here. 

Why a No-Code User Interface is Important

With time, the Single Customer View (seen by many as a ‘marketing database’) became associated with timely, complicated, and expensive data services projects that demand a lot of resources from IT or a never-ending reliance on a database services solution to ensure database maintenance. 

In essence, the SCV has similar benefits to that of a CDP. Still, suppose a user interface is non-existent. In that case, marketers cannot access the database, so they would usually need a campaign management tool to connect to the database and take advantage of it. 

Contrastingly, a CDP falls more into the product rather than service category. You are spending your resources on a single marketing solution instead of paying the day rates of an agency to create an SCV. It provides less tech-savvy users the tools they need to perform the same functions with fewer complications, much more control, and higher efficiency, all for less money. 

Hence, the no-code Customer Data Platform user interface is a vital element for a successful CDP. However, if you are someone that pays attention to the Customer Data Platform market, you may notice that many tools are unable to provide such a no-code user interface. Still, they label the activation features of their tech as Customer Data Platform functionality. All this without offering the flexibility to control the underlying data and the way it joins together. 


As customer expectations grow for excellent online experiences and data protection, Customer Data Platforms will soon become the go-to solution for digital businesses of various industries.  

As we enter a new technological era of marketing data handling, there has never been a better time to jump on the Customer Data Platform ship to avoid information gathering gaps as support for third-party cookies rides off into the sunset. 

Making such a sizeable switch can seem like a challenging task, but the benefits of integrating a streamlined marketing program will be more than worth it. With CDP, marketers can spend less time handling massive amounts of data and more time focusing on what’s most important — customer relationships. 

Your tech employees will spend less time on market support, which will allow them to focus on more pressing matters. Improved customer relationships, aided by smooth transactions and data transparency, will do wonders when it comes to your Return On Investment (ROI). — A One-Stop CDP Solution

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