Customer Data & Analytics Blog

Features CIOs should expect in a customer data platform

Janet Wagner | 2 minute read


Most enterprises have implemented automation tools in many areas of business including marketing, sales, and data management. And many CIOs are aware of customer data platforms (CDPs) as essential intelligence tools for marketers to activate campaigns towards achieving greater revenue opportunities. In fact, the CDP Institute estimates that CDPs are deployed at more than 2,500 companies, and the CDP industry will reach $1 billion in total revenue by 2019.

So why should CIOs consider a CDP a must-have marketing tool? This blog post highlights several key features that CIOs should expect in a customer data platform, features CIOs (and marketers) should not go without.

Self-learning for analytics

Analytics is a crucial part of marketing because it helps marketing teams understand customer demographics, predict customer purchasing patterns, and prevent churn. Self-learning is a crucial capability because it allows a CDP to enable cognitive insights and recommendations which can be incorporated into existing BI platforms and Martech solutions. Some CDP platform providers use machine learning along with artificial intelligence (AI) to enable their platforms to be self-learning and to automate many of the processes needed for analytics. Domain-specific feature engineering should accompany self-learning capabilities.

Easy integration with marketing platforms

A CDP must be easy to integrate with existing marketing tools. Ideally, a CDP will include a robust API and pre-built integrations that allow customer data to be pushed to and pulled from existing marketing platforms. A CDP should allow organizations to add new tools to its marketing technology stack easily. And when a marketing tool becomes ineffective or is experimental, the CDP should allow for easy removal.

Most CDPs include a data analytics dashboard for business users who may have limited technical skills. The dashboard should allow business users to build many types of cohorts such as customer lifetime value (CLTV), propensity to churn, and demographics. Once the cohorts have been chosen, the CDP should allow cohort data to be exported to third-party marketing tools like Marketo and Salesforce for use in targeted marketing campaigns.

Unifies customer data

Some CIOs may think that implementing a CDP means adding yet another customer database to an already far too large and costly marketing technology stack. But a CDP is not just another customer database or reporting tool. A good CDP not only unifies all of the customer data already stored in silos across the enterprise but also enables enterprises to gain insights from historical and real-time customer data.

A CDP aggregates, cleans, and unifies all the customer data across an enterprise so that the data is actionable- customer data can be pulled from numerous disparate sources and converted into formats that can be used by tools throughout the marketing technology stack.

Real-time actionable insights

Many enterprises are still using data warehouses and traditional BI tools that do not provide marketers with real-time access to customer data and insights. However, a CDP allows organizations to find business value hidden in customer data.

Disclaimer: Zylotech is a sponsor of the CDP Institute.

Janet Wagner is a Zylotech contributing writer.

If you liked this post, check out our other blog post on The ROI of CDPs: Discovering which advertising efforts are paying off.

Topics: Marketing Technology