Customer Data & Analytics Blog

The CDP is not just another customer database

Ariella Brown | 3 minute read


If you’re like most marketers, you are sitting on enough of it to justify calling it big data. That’s not just due to the huge volume of data involved, but to its variety and velocity. Those terms make up the three Vs that typically are applied to the definition of big data. But there’s a fourth V that is the goal of working through the other three, and that is value.

The data goal for marketing today is not merely getting the data but effectively extracting the value from all those different types of data constantly streaming in through multiple channels. Businesses have access to a great deal of data on their customers from their own first-party data coming through their CRMs and digital interactions. Beyond that, they are into third-party data for additional contextual information to fill in gaps on their customer’s habits, tastes, and responsiveness to promotions and social media posts.

Solving fragmentation

More than a third of marketers regard fragmented data as the primary obstruction to effective analytics, Gartner reports. All the bits and pieces that are scattered across multiple sources have to be brought together to overcome the problem of incomplete or siloed data.

So there’s a necessary step of compiling data into a centralized customer database. But merely storing the data is not the way to improve your marketing efforts.

As you would with a jigsaw puzzle, you need to bring the pieces together and set them up in relationship to each other to form a comprehensive view of your customer that informs a targeted marketing strategy. But even if you have all the pieces together, slow data processing or a lack of analytics insight or even just a delay in recommendations based on insights can all lead to missed opportunities to effectively reach a consumer with targeted messaging.

This is where a CDP (customer data platform) solution comes into play. By tapping into the power of analytics and AI, a CDP makes the data you’ve curated actionable in real or near-real time.

Keeping it real

A CDP not only pulls together all the elements of your profile and transactional data to create a comprehensive picture of your customer journey; it applies analytics and AI to derive insight from that data to inform what your next move should be in response to real-time interactions for your targeted segments or even the individual customer. That is what makes it such a crucial tool for data-driven marketing, particularly for a multichannel approach that aims for responsive personalization.

While marketers have made use of tools for data integration, customer profiles, segmentation, and even recommendations for years, the difference is that before they often needed a whole arsenal of systems to achieve what the CDP does. It replaces a patchwork of data and marketing technologies that may not work seamlessly together with a unified platform.

CDP feature benefits

When everything comes together intelligently, you can generate far better actionable insight that translates into measurable results. A CDP puts all of the following into a single package.

 Data unification – Pulling in all your customer data from every channel is what enables a view of your customer journey.

Analytics – It uses in-depth customer data analytics to identify and understand the customer, to generate an accurate profile for customer personas, segmentation, and targeted efforts.  

Individuation – Drive highly personalized customer interactions across the web, email, and any other marketing channel by leveraging not just demographic data, but also behavioral and transactional data. These can reveal deeper patterns and trends than the obvious kind of “people who bought this also bought this” that have become fairly common and predictable in e-commerce. The predictive and recommendation models can show you the next best product or offer to cross or up-sell to which customer and when.

Action in real-time – These individualized interactions can deliver precisely the right offer at the right time, through any of your existing tool or activation layers, whether you push it through your site, ad-tech, social media platforms, or other means.

Relationship results – As a result of the real-time insight, you are empowered to reach out with the right message at the right time and on the right channel to show your customers you’re listening and responding to their concerns. That will lead to growing, retaining, and nurturing your active customers and even possibly to reactivating your lapsed ones.

Better data plus better insight and action delivered in real time all add up to a whole system of personalization that has a far greater impact than the sum of its parts. This is no mere data platform but a complete targeting solution that will maximize the value of your data.

Ariella Brown is a Zylotech contributing writer.

If you liked this post, check out our other blog post on Predictive analytics: A powerful tool for marketers

Topics: Marketing Technology