As a digital marketer, you may be dealing with customer data that’s siloed across multiple martech databases and platforms. The result: Fractured customer identities that hinder your ability to deliver relevant marketing to customers.
Meanwhile, you’re under growing pressure to deliver highly personalized marketing — at scale and in real-time — as customers engage with your brand across multiple channels, whether it’s social, email, web, or something else.
Increasingly, marketers are turning to a Customer Data Platform (CDP) solution for help. A CDP solution resolves your scattered, siloed customer data into coherent user profiles, stores them in one database, and makes those profiles fully available to other martech tools. With a CDP, your organization has a system of record — the much sought-after “single source of truth” — that makes your customer data truly actionable.
As research firm Gartner puts it, a CDP can serve as the smart hub of your martech stack. Other tools act as the “dumb spokes,” pulling customer data from the CDP to deliver the right marketing content to the right customer at the right time.
Compared to individual martech tools (aka the “dumb spokes”), such as website personalization tools, CDPs with machine learning have the smarts to provide insights into past as well as potential future customer behaviors.
Here are 5 reasons to consider a CDP as your martech stack’s smart hub.
1. CDPs Provide the Most Complete View of Your Customers
A CDP collects and lets you manage your organization’s customer data across web, email, social, call center interactions, and other channels. The information contains both known and anonymous data that details the behaviors, interests and actions of your customers throughout their offline and online interactions with your organization.
This first-party data provides a full, nuanced, constantly updated view of your customers. As such, a CDP provides unified customer data you can leverage in 1:1 personalized, real-time experiences across multiple marketing channels.
No other technology can provide you with such a complex, complete view of your customer that can be used in so many ways. For example, a data management platform (DMP) is designed to primarily acquire third-party data about customers along with your website’s anonymous tag data. DMPs push that data to display ad networks for use in acquisition marketing.
2. With Machine Learning, You’ll Gain Insights About Your Customers’ Past and Future
Resolved customer profiles are great. But they’re only the building blocks for your predictive marketing initiatives.
A CDP that leverages machine learning can analyze past behaviors of your customers and provide predictive analytic indicators, such as whether a customer is likely to buy again from you and if so, what and when. With machine learning applied to a database of resolved customer profiles, you gain actionable insights that enable you to deliver the best customer experience across multiple channels.
For example, with machine learning applied to customer data, you can precisely time and target a promotional email. The email will land in a receptive customer’s inbox when he or she is actively engaged and likely to buy.
With a CDP that integrates machine learning, you’ll develop deeper insights about customers that can inspire new content and campaign ideas. Those informed initiatives also show that you truly understand your customers’ needs and interests.
A CDP with machine learning takes a lot of the legwork — and guesswork — out of your job as a digital marketer. The CDP continually learns about your customers, without you having to manually pre-define and redefine rules such as “If a customer clicks A and does B, they are likely to take action C.” That’s the legwork part. And such rules are often arbitrary and imprecise, requiring a certain amount of guesswork on your part.
3. Your Organization Can Save Money
Powerful martech suites from major vendors are often at the center of an organization’s martech stack. But there are considerable downsides, aside from the fact that your customer data is often siloed in these suites’ databases.
You’re locked into the vendor’s ecosystem, which means you may miss out on emerging technologies or best-of-breed tools. Any custom functions require lots of consultation with the vendor and extra costs, due to the proprietary nature of these suites.
Speaking of costs: Instead of living within an expensive martech suite, you can save money by using a CDP at the center of your martech stack along with less-expensive, downstream tools (the spokes). In fact, most marketing organizations (66%) today favor a multi-vendor approach vs. an end-to-end platform from a single vendor, according to recent research Digital Clarity Group.
4. You’re in Charge
CDPs don’t require deep technical skills to deploy and manage, like many other platforms and tools. Thus, a CDP is a “marketer-managed system.” The marketing department can configure and manage the CDP instead of relying upon the corporate IT department. You, the marketer, decide what goes into the CDP and what it exposes to other systems. You can make changes without asking for IT’s permission — giving you greater autonomy and enabling you to move much more quickly.
5. You’ll Build Trust With Your Customers
With a CDP as the smart hub of your martech stack, you’ll have more meaningful conversations with customers in the channels they prefer, and in the moments when they’re most likely to engage. From those conversations, you’ll build trust by showing that you truly understand and appreciate your customer. Trust helps you increase conversions and customer loyalty, which in turn can boost sales — and the bottom line.