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CDP: Paradigm shift to Customer Engagement

CDP or Customer Data Platform was awarded the buzzword of the year in 2018 and the interest has only grown multifold since then. No discussion of Martech is complete without CDP. There have been major acquisitions in this field in recent months and it is the hottest cake in the market right now.

So what is CDP & why so much hype around it?

As per Gartner, CDP is “A customer data platform is a marketing technology that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing and other channels to enable customer modeling and to optimize the timing and targeting of messages and offers.”

In layman terms, CDP is an advance application wherein you consolidate all customer & prospects’ interactions, attributes, identities & transactions at one place without a limitation of variables & size from multiple first party data sources across devices & applications. CDP generally has added ability to automatically segment the data into profiles by matching similar attributes with similar identities. At times, the CDP also has the automation built in to create personalized campaigns based on these segments.

customer data platform roadmap 3
Source: Bigdatavietnam

Let me explain by an example:

An Retail giant has customer interactions across physical & digital segments like POS, Purchase types, Demographics, Social media interactions, SEM/SEO, Behavioural attributes from transactional history & loyalty programs and much more. Additionally, the company will also be visited by millions of prospects on daily basis who are not registering or buying anything but would have looked at a product and left. A CDP is expected to record all such data of digital and physical interactions including prospects who didn’t get onboarded. Now, few of these prospects would register or become customer at later stage. The CDP will match the identities of these converted prospects to previous attributes shown while visiting the website, thus providing a holistic understanding of customer expectations and requirements. The CDP will also segment such customers and prospects, sending them automated & personalized messages in almost real time.

So let’s see what are the advantages of CDP?

  1. Integration of data from Multiple sources, devices & platform at one place: No more worrying about Data Silos which are not interacting with each other leading to vital customer insights getting missed. Also, another advantage of this is a 360 view of the customer persona and expectations, leading to more meaningful and correct messaging.
  2. Data security compliance: As CDP emphasised on the first party data, the issues pertaining to data security or unauthorized data based on third party cookies is taken care of. Most countries are now adopting stricter data privacy laws and availability as well as legality of such collected data is becoming more complex problem. One of the tertiary advantage is that as the data is first party, the authenticity & applicability of the data is much more compared to what received from other sources. For a Real estate company, a burger purchase data insight might not be very relavent.
  3. Analytics support: As integration of data from sources & platform is possible, CDP may have internal data analytics or can be combined with enhanced Analytics programs to provide very useful customer insights.
  4. Another major advantage of CDP is its ability to present insights on a real time basis and possibility to automate the messaging to customer thus leading to a cut down in very crucial wastage of time in data analysis and interaction.
  5. It’s ability to integrate with other customer data tools like ERP, CRM, DMP, SAP, Data lakes among others means it can compliment well with these products to provide ultra extensive data based marketing insights.

But most of these features are available in other Data management tools like CRM & DMP. What is the difference with CDP?

The key differentiator for CDP is its ability to integrate both existing customer as well as prospect data wherein other tools are providing insights only for customer base. DMP uses third party data compared to first party data in CDP, and hence the insights by a CDP program are generally more bang on compared to the previous. CRM generally will also have the limitations of predefined and fixed set of variables compared to unlimited and open scope for the CDP programs. While many people will tell you that CDP means a death knell for other data platforms but in reality CDP can act as a great complement to the other tools thus enhancing the capabilities of both. At times, the cost of switch might be more than the total perceived benefit for movement to CDP especially from CRM for organizations who are mainly looking at insights from existing customers.

cdp dmp crm
Source: Trustradius

Which are the major Players of CDP in the market?

The CDP based solutions are being provided from all major MarTech players. In fact, Adobe discontinued their DMP software and launched Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) few years back. You have solutions from Oracle, Bloomberg, Segment among others. A random non exhaustive list is appended below for your perusal.

cdp 1
Source: Fintica

Future of CDP:

Current speed of innovation has ensured a continuous improvement in CDP modules. Many of the players are now bringing additional insights, analytics and automation to their CDP tools. CDXP by Bloomberg is one such innovation bring automation, UX, Cloud & AI into CDP, thus making it far more potent weapon. AEM is another example of enhanced CDP having additional insights & UX integration.

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