Customer data platforms offer more advanced digital experiences

Customer data platforms offer more advanced digital experiences
By Eric MacKenzie
Mar 2, 2022
With evolving customer expectations of how data is collected and used, customer data platforms (CDP) are playing a key role in the future of customer experience and data management. Businesses are gaining access to more and more data, whether that's from their own customer relationship management, data warehouse, data management platform, or a variety of other tools. Add other third-party data sources to the mix, and the day-to-day of how to manage all of that data, make sense of it, and deliver a better experience for your consumers quickly becomes confusing.

Getting the strategy right first

Taking a step back and determining the strategy behind why you are capturing certain data points and how you will leverage that data will help you define what data you need within your CDP. Any CDP implementation should be led as a strategy-first engagement aimed at driving personalization leveraging a unified profile. Making sure the right foundation and framework is there will set your business up for optimizing the value a CDP can offer. Once you have that strategy foundation in place, taking advantage of the technology is a lot easier, more efficient, and more beneficial to the business overall.

Marketing and IT need to work together—and a foundational strategy should be at the core of all efforts. Having this vision in place will allow IT to work seamlessly with your marketing team to develop the right experience data model, technical solutioning, and integration framework to ensure a clean integration with all your data sources. This also creates efficiency in ensuring you are focusing attention on only the data required to execute on your core strategy and push data to the required outbound channels.

When establishing a strategic framework on which to build your customer data platform strategy, businesses should start with a few basic questions prior to implementation:

  • What are the exact data parameters you need to pull in (i.e., what will you be using)?
  • What are the integration points and connectors you need to implement internally for support?
  • Where will your business be leveraging the data from the platform? Is that your website only or also your personalization tool, your call center, etc.?

Powering unified profiles and real-time experiences

CDPs are the enabler to better understand, translate, and create actionable experiences on an individual level. The ability to aggregate data from a variety of platforms and tech stacks—some with real-time ingestion—is going to open the door for more advanced digital experiences, creating context-driven personalization that leverages immediate feedback from the consumer.

Businesses that don’t leverage CDPs in the future will experience a lagging level of engagement with their customers, and trivial tasks will remain manually driven and expensive to execute. Having a well-integrated CDP in your digital solution enables real-time, unified customer profiles—allowing you to create more engaging online and offline experiences.

CDPs power more seamless customer experiences across the different touch points along their journey. That’s because they provide a central source of truth that is difficult, or nearly impossible, to achieve without a CDP. With a unified experience across email, website, call center, etc., the most valuable customer data is digestible and actionable in real time.

These valuable data points—how your customer is engaging with you through a website for browsing behavior, what email triggered their behavior, or what experience may have prompted a call to customer service—provide context around how you should be engaging with each individual customer and what the right experience looks like when it is unique to an informed view.

Leveraging the right data

When organizations aren’t reaping benefits from their CDP, it often goes back to a weak foundational strategy, lack of focus, or prioritization. Driving a technology-first engagement is the wrong way to approach implementing a CDP. The strategy has to be first and it has to be right. Beyond a well-thought-out strategy to guide your decision relative to the data you capture and utilize within your CDP, determining the right data to pull into your CDP is crucial. You can bring in a lot of data sources, but there is always a pitfall of trying to leverage too much data.

Pulling in too much data can lead to leveraging client data in ways that were not stated or divulged to your clients—resulting in creepy, over-personalized interactions. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have to be at the core of your strategy. This ensures you have the right data compliance notices and provides means for explicit opt-in and opt-out for the capture of customer information and engagement efforts. Over-leveraging data can quickly prove distasteful to end users—even more reason for a strategy-first approach that focuses on mindful, reciprocal engagement with your customers.

Mitigating roadblocks to success

In many regards, a CDP is yet another technology platform to tie into a plethora of already complicated integrations and implementations. Some businesses will fail at fitting this into the web of data integrations that already exist, making it more of a burden than a valuable asset. That’s what Adobe seeks to avoid with its Real-Time CDP, packaged as part of Adobe Experience platform, which is natively built to bring together data from the entire experience cloud. It also offers the ability to leverage an omnichannel approach across web, campaign, or other digital and offline channels.

Although we are platform agnostic, this CDP can help mitigate the challenge of how it fits in your tech stack by creating a 360-degree, unified customer profile. Our 13+ year partnership with Adobe gives us deep, end-to-end digital expertise that can help your business optimize its Adobe Experience Platform Real-Time CDP investment—delivering on the strategy and data architecture needed to drive smart experiences for your customers.
ICF’s global marketing services agency focuses on helping your organization find opportunity in disruption.
Go to ICF Next
Meet the author
  1. Eric MacKenzie, Senior Partner, Technology Solutions
File Under

The latest marketing trends, uncovered.

Subscribe to get insights, commentary, and news sent straight to your inbox.