Take control of your marketing strategy with Customer Data Platforms.
Changes in technology, global markets, and consumer behavior have contributed to a significant increase in the amount of information brands must manage.
And with so much information comes great responsibility: how can a brand make sense of it all, find a way to cut through the noise, and reach out to their customers in a meaningful way?
For brands, this battle is mainly fought on two fronts: customer acquisition and customer retention. Although these are two very different strategies, they both rely on a brand's ability to engage with and understand its customers' habits.
Many businesses are turning to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to keep up with the changing times and find ways to improve customer engagement, retention, and loyalty.
What does a Customer Data Platform do for you?
CDPs are marketing software platforms that collect customer data from multiple sources and build unified profiles of each customer. Once you've got all the information about your customers in one place, it's time to use it!
Find out more here: Customer Data Platforms: Your go-to solution to customer data challenges.
We'll look at 6 ways you can use CDPs to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
1. Independence from third-party cookies
💡 Chrome is set to phase out third-party cookies by late 2023. Being the most popular desktop browser in the world, this decision has given rise to the so-called “cookiepocalypse”.
A CDP will help you efficiently compile customer information. More especially first-party data. This will help you transition away from relying on outside sources such as third-party cookies, which are facing permanent blocks from big browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
“A privacy-first world doesn't inhibit a company's ability to know and better serve their customers — it improves it. A privacy-first world is a world in which creating and maintaining relationships directly with your customers is the only way to truly understand them” - Hubspot.
But instead of seeing the lack of third-party cookies as a problem, consider it a challenge that could improve your data strategy.
Think of it like this: what’s more reliable than data you collected yourself based on the parameters relevant to your brand? Few things are, and while third-party data offers the largest reach, it also offers the lowest quality data.
Only you can collect brand-specific information like purchase history and the customer journey that leads to your touchpoints. CDPs allow you to collect and manage data to deliver better-targeted ads across your channels.
2. Powerful segmentation tools
With the information CDPs provide, you can, for example, learn how to tweak your email marketing content and further personalize aspects such as fonts, colors, language, and headlines to adapt to each customer segment’s preferences.
But email marketing is not your only playground. You can use Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and cross-reference it with social media and website behavior to create segments of people looking for specific services or products and then target ads to those segments.
Additionally, CDPs let you segment your “premium” customers, the ones that spend the most on your brand, and should be treated with special priority at every touchpoint.
They should, for example, never be bombarded with excessive email offers: they already mostly know what they want from your brand and are willing to keep coming back for it, so targeted ads should be used judiciously.
The potential of CDPs for segmentation is very high and adjustable to your needs. Learning to manage its features to your advantage will be key to squeezing the most benefits out of them.
3. Increase your reach by managing multiple channels
With the context you already have about CDPs, it’s probably clear that they feed you the information you need to coordinate marketing efforts across multiple platforms.
💡 A study by the Harvard Business Review determined that 73% of retail customers use multiple channels to make purchases. 7% are online-only shoppers, and 20% are store-only shoppers. Tapping into the omnichannel market is a good way to reach the most possible customers.
This information, combined with your team's knowledge and marketing tools, will allow you to come up with effective multi-channel campaigns that feel relevant to your customers.
Some of the benefits of embracing omnichannel strategies include:
- Omnichannel customers are more valuable. The Harvard study determined that omnichannel customers spent anaverage of 4% more in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers.
- Connect online and offline experiences. If a customer buys a product offline and then calls customer support to help set it up, the support employee can see the customer’s journey by simply inputting their contact information. Contextual information helps brands provide a better customer experience.
- Reach more customer segments. You will cover the most ground by providing services on all possible channels. This is important, considering that 40% of customers say they won’t do business with companies if they can’t use their preferred channels, according to a 2019 Salesforce report.
- More efficient data collection. Omnichannel strategies allow you to collect customer information only once, and then it’s available on all channels instead of collecting it at every touchpoint.
4. Measure the success of strategies
In modern marketing, everything needs to be backed up with data, and that’s exactly what CDPs provide.
By being a hub of your customers’ data that also comes with comprehensive analytic tools, it becomes a tool to measure the success of your campaigns.
We all benefit from a single place to measure and compare metrics like brand awareness, customer engagement, conversion rate, click-through, and cost per lead, as well as other websites, SEO, and other more complex metrics. CDPs provide the environment you need to obtain them and the information you might want to optimize them.
In marketing, you can only manage what you can measure, and CDPs give you many marketing efforts to measure.
5. Comply with privacy laws
Privacy and the responsible use of data have become hot topics in the past few years. Depending on where you live or do business, complying with privacy rules might not just be a matter of ethics or etiquette but a legal consideration.
In this context, CDPs become not only your hub for marketing data but also your main tool to make that data compliant with privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA.
According to the CDP Institute, these are the 6 ways in which CDPs are foundational privacy technologies for data catalogs and inventories:
- Data Catalog / Data Inventor: traceability is a big component of privacy regulations, and feeding a CDP data to identify sources and destinations is known as “data inventory”, a key element of traceability.
- Unified data: customer data is collected from multiple sources to create a unified profile that can be made available for access requests.
- Consent management: CDPs store information about consent for relevant pieces of data.
- Permission enforcement / Data policy enforcement: having all customer data in one place, it becomes easier to determine whether all uses of said data comply with regulations and consent.
- Value delivery: even if the data collected is compliant to privacy laws, customers want to receive value in exchange for providing valuable information. With the tools the CDP provides, this value can be delivered through marketing, customer service, operations, and other interactions.
- Security: in addition to providing built-in data security measures, the fact that all data is stored in a single database reduces the possibility of leaks by reducing the number of places in which the data must be protected.
6. Fill out unnecessary information
Customer data is an invaluable resource, but that doesn’t mean every single piece of data provides actionable insights.
In fact, there is a name for metrics that don’t provide strategic value: vanity metrics. These statistics may look good on paper but don’t provide many benefits in practice, if any.
For example, you can have an email list of 10,000 people, and you know that only 50% of the people who open your emails ever click on a link inside of them. Does that mean you have 5,000 actual engaged subscribers? Maybe not (and likely not).
According to WebFX, these are 3 questions you can ask yourself when parsing through your CDP database to determine whether the data you are reading is actionable or a vanity metric:
- Can they help you make business decisions?
- Can you recreate the results?
- Do they tell the whole picture?
That being said, don’t be shy about the numbers you’ve earned so far. Because you did earn them, but be aware of what the numbers mean for your bottom line and performance, not just how large or small they are
Over time, you can learn to determine which pieces of data are helping your brand convert interest into action and grow the revenue streams, and which pieces of data don't provide much of anything.
A world of possibilities
What we discussed here only scratches the surface of all the benefits CDPs can provide for your brand. Diving into them and exploring their possibilities will help you become a better marketer and understand your customer base.
As your databases grow and your strategies become more sophisticated, your CDP will become a scalable solution to visualize the customer journey, satisfy needs, drive conversions and increase engagement and retention.
CDPs not only complement your marketing knowledge, they reinforce it and help you become the marketer your customers want you to be.
This article is part of a series on CDPs and their benefits to your brand and marketing. If you are interested in learning more about them, check out the rest of the series:
- Customer Data Platforms: Your go-to solution to customer data challenges
- Making the most out of marketing data: benefits, challenges, and how to solve them
- CMOs are embracing Customer Data Platforms to drive their marketing strategies