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A guide to Customer Data platforms - CDP's

Let's take a look at what CDP's are and how they can help you in getting the best out of your customer data by redefining marketing campaigns and accelerating sales.

Published 10 Mar 2022

Businesses now, especially online businesses are well aware of the importance of customer data and the role it can play in development and success of any business. In a highly competitive online space it is essential to leverage the power of data to optimise business processes and increase your chances of success.

However, with such huge amounts of customer data being produced every single day it becomes very difficult for businesses to figure out how to collect data, which data should be collected, how to store it, how to analyse and then finally figuring out the utility of analysed data.

This is where customer data platforms like Engage step into the equation and help online stores to truly experience the benefits that collecting and analysing customer data can do for their business.

In this article we will discuss what customer data platforms are, how they work and how they can be beneficial for your business. However, before you go into that detail let's take a brief look at what customer data actually is why it is important to collect and analyse it.

What is Customer Data?

Customer data is everything that your customer provides as well as all the actions taken by your customer using any online platform (website, social media platforms, e-commerce platforms etc.) of your business. It ranges from basic data such as name, email address, date of birth to more complex data such as behavioural data of your customers and their interactional data with your online store.

Customer data, if properly analysed and reported using tools such as Engage, can carry huge advantages for online businesses. The power of data allows marketing teams to deploy personalised marketing campaigns and customer service departments to provide consistent customer experience.

A detailed article highlighting the importance of customer data and its benefits can be read here

What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Customer data platform (CDP) can be defined as a software or a tool that combines customer data from multiple sources, stores and analyses it to create comprehensive and detailed customer profiles. This unified customer database can be used in numerous ways to enhance performance of different departments in your business.

Customer data platforms like Engage have the ability to handle huge amounts of data from multiple online sources and gives its user the ability to pick and choose the data that they want to collect. One of the key features of customer data platforms is that they ensure other systems are able to benefit from the data collected as well as the customer profiles created after analysis.

Customer data platforms give marketeers the ability to segment customers and run personalised marketing campaigns. CDPs minimise the involvement of IT and development teams and ensure provision of all the necessary data and reports to the concerned departments in any organisation. A unified customer database means enhanced efficiency in different departments of any organisation.

Customer data platforms are often confused with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and Data Management Platforms (DMPs). The differences between these are discussed below.

CDP vs CRM

One of the major differences between CDP and CRM is that a CDP collects data from a number of different online sources of various direct and indirect interactions of a customer or a potential customer with your brand. As compared to this a CRM is designed in such a way that it only collects data of intentional interaction of a customer with your business.

Another key difference is that a CRM is only capable of collecting data of customers or potential customers of your business whereas a CDP can easily collect data from all the visitors on any online platform of your business. CRMs mainly find their use in the customer relationship management field which greatly limits the data collected by then and its useability. In comparison a CDP provides a complete data solution that can be used by other systems in your business to increase efficiency.

CDP vs DMP

A main difference between a customer data platform and a data management platform comes from the type of data that these platforms are capable of storing and analysing. While data management platforms mainly deal with non personally identifiable information the CDPs can store, manage and analyse customer data of various kinds, from multiple different sources and different types of customer interactions.

Another difference that must be highlighted between the two is that CDPs work with first party data whereas DMPs mainly collect and work on third party data. CDPs have the capability of holding more data for a longer period to ensure that detailed and in depth customer profiles can be made. In comparison DMPs often retain data for a short time and are used for marketing automation of paid advertisements.

Benefits of Customer Data Platforms:

When the store conNow that we know what customer data platforms are and how it differentiates from data management platforms and CRMs, let's take a look at the benefits that they can bring to your company. CDPs are now a necessity for e-commerce businesses if they want to succeed and have a data driven approach. Not only do they allow companies to achieve marketing automation but also help them to enhance their customer experience by providing a unified customer database to work with.

Following are some of the major advantages that you will get once you decide to get your business linked with a capable customer data platform like Engage

Organised Data Management

Data management can be a nightmare for many if you are not equipped with the right set of tools. Regardless of the size of business or number of customers, collecting, managing and then analysing data requires a lot of work. This is one of the main reasons why some companies are still hesitant towards having a more data driven approach in their organisation.

Customer data platforms such as Engage solve this problem and make it easier than ever to have a data driven approach in your company. By automating data collection, storage and analysis tasks based on machine learning and artificial intelligence we ensure that you get the best out of your customer data without the hassle.

Avoid Data Silos

Data Silos occur when data is available to one department in an organisation but cannot be accessed or used by other departments in the same organisation. There can be many reasons for data silos but they usually occur when businesses fail to recognize the correct technology or tools required in accordance with their data needs.

When the same level of data and analysis reports are not being provided to different departments in an organisation, a less collaborative environment is formed that can greatly damage the productive capabilities of the organisation.

Customer data platform solves this problem by giving companies a unified customer database to work with. All the departments in the company have complete access to the customer profiles generated by a customer data platform which ensures that everyone can benefit from the data collected and analysed.

Customer Data Analytics with Greater Customer Insights

The main aim of collecting and analysing customer data is to have a greater insight into behaviour and buying habits of the customers to ensure that you can take appropriate business decisions accordingly. Collecting data without it being properly analysed and more importantly reported in a readable form doesn't really serve any purpose.

A customer data platform like Engage ensures that the data collected through various online platforms of your business gets processed and analysed. We collect data on all customer touchpoints in a customer journey to identify key touchpoints responsible for conversion. Our AI based analysis of the data gives you a deeper insight into customer behaviour and allows you to properly segment your customer database.

With unified customer profiles accessible to all departments in your organisation you can properly cater to the needs of your customers and provide them enhanced services resulting in an overall increase in customer lifetime value.

Enhanced Privacy and Data Protection

Customer data is sensitive. The data collected by businesses include personally identifiable information that can be used to identify customers as well as data such as credit card information, logins, passwords etc. All the information that businesses collect must be secured and free from the risks of data leaks.

Customer data privacy is a serious concern and customer data platforms can help you ensure that the data collection practices of your organisation are in accordance with the regulations that are applicable to your business and data collection practices. CDPs allow you to have better compliance with regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other applicable regulations.

Easy Third Party Integration

A huge challenge for companies running their business online on different e-commerce platforms is to collect data from various sources and then make it make sense in order to make intelligent business decisions. Employing data collections tools on various online platforms, managing their storage, analysing the data and then turning that analysis to actionable report form takes a lot of work.

Customer data platforms like Engage allow you to have easy one-click integration to all your third party ecommerce stores. We take granular data from various online sources including websites, e-commerce platforms, emails, social media platforms, paid ads etc. and store it in data warehouses in a way that it is easily accessible to you. The data is analysed and you are presented with detailed analysis reports based on which you can take informed business decisions.

Operational Efficiency

A good customer data platform ensures that all of your organisation's data needs get fulfilled without having the need to buy any other tools. Whether it is collecting data, storage, analysis, reporting, third party data collection or integration, Engage does it all and more. This results in an increased operational efficiency for your organisation.

All of the departments from marketing team to sales and customer relations have a unified customer view and can tailor their services according to the needs of the customers. Instead of spending time and energy on collecting data from various sources, combining it and making sure that everyone has got the correct data to work with, companies can now focus on actual data driven decision making tasks right after implementation of a customer data platform.

Conclusion

Customer data platforms come as a packaged software to ensure that all your data related needs are taken care of. CDPs like Engage are designed in a way that they are easy to use and can get the maximum value out of your customer data. By having a unified customer profile of any particular customer accessible to all departments of your business you can manage customer interactions in a more efficient manner.

If you are still unsure regarding the benefits of having a customer data platform for your business or want to learn more about our product, please feel free to contact us and our experts would be glad to assist you!


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