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In recent years, the opportunities offered by digital transformation at a wide variety of levels have proven to be a decisive factor for the long-term success of companies. This is particularly true in the area of customer experience. This is because information about individual users not only proves to be an important basis for the development of new products, but also forms the basis for effective marketing strategies.

Although customer centricity is extremely important, customer-oriented approaches often fail in practice due to inadequate management of the relevant data. Current CRM systems often capture only part of the customer information and offer only limited linking options. A solution to this problem is provided by the so-called Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), which enable the mapping of a holistic user profile by bringing together all relevant information. The following article will therefore take a closer look at the concept of this new customer data platform and its advantages.

What is a Customer Data Management Platform?

In general, a Customer Data Management Platform can be described as a specific database in which all customer-relevant information is collected in a centralized manner. To this end, a CDP accesses a wide variety of information sources both inside and outside a company. This means, for example, that data from internal CRM systems can be easily linked with data from business partners and third-party providers as well as offline data and back-office data. In addition, relevant information on the customer experience and the respective data contexts also flows into the collection. So by continuously linking both structured and unstructured types of information, a CDP allows a holistic and dynamic profile of the customer to be created in real time.

Reap the benefits of a 360-degree customer view

One of the greatest benefits of a customer data platform is its ability to provide companies with a 360-degree perspective of their customers. A 360-degree customer view is defined as a particular view of the user that represents the user in a holistic, consistent, and continuously updating manner. The 360-degree customer view thus proves to be a central component through which companies can better understand and individually design individual customer relationships.

For example, it minimizes the need for short-term customer analyses and allows relevant developments, trends and optimization potential to be identified at an early stage. In addition, the holistic customer experience profile can be used to efficiently identify existing needs and thus steer the targeted development and communication of new products. These special potentials make CDPs an extremely interesting tool for current marketing tasks.

CDP Marketing - Successfully Personalizing Customer Communication

In the course of the current experience economy, it is usually no longer sufficient to simply develop an attractive product. At the same time, the product must offer the user added value in the form of a positive experience. This added value is usually closely linked to individual needs, which can only be addressed inadequately within the framework of general customer approaches. Contemporary marketing strategies are therefore dependent on recording the individual preferences of the customer as precisely as possible in order to be able to implement correspondingly personalized customer communication. Against this background, the advantages of CPD in marketing contexts can be summarized as follows:

  • Holistic customer profile: In order to customize the customer experience, a comprehensive knowledge of his profile is indispensable. The Customer Data Platform provides a 360-degree customer view and proves to be an extremely helpful tool for understanding individual customer identities.
  • Optimized personalization: Through its automatic analysis and segmentation processes, a Customer Data Platform brings together the individual customer profiles with the appropriate marketing content in a targeted manner. This ensures an optimal form of personalization of the customer experience.
  • Time and cost reduction: Since a CDP contributes significantly to the automation of analysis and customer processes, it significantly reduces the associated time and costs. This also applies to data management work processes.
  • Future-proof infrastructure: When used correctly, a customer data platform not only acts as a hub for different data sources. It also enables efficient provision of this data for third-party systems. This makes it a valuable building block in any digital infrastructure.

CDP, DMP, CRM - a comparison of the different system solutions

Due to its function as a database, a CDP is not infrequently confused with a conventional data management platform (DMP). But while both platforms do indeed capture customer data, there are still fundamental differences between the systems. DMPs were originally developed as specialized tools for web ad optimization. In this context, a DMP obtains its data primarily from cookies and subsequently exploits it primarily in anonymized form. In contrast, a CDP uses a variety of data sources and combines the collected data into a holistic behavioral profile.

Similar differences can also be seen when comparing customer data platforms and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. The focus of CRM solutions is on all those company-related data that provide information about a user's attributes, transactions and product purchases. However, even though CRM solutions already capture a range of relevant core data, they typically do not draw on information from additional data sources - such as social media or offline sources. Unlike CRM solutions, CDPs offer multidimensional data that is also subject to continuous updating.

In view of the differences shown, however, a CDP can be understood as a sensible extension of the current DMP and CRM solutions. It therefore makes sense to use the customer data platform specifically in combination with the existing DMP and CRM systems.

Three of the most popular CDP systems at a glance

Since CDPs have enjoyed steadily growing demand for several years, there are now numerous vendors on the market. However, due to their rich functionality and practicality, the following three CDPs are among the leading products in this field.

  • Adobe Real Time CDP: Released in 2019, this software is designed specifically for use in marketing contexts and features multiple AI tools for segmenting, auditing and delivering experiential content. Streaming data collection also allows real-time profile updates and analytics.
  • Twilio Segment: Segment gives marketers access to a comprehensive CDP system that reliably guarantees personalized customer interactions through its cross-device data collection. It also offers more than 300 marketing tools for real-time audience targeting.
  • Tealium AudienceStream CDP: Tealium's CDP is characterized by numerous data enrichment features and a high level of automation. Due to the integrated data protection standards, this CDP is also particularly suitable for contexts in which sensitive data is handled.

CDPs - a promising tool for contemporary marketing

The aspects discussed make it clear that CDPs are an extremely promising tool for contemporary marketing strategies. By capturing multidimensional user data, analyzing it and updating it in real time, they contribute to a successful customer experience. They can be combined with existing DMP and CRM systems and reduce time and costs by automating work processes.

For more information on Customer Experience, Performance Marketing, MarTech and Content Management, click here or visit Digital Loop.

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