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Discover ideas for getting started with a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Insights, ideas, and tips about how to leverage data to effectively connect with a Customer Data Platform (CDP).
Discover ideas for getting started with a Customer Data Platform (CDP)
We as consumers invest a lot in the brands we love, and a CDP can help brands to give some of that love back with awesome experiences.

The purpose of this article is to give a taste and introduce important CDP considerations. It is written in such a way as to appeal to a broad audience for anyone interested to learn more.

🌟 Key Takeaway: Even without a CDP platform, you can start preparing with a CDP mindset now.

Let's get started.

Historically data used for digital direct marketing has been sourced from disparate systems. The issue with this approach for organising customer data is that information about a customer can be siloed and not easily accessed.

Moving forward to today, organisations both big and small, engage with consumers through multiple channels and have rich consumer data flowing and available from e-commerce channels, cloud-based platforms, and apps.

The opportunity for business is to best engage with consumers in the right channel, with the right message at the right time.

Enter the CDP.

The idea behind a CDP approach is to make the data from all systems highly available for making data-driven decisions that allow for hyper-personalised and engaging communications.

Or to put it another way, consider a food preparation analogy where the CDP is the oven that mixes all the ingredients and the food that is produced is consumed by your audience across email, mobile, social and digital channels.

Does that resonate with you?

Following are some ideas for getting started with a CDP.

Start: Even if you are not yet ready to implement a CDP, understanding the CDP framework can help if for nothing else than to provide a best practice for organising what you are doing now with your digital marketing platform. When getting started consider the following:

  1. First things first - get your team ready.
  2. Identify stakeholders - who are the decision-makers, and who are the marketing managers and data specialists that will be impacted by the implementation of the CDP?
  3. Identify users - these are the people that will ultimately turn the CDP into reality and will typically include a CDP admin, potentially some of those stakeholders - e.g. marketing managers and specialists.
TIP: Align all stakeholders for success. Ensure data in the CDP aligns with the goals and priorities of all teams and departments to avoid corporate data silos.

Next, get the CDP Ingredients (Inputs) Ready: Organise what systems you are going to get data from. The ingredients for a CDP are all the various data that are integrated together and typically consist of the following:

  1. Customer relationship management (CRM) system data - components typically consist of contact data with a unique identifier (e.g. email, mobile number, and/or account id), along with non-unique identifiers like name and address.
  2. Engagement data - components typically consist of data about the contact that is stored in marketing databases, e-commerce systems, and with an email service provider (e.g. open, click usage data, time on page, etc.).
  3. Point of sale (POS) data - components typically consist of purchase history stored in accounts and e-commerce systems.
  4. Preference data - components typically consist of the special ingredients contained in customer preference center systems.
  5. Service interaction data - components typically consist of data about problems and issues derived from customer service systems.
  6. Behavioural data - components typically consist of the more granular customer details that are available from various systems and apps.
  7. Other important data - data that is used to make informed decisions.
TIP: Ensure unique customer attribution for a reliable Single Source of Truth (SSOT) and accurate recommendations. In practice this will require customer identifiers across all data inputs.

Finally, focus on the CDP Recipe: The CDP recipe (or strategy) is about how all the inputs are combined and consist of the following important considerations:

  1. Unique customer identifier - nsure a unique customer identifier for each CDP input. Without a clear identifier linking data records, bringing data into the CDP lacks value. Prioritize the most important identifier for a unified customer view.
  2. System integration - make a system integration inventory for all digital marketing inputs. Include a data dictionary with how each stream maps to others and the insights that these mappings will show.
  3. Segmentation - consider the segmentation for targeted messaging across channels by analyzing data insights derived from formulas applied to unified CDP data model of records.
  4. Automation - use automated processes to make it easy to continually keep the data in your CDP up-to-date.
  5. Leverage collective expertise and stay adaptable - refine strategy with insights from customers and knowledgeable colleagues on audience engagement. Collect data on past customer preferences.

Throughout we have been following a food preparation analogy and in a sense this article just gives a taste of important CDP considerations.

Share a comment if you have a question, and would like to learn more.