In order to get valuable insights from the minds of potential prospects and customers, customer data platforms should be the best platform for you. These platforms pull a bunch of data from multiple sources and then putting them together in a unified database.
They’re designed to intelligently connect to customers and create customer profile.
Customer data platforms (CDPs) put together data online and consulate them in one place. This process help business to predict the next step in the customer’s journey in order to send the proper personalized marketing messages to nurture and retain customers.
So, the main aim of customer data platforms is to put customer data together to greatly focus on first-party data. This is not only beneficial for compliance with GDPR but to also better leverage your own data in an impactful way.
Also see: Customer acquisition stratetegy for your business
Our aim in this article is to properly define what a customer data platform means and why it’s important for businesses.
What are Customer Data Platforms?
To simply put, a Customer Data Platforms or (CDP) is a web-based solution that gather and store transactional, demographic, and behavioral data about individuals.
These data are pulled from multiple sources and then all these information is aggregated into a single, unified customer profile. The main aim of a customer data platform is to build an accurate and full picture of customer profiles and this can be used to properly segment and target parts of the customer base.
For marketers too, Customer data platform can be used to create targeted campaigns and accurate audience segmentation. It’s important to take not that customer data platform is store tool and not a marketing campaign tool.
This solution has a technology that gather data from across customer touchpoints and this information shared are gathered across marketing systems. With this, customer relationships and marketing interactions is improved.
The unique characteristics of a CDP is the fact that it collects that from all available first-party customer data from CRMs, marketing automation platforms, websites, email marketing software, ads, and point of sale (POS) systems into one safe place.
Some of the tools that integrates data with customer data platforms include:
- Email marketing software
- CRM software
- Marketing automation software
- Business intelligence software
- Data visualization tools
Features of Customer Data Platform
It’s important that we point out the features of a CDP and we’ve outlined them below:
- Data collection and reconciliation from multiple data sources
- Generate usable data from all customer touchpoints
- Tracking of customer journey from Cross-device and cross-platform
- Displays shopping cart, purchase history, browsing and other data information
- Customer profiles is shown in a centralized 360 view
- Marketing systems can access customer data
- Customer data is used to perform identity resolution
- Marketing-defined business rules
- Enrichment of profile with product data matching
- Unify data across-platforms by using person identifier
- Profiling for marketing and audience segments for marketing campaigns
- Marketing technology integrations (e.g., MAP, RTIM, email marketing, etc.)
- Real-time interaction management for predictive customer analysis
Steps to follow before you select a Customer Data platform
Below we rehearse 6 very important steps that you simply should follow when choosing a CDP. Following these steps will ensure that you select a CDP fitted to your goals and resources.
Step 1: Include stakeholders in the process
Before deciding which customer data platform to use, you would like to include internal stakeholders into the process. Any CDP you choose works with data from different departments within your company, so it’s important that everybody is brought in.
The question that now comes to mind is: Who else collects data that your customer data platform will handle?
Chance is that your sales team’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform has data stored somewhere which your CDP will need access to. So, this means that a stakeholder from sales should be a part of the buying process.
How about your customer success team? Of course, there is a chance that your customer success team make use of tools that handle customer data. So, it’s important to bring a stakeholder from the customer success team into the process too.
Step 2: Define use cases
The major question you would like to answer before deciding which customer data platform is best for your company: what’s the major reason you need to use a CDP?
You can easily get carried away by the fact that you would like a CDP because it’ll consolidate your data into one customer database, but what are you really hoping to get out of that? Consolidating your data alone isn’t going to make you more data-driven. It’s just one step along the way.
In order to settle on the proper CDP for your company, you would like to define your use cases before time.
Take time to understand what you really need a customer data platform to help you with. Next, ask the other stakeholders what their ideal cases are.
After you’ve done that, identify at least 3 or more ideal use cases. It’s easier to evaluate all of the CDP vendors when you limit your use cases to three.
Below is a number of common use cases:
- Full understanding of your customer journey
- Create multiple advertising campaigns for targeted audience
- Combining online and offline data
When you’re done defining your use cases, spend time on studying your potential customer data platforms.
It’s important to check online review on their websites, ask colleagues at other companies who must have used these tools and read reviews of their products. You can compare and see if your ideal use cases fit with what any of those companies are doing.
Step 3: Determine the tools needed
Another important thing to do is to get a hold of the tools your company uses which will be connected to your CDP.
To be sure of the tools to start with, get an idea of what tools and functionality you’ll need and then start from your use cases.
Next, determine the tools you would need to accomplish the precise use cases that you stipulated in step 2. Make a list of these tools.
After doing this, make a list of the tools that properly interacts with your customers in one way or another. To name a few, you need incorporate things like CRM systems, payment processors, website tools, real-time live chat, email platforms, and help desk systems.
So, the next to do is to go ahead and double-check with other stakeholders to make sure you’ve not missed any tools that needs to be connected.
We see customers start mostly with:
- Analytical tools like Google Analytics
- Advertising tools like the Facebook
- Customer success and live chat tools like Intercom
- Business intelligence tools like Looker
- Data warehouses like Redshift
Once you’re sure of the tools you would like to use, confirm that the Customer data platforms you’re evaluating have those integrations. If any one doesn’t have majority of the tools you use, simply take them out of the list. This step narrows down your list to a large number.
Step 4: Gather requirements
There’s more to a customer data platform other than how to consolidate data and solve your use cases. You furthermore need to consider other requirements for your CDP. Requirement differ from your use cases as a requirement is more of a feature than an outcome.
For instance, let’s say one among your requirements is that the CDP you select should assist you get a solid understanding of every piece of data that you’re collecting. To tug that off, you’ll need a CDP that will assist you build a data-tracking plan.
Step 5: Compare vendors
Once you’ve gotten to this stage, you must have had a list of customer data platforms that best suit your use cases, have the required integrations, and meets all of your requirements.
So, let’s go ahead and compare each CDP. For now, let’s not talk about pricing as we’ll talk about it in the next step.
Firstly, consider your industry. Secondly, find customer data platforms that have most similar customers like your company. For instance, if you work at an enterprise-level company, find a CDP that shows a track record of working with companies at that level.
If you’re employed at a startup, confirm the CDPs you’re evaluating have experience in that space. There’s a likelihood that there’ll be an overlap with CDPs that have a track record in all industries.
If you’ve determined that each one of the CDPs you’re considering have the proper experience, it is time to go a step deeper. Confirm each CDP has:
Customer data platform that has a track record of accomplishing the use cases that you defined in Step 2.
Go for a solution that is data compliant. Because CDPs are known of handling data, it’s important that they’re compliant with the GDPR or the CCPA.
Get the right tools that integrate with your current and future use cases. It’s important to have a CDP that continually adds new integrations to their integration catalog
A CDP has an excellent customer service to assist you to set up, use, and maintain your CDP.
Finally, don’t forget to read each CDP reviews from users on the website. G2.com and Capterra both have dedicated pages for CDP reviews.
Step 6: Consider ROI
The ROI of the customer data platforms you’re evaluating is the final piece you would like to consider. ROI doesn’t mean that you simply should choose the most cost-effective option. It’s more about choosing the option that will offer you the best value. How does one determine the value upfront, before you select your CDP?
Start by using our ROI worksheet. This can assist you determine the value of your engineers’ time. Not having a CDP means that your engineers need to spend hours building and maintaining integrations for every tool.
Those hours add up quickly, which can end in significant costs to just build and maintain one integration. If for instance you have over ten integrations that is required to be handled by your engineering team, you’ll see that the hours will quickly become unmanageable.
Cost is one among the most important reasons to use a CDP. Every good CDP should reduce the quantity of time your engineers spend building integrations between tools, this will largely result to cost savings.
This is why you need to calculate cost and consider ROI before time. If you select a CDP that doesn’t give your engineering team the utmost amount of time-savings, it’s not going to be worth it.
7 best customer data platforms
On that note, here are the top 7 Customer Data Platform Companies for you:
Let’s dive into explaining all of them in detail:
This is a customer data platform that helps digital marketers in driving growth throughout the funnel, this ranges from getting a customer, activating their account, retaining them throughout, to deriving revenue out of it.
With this solution, customer journey can be delivered via multiple channels like mobile web, messaging, emails, web and ad mediums, etc. This platform simply leverages real-time predictive segmentation governed by AI and Machine Learning capabilities.
This platform is easy to use and eliminates the necessity for complex integrations and large dependency on the IT teams.
The best part of the Segment customer data platform is that it’s a powerful integrations solution. This solution makes it seamless to incorporate a new service into your existing analytics. When this is done, digital infrastructure reduces the hassles and amount of labor alongside with it.
In addition to this, this solution is super affordable and this makes it a natural go-to for a lot of people. Some of the features of this CDP solution include: real-time tracking, access to manual analytics and interpretation including modifiable dashboards that allows it to leverage its capabilities.
This solution is one of the best leading customer data platform companies that creates and manages high-scaled customer journeys. This solution best creates engaging opportunities that optimizes customer journeys by measuring the general impacts of its marketing interactions from all the channels.
This is done autonomously. Leading Optimove brands include: D Sports, Dollar Shave Club, Family Dollar, Staples, Penn National, and GVC. With this CDP solution, you’ll be able to create thousands of segments via its insight discovery solutions, which also includes one customer viewing dashboard and predictive customer analytics also.
Brand can connect relevant experiences across customer interactions with this Customer data platform. This is an entire toolkit to deliver one-to-one real-time experiences throughout the entire omnichannel customer journey. This includes omnichannel arrangement, with unmatched scale, continuous information unification and 1:1 personalization.
The client information from any source binds an adaptable, simple-to-utilize stage binds and opens an insight with adjustable AI, and initiates information across touchpoints whilst utilizing smart decisions in all circumstances.
This is a versatile and seamless platform that specializes in data presentation in an organized structure and cleaning up the outdated ones. Another major aspect of this customer data platform is that it can conveniently integrate with many third-party resources like Google Analytics, centralizing marketing intelligence on to go.
Another interesting part is that their pricing structure is predicated on the data row usage and not on the number of clients.
This customer data platform is a marketing and data platform that allows retailers increase customer revenue by sending personalized, relevant marketing messages throughout the customer journey.
This is an orchestration layer solution with an AI-based intelligence, The Co-Marketer – with a retail-specific cross-channel marketing platform, upgrading a standard ESP. The approach is Ometria’s proven to accelerating CRM revenue – our Methodology – combines our platform, benchmarks, unique dataset and models to define and implement the optimal strategy for revenue growth.
This platform has been engineered to deliver better engagement, higher scopes of revenue, and revamped customer retention score. This platform generates exclusive data visualizations; studies client behavior patterns; and cooks innovative, personalized and accurate communications that merge well with the customers’ prime interests and concerns.
If your aim is to find a customer data platform that’s reputed for its versatility, stellar support structure and exceptional automation capabilities – all of which come at a pocket-friendly price, look no further as Listrak is the best.
In fact, it reportedly features a steeper learning curve as compared to a number of the others falling in this category.
In choosing a customer data platform, one need to be patient with the process. It’s important to ensure that you’re doing all of your due diligence to find out the best CDP that perfectly suits your specific use-cases and requirements.
Once this is done, you’ll be able to get more value out of your data and obtain a far better understanding of your customers. In addition to this, your team will thank you for reducing their workload since they won’t need to spend time in building and maintaining integrations with your tools.