Industry Trends

Customer Data Platforms: Not Just For Marketers

Industry Trends | October 05, 2018

If you’re of a certain vintage (cough, cough), you may remember a TV ad for Florida orange juice, attempting to expand its appeal (and sales) with the tagline: “It’s not just for breakfast anymore.” 

Unlike O.J. at dinner, the use of a CDP outside of Marketing actually makes sense. In fact, it’s crucial for brands to make customer data a key part of the company’s DNA. Let me explain.

At its core, a CDP is designed to eliminate data silos and provide 3 key benefits:

  1. Pull in customer data from the disparate data systems
  2. Match, merge and cleanse this data into a unified record for each customer
  3. Make the now clean and complete customer data available and actionable to the Marketing team AND to any other stakeholders who can benefit from it

Like a prism, that data – when viewed from different angles – can shed light on a number of types of business insights that might otherwise remain hidden. Because the data is in the Cloud, there is no technical reason that data -or select pieces of customer data - cannot be shared by multiple stakeholders. In fact, according to our own Chief Product Officer, Paul Mandeville, at least two thirds of the value of a CDP benefits other departments outside of Marketing. Think of it like this – CDPs provide the central toolset to enable data sharing required for every department to rally around the most important metric - the long-term growth of your customers’ lifetime value. 

I’ll give you a few examples:

Finance: I mean, we all need to keep the finance team happy, right? A CDP provides the Finance team with access to comprehensive and searchable data to help take the guesswork out of strategic financial decisions like store openings and closures, investments into new offline or digital channels, R&D investments and acquisitions. Now the quantitative customer data can be worked directly into financial models, all through the lens of customer behavior, ultimately the driver of the entire business. A whole new world of “What If?” scenarios is now at your CFO’s fingertips, all using real-world, real-time data.

IT: Thankfully, for all parties involved, the days of waiting for endless SQL queries are mostly behind us. Marketing didn’t like the waiting, and IT didn’t like the distractions. With CDPs, marketing can now be responsible for data queries and analytics, without needing to know SQL, allowing IT to focus on coding and developing products.

Merchandising: With the rise in fast fashion and just-in-time inventory management for retailers, having insight into real-time customer behavior is crucial. CDPs can help identify how much of a specific product to have in stock, when to have it and for whom. Retail Merchandising functions can leverage a CDP to develop profiles and personas by categories. For example, an international clothing retailer is using real-time mobile search and purchase data from a 50 mile radius around store locations to optimize their in-store promotions and merchandising decisions – why be promoting khakis when the data is telling you that your Chicago customers are actually more interested in denim? Those decisions can result in higher overall sales by making sure high-demand products are on hand for customer convenience and in-store pick up. CDPs let you mash up persona-based analytics with planning, inventory and fulfillment.

Customer Support: This one seems obvious, and was the driver behind our integration with Genesys. The moment a customer calls a contact center, that is a high value touch point, a “golden moment” for a brand to not only resolve an issue, but to upsell, cross-sell and add value for the customer. Traditional call center agents might have access to purchase data and a history of previous calls. But by leveraging CDP data, the agent now has a much more informed view of the customer, including preferred purchase methods and location, web activity, email and mobile activity, product return history and preferred method of communication. This all means more valuable customer service and tickets closed more quickly.

And all this CDP-driven value creation across your company will call for a celebration – it’s time for some orange juice!

For more insights into how CDPs can add value across an entire organization, see our Chief Product Officer Paul Mandeville’s article in Martech Advisor.

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