Customer data platforms continue to grow in popularity because of how they support marketers and simplify data management. The growth in popularity has spurred a sizable increase in the number of products on the market claiming to be a customer data platform, despite many of them lacking critical features that any system claiming to be a CDP should provide.
So to help those in the market for a CDP better understand the difference between what separates real CDPs from those merely pretending, here's a look at three features any true customer data platform must offer.
1. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics have become an invaluable capability for organizations looking to better plan future campaigns in a data-driven fashion, something that is extremely useful for marketing teams. Customer data platforms support predictive analytics because of the huge amounts and variety of customer data available to use in machine learning models.
Machine learning algorithms do an excellent job of analyzing vast quantities of data quickly and turning that analysis into actionable decision-making information. They are also specifically designed to identify patterns and relationships in data sets, even ones that are seemingly unconnected, and don't require the data to be parsed by data analysts.
Predictive analytics allow marketers to easily identify and learn from past mistakes, and ensure they're avoided. But even more importantly, backed by concrete data, they identify areas and trends of success (including those that may not have been recognized otherwise) that can be the basis for future marketing campaigns. As more organizations look to become data-driven, any customer data platform without predictive analytics capabilities is not worth considering in 2020.
2. Cross-channel customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is the process of visually diagramming all desired interactions between a businesses and customers from prospect stage to end goal, and is a hugely important (and extensive) aspect of executing a customer experience strategy. Customer journey mapping today is much more involved -- and if possible, more important -- than it was in the past because of the increased number of digital channels that businesses and customers now interact on. Any disconnect that exists between the business's desired customer journey and the customer's actual journey will negatively affect customer experience (and in turn the business's bottom line).
The best way to ensure an aligned customer journey is to craft it based on analysis of historical customer interaction data. This, of course, is where customer data platforms shine. CDPs collect and store all this interaction data in one central location and also have the analytics capabilities needed to uncover and decipher vital customer journey information (such as the most popular customer touchpoints or average order value). This clear link between customer data and customer journeys makes CDPs a natural fit for customer journey mapping, and those not offering journey mapping capabilities should not be considered by those in the market for a CDP in 2020.
3. Identity resolution
One of the things that makes customer data platforms most useful for marketers is that they manage first and second-party customer data from a variety of sources (like CRM platforms, ESPs, etc.). This unique data, such as customer names, purchase histories and email addresses, along with other information like IP addresses and devices accessed, is what formulates customer profiles. But the quantity and variety of customer data found in these profiles makes them extremely challenging for marketers to track and manage on their own. This is where identity resolution technology comes into play.
Identity resolution technology is designed to correlate the aforementioned unique identifiers, deduplicate the data if necessary, and match it together to create a single customer profile that provides marketers with a unified view of their customers. regardless of channel. Any future data collected is then automatically tied to the one profile, making it easy for marketers to view and analyze. Because of the clear and obvious benefits identity resolution provides marketers, today's leading CDP vendors offer built-in capabilities within their platforms. Vendors that don't are missing the mark.
Don't settle for a wannabe CDP
At a quick glance, it may seem like customer data platforms all offer similar features and functionalities, but this is far from the truth. Here at QuickPivot, we've been an innovator in the customer data platform space since its beginning, and our CDP features the above capabilities and more to meet the needs of today's marketing professionals.
So if you're struggling to understand the tools and capabilities true CDPs offer, feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We'd love to help out. Click below to learn more.