When we think about customer data, plenty of benefits come to mind: the ability to access valuable insights into customer behavior, identify gaps in the sales funnel and optimize product development, among others. Customer data is one of the most valuable assets a business can have, especially in the pursuit of developing more meaningful and personalized connections with consumers. But as those working in data analytics know all too well, simply collecting data doesn’t cut it—especially if it lives on different platforms and the collection points are spread across the entire customer journey.
To overcome that challenge, wise marketers and data scientists resort to customer data platforms: software systems that allow businesses to collect, centralize, and manage customer data from multiple sources in one place. A CDP can help answer an abundance of questions by providing a single source of truth; though before you can get there, it’s important to understand how to handle the complexities and responsibilities that come with it.
Not long ago, our Associate Director of Customer Data, Elia Niboldi, penned an article on how to leverage CDPs to their full potential. This time, we’re taking a step back with a new whitepaper that explores the key considerations when implementing a CDP. Let’s dissect some of the main takeaways.
With CDPs comes great responsibility.
To put it simply, CDPs aim to provide a comprehensive view of the customer across all channels and touchpoints, which allows businesses to make informed decisions and create better customer experiences. They are incredibly powerful tools, but that also means the data collected by CDPs can be sensitive and needs to be handled in a responsible and ethical manner, even if customers were happy to share it with the brand in the first place.
In other words, CDP data comes with the need for strategy and clear governance around a brand’s interactions with their customers. Having a robust consent management system in place is the bare minimum, an essential process for allowing customers to determine what information they want to share with a business—something that Salesforce Privacy Center handles very well. And this shouldn’t be limited to brands’ first interaction with a client: when changes in regulation occur or customers’ preferences change, they should be provided with an option to manage and update these preferences, and brands can keep track of those from a centralized location through a CDP.
Once the customer has shown interest in creating a value exchange between their data and the brand’s services, it’s important to set frequency capping standards that alleviate brand fatigue and ensure brand communications are effective and positive—rather than annoying and frustrating. The frequency send caps are usually reset daily, weekly or monthly, and can be adjusted based on customer behavior to optimize marketing campaigns and improve the overall customer experience.
Consider the role of CDPs in the CMO’s business.
Because they provide a unified view, CDPs are both a technical and organizational tool that can help break down silos. Traditionally, customer data has been fragmented across systems and siloed within departments, making it difficult for marketers to access that data in meaningful ways. At the same time, it’s naturally hard for technology teams to fully understand marketing needs or their specific use cases for the data they manage. CPDs bridge this gap, serving both the CMO and the CIO.
However, in order for CMOs to access the real value of CDPs, we need to remember they play three key roles: ensuring cooperation between teams, improving optimization use cases and offering better segmentation. A CDP necessitates cooperation between different teams because it’s meant to break down silos and provide a single source of truth that everyone in the organization can draw from. Through that source of truth, marketers can keep track of which channels and strategies are performing particularly well and optimize accordingly. Finally, CDPs unlock superior targeting capabilities that allow businesses to provide personalized experiences that resonate with their customers’ needs and interests.
Salesforce Data Cloud, for example, combines the data from Google and The Trade Desk to activate audience insights beyond messaging, journeys and onsite personalization into a brand’s search and digital media campaigns. Plus, it funnels a nearly infinite amount of dynamic data to Customer 360 in real-time. This allows for deeper audience engagement, as customer data is continuously updating and feeding audio, OOH, app, web campaigns and everything in between.
Interested in implementing a CDP? Assess your readiness.
So, you’ve installed clear governance standards around your interactions with consumers and aligned both the CMO and CIO on the importance of having one source of truth. Are you ready to start extracting meaningful customer insights? Not just yet. First, you’ll need to follow a few initial steps to ensure a successful implementation of the CDP:
- Outcome alignment: start by workshopping the priority use cases to deliver the minimum viable product. This needs to be a cross-functional exercise that ideates, quantifies and prioritizes use cases.
- Identity resolution strategy: build the identity graph that allows a customer profile to be stitched together to form a single customer view.
- Data model: design a consistent global measurement framework.
- Team vision: make sure the CDP is coupled with a clear strategic vision and the right team to extract its full potential. This team should include champions from different departments, system integration partners, executive sponsors and operational users.
- Implementation plan: develop the operational model. For a customer data platform to be implemented seamlessly into a business, pre-built integrations are essential. Establish which integrations are required and use this to choose a CDP solution that suits your operational needs.
All things considered, CDPs shouldn’t be thought of as “set and forget,” but rather “implement and optimize.” A CDP like Salesforce Data Cloud can provide a wealth of benefits for a business, from more efficient data management to improved customer experiences. By setting a clear governance process and taking into account key considerations before implementation, businesses can ensure that they are ready for both the benefits and the responsibilities that come with utilizing a CDP.
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