What Is A Customer Data Platform? CDPs Explained

10 January 2022

By: Natalie Waite, Chief Experience Officer

Category: Blogs

Developments in technology over the last decade have drastically shifted the way that users interact with businesses, placing customers at the heart of experiences to offer tailored interactions that drive conversions. Sourcing the right tools to deliver this is therefore more important than ever before, particularly in a post-pandemic world where businesses must adapt their strategies in order to stay relevant.

A customer data platform (CDP) is a key building block in creating a first-class

customer experiencewith many organisations now turning their attention to prioritising CDP investments. Here, we explain what a CDP is, its fundamental capabilities and discuss the essential role it plays in creating engaging experiences for consumers.

What is a CDP?

A CDP is a packaged software solution that provides a single unified view of a customer database. It’s accessible to other systems so CDPs capture data from several platforms and collate them in one place to provide a comprehensive view of every customer.

By linking information related to each individual, this data is then stored and tracked over time in order to better inform future interactions like targeted messaging and personalisation. This allows for a deeper understanding of consumer habits over time making CDPs are an integral tool in informing marketing strategy.

What capabilities does a CDP offer?

CDPs can vary considerably, from the type of data they record to how they unify customer information. However, Gartner’s Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms 2020 suggests that the priority when selecting a CDP should be that its a marketer-friendly ‘web-based interface’ that has the following features:

Accessible – Marketers should be able to oversee the day-to-day running of the CDP with minimal support from IT departments.

Data collection – CDPs should provide the ability to record first-party data in real-time from several sources for long periods and with no limit on storage. This includes collection of information on everything from preferred channels to session and loyalty data. 

Profile unification – The capacity to gather data from several sources such as CRM and email and consolidate them into unique profiles.

Segmentation – A web-based UI that allows marketers to create and manage segments, from basic rule-based segmentation to advanced automated segment discovery and predictive analytics. The enabling of segmentation allows for enhanced personalisation, audience filtering and promotion of products.

Activation – The capability to send segments, with guidance on how to initiate them and engagement tools to trigger email, mobile and social media campaigns.

Benefits of a CDP

With such intelligent functionalities, CDPs present a number of benefits. They can enhance the lives of both consumers and brands. Namely, they offer:

One consolidated view – Connecting data points across platforms to give a 360 view of users allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of customer journeys and the top-performing channels.

Optimised customer experience – CDPs are a central part in delivering a more seamless customer experience and help create a more consistent journey by aggregating data across touch points.

Enhanced interconnectivity – Making information accessible between technologies and through the business helps ensure that intelligence is spread across channels and streamlines internal processes, saving valuable time that would otherwise be spent on integration tasks.


 Establishing your requirements for a CDP

Naturally, finding the right solution will depend on several factors depending on your specific business needs. Before choosing your CDP it’s worth pinning down your priority or most common use cases so that you fully understand the functionalities that you’ll need from your platform and how it can best support you.

Example use cases might cover a range of needs, such as:

  • A large amount of customer data stored across several databases could be hindering your ability to act on opportunities quickly.
  • You might want to combine online and offline data such as behavioural and transactional to gain a 360 view of your customers.
  • You’d like to optimise your segmentation processes

One you have finalised your use cases it’s then worth defining your required tools and any other key features you want to hone in on, such as security or identity attribution. With this information you can narrow down your search and ensure that all of your needs will be met.

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Ready to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can harness Sitecore CDP to drive more meaningful interactions, get in touch with us today. As Sitecore platinum partners we’re best placed to advise on how best to use this intelligent platform to transform marketing strategies.

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