A Customer Data Platform, commonly called CDP, is a native or assembled software that creates a persistent and unified view of customers that is accessible to and actionable by other systems.
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The rise of CDPs
Today, brands and organizations worldwide aim to deliver quality and innovative products to their customers through superior experiences.
At the same time, the same brands and organizations struggle to keep up with customer expectations, a wide range of technologies to choose from, rising data governance needs, and how to use AI to scale their business. At the heart of all these expectations and challenges is data.
Understanding customers is one of the top challenges CMO and CIO offices have. With Data becoming a commodity, it has also increased in volume, variety, and velocity. Meanwhile, businesses are also calling for better ways to collect, ingest, and unify data, put governance and privacy standards and rules in place, and activate it to execute real-time experiences at the right time when customers expect them. For the past decade, traditional data management systems have shown their age to face these new challenges, and it is not surprising to see a new paradigm shift in how data should be handled today. CDPs have been on the rise for quite some time, with the promise of addressing these now commonly found challenges in most organizations. According to IDC's Worldwide Customer Data Platform Forecast Research report, the CDP market will grow from $1.3 billion in 2020 to $3.2 billion in 2025.
What business problems do CDPs solve?
As organizations create this unified and actionable view of their customers using a CDP, they can expect to solve some of the following business problems:
Customer recognition: Today, customers engage with brands across multiple channels, screens, and locations, and it is a common challenge for brands to recognize them across the board when their customers expect them to. Using several core CDP capabilities such as data collection, identity graph, and data governance, brands can expect to see substantial improvements in how customers are recognized and engaged to in a more personalized way.
Campaign management: Campaign management has traditionally been defined as planning, designing, executing, and analyzing a marketing initiative. Using CDPs, brands can not only supercharge their ambitions but also explore unique new opportunities such as Journey Orchestration which puts customers at the center of every interaction. Some examples include Cart abandonment, location-based engagements, post-call center experiences. See Campaign Management vs. Customer Journey Orchestration for more on that.
Real-time personalization: In a time where customer engagements are delivered in real-time, having fresh, accessible, and actionable data is paramount. As CDPs provide a rich and unified view of customers (customer profiles), this view should also be available and accessible to any system within the organization for real-time customer engagements with the right message and offer at their center. This allows brands to leverage the latest customer data and signal to personalize their marketing campaigns and customer experiences.
Customer scoring: It is crucial to understand customers at different stages of their experiences with the brands they interact with. Organizations can use CDP's AI capabilities to model and create propensity scores such as conversion, ability to buy, churn, win-back, and more. These scores can also be computed in real-time to have the most up-to-date understanding of where each customer is and to tailor the rest of their experience accordingly.
Customer pathing: With data coming from different sources, it becomes increasingly difficult for brands to have a complete and crisp view of their customers' paths during their engagements. Using a CDP, brands can expect to extract customer insights, explore an end-to-end visualization of the entire customer journey using all available data sets and helping them find solutions to pressing business issues.