CMOs — Customer Data Platforms are your new best friend

Campaign recently carried out a survey of more than 100 global CMOs and marketing executives, in order to determine what the biggest challenges facing marketers today are.

The results were as follows:

  • 57% felt hindered in their ability to carry out broad digital transformation
  • 22% felt their data and analytics capabilities were lacking
  • 13% were unable to improve targeting and personalisation
  • 10% endeavoured to build better marketing automations
  • 9% wished to better understand their customer journeys

Marketers undeniably face a wide array of challenges, but the above priorities demonstrate that understanding and leveraging customer data is key in each and everyone one of these. It is therefore unsurprising that the Customer Data Platform (CDP) — with its ability to address those challenges cited above — is fast becoming the ‘heartbeat of modern marketing’. (McKinsey, 2017)

What is it?

First and foremost, a Customer Data Platform– as the name implies — unifies data from an array of sources for example your CRM, mobile, transactional, website, email and third-party data, to name a few. It audits, integrates and stitches data from these sources to form a ‘single source of truth’ for all customer data, on a platform designed to maintain the highest levels of data integrity Bringing together fragmented data silos in this manner ensures that the customer profile is being captured in the most complete way possible, which is essential for deriving true customer insights and more accurate analytics.

Customer Data Platforms additionally plug into a wide range of marketing automation and performance tools, and marketing performance tools. Leveraging consolidated customer data in this way, combined with seamless integrations with visualisation and reporting tools, mean Customer Data Platforms are more able to assist CMOs in using their customer data to understand their business, and empower their teams.

The best way to demonstrate this point, is to look at how the Customer Data Platform solution aligns directly with the priorities CMOs detailed in the above report….

1. Wish to better understand their customer journeys

Siloed data not only prevents a holistic view of the customer, but they also turn the customer journey into a series of disconnected campaigns. It is near impossible to successfully implement a marketing strategy with only a partial view of this journey. The CDP, however, enables CMOs to view the customer journey from a customer’s perspective, a view that cuts across functions and channels. This holistic view of the customer journey empowers CMOs and their marketing department to fully understand what parts of the journey are, and aren’t, performing. From this, they are given the visibility to appropriately strategize what actions needs to be taken to improve.

2. Hindered in their ability to carry out broad digital transformation

Overhauling their digital environment was key to over half of the CMOs in Campaign’s survey. But when asked what comes first — the data or the transformation — it seems counterintuitive to carry out digital transformation before you’ve got your data sorted. Data drives both digital and offline, and without it being cleaned and collated in the Customer Data Platform, digital transformation is limited to channel only optimisation. However, once this is achieved, you are opening up a world of possibilities for digital transformation — We find that the biggest practical application of this is being able to adopt a data driven approach to marketing channel attribution. With the Customer Data Platform combining your streams of siloed data you’re able to understand how the myriad of touch points across multiple channels in a complex customer journey each contribute to a conversion, accurately assigning a value to each.

3. Endeavoured to build better marketing automations

A Customer Data Platform makes data available to a number of systems and applications, including marketing automation tools (e.g. Pardot or Marketo), real-time product recommendation engines, campaign and customer journey management software and performance marketing tools (e.g. Kenshoo or Marin). Marketers can therefore seamlessly integrate the CDP with their marketing software of choice, to build campaigns and send emails and display ads on both web and mobile. Additionally, a CDP allows you to automatically pull or push results to 3rd party reporting and visualisation tools — enabling the CMO to get a thorough understanding of their campaign successes.

4. Unable to improve targeting and personalisation

An immediate outshoot from this full view of the customer journey is the ability to target and personalise appropriately. It’s quite simple logic really — a more granular understanding of your customers and their journeys enables marketers to create more personalised experienced. Granular interactions help marketers understand how content is performing, whilst machine learning models sit on top of the Customer Data Platform to help ensure the right content is pushed to the right customer, at the right point in their journey, increasing customer satisfaction and driving conversions. Ultimately, being able to accurately track the activities of your customers, provides a clearer understanding of their needs and wants, leading to more successful targeting.