The more personalized the better, why you need a Customer Data Platform

6 minutes read

Customer Data Platform

From the very beginning of business, marketers have reached out to their community to create demand for their products and services. The larger the group of people you can reach in one placement, the more value you can get from a certain channel. The reach of marketing channels has been expanding over time; starting with newspaper ads and local radio reaching a region to new ad networks such as Facebook and Google reaching half the globe. And not only the reach is expanding, the insights into the audience, as measured in actual data about the individuals, is growing. Using this information, you can create very specific segmentations that will allow marketers to target those profiles that are highly relevant and receptive to your information.

If you are able to build your own database of individuals, and keep learning to know these people, you will be able to create very focused segments. And when combined with real-time data about behavior this could lead to the holy grail of a “segment of one”. Where every person will be treated as their own segment, being informed with a completely personal message, at a personal place and time through a personal channel. 

Information overload: Every day, we process 376 newspapers of information 

The amount of information all of us need to process is getting larger continuously. Martin Hilbert of the University of California estimated in 2010 that “in 1986 we received around 40 newspapers full of information every day but this had rocketed to 174 in 2007”. That is a growth of over 7% per year, so each year we process a few additional newspapers every day. Extrapolating this linearly to 2018 it would mean we all process the equivalent of 376 newspapers each day.  

“Every day, we process 376 newspapers of information” 

In their 2014 report “The digital universe of opportunities” IDC estimates that “by 2020 [the digital universe] contain[s] nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the [physical] universe. It is doubling in size every two years, and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes.” So with an annual growth rate of 36%, the amount of data in the world growing even faster than we can process it. To get a real-time look into the data that is being generated every second browse around on http://www.internetlivestats.com/

The more personalized the better

So our brains are swamped with information every day, how do we manage to get by? That is because our brain incorporate some great attention filters. A good example of this was popularized by Colin Cherry’s “Cocktail Party Problem”; how can a partygoer focus on a single conversation in a noisy room? That is because your brain applies selective filtering to all information that your senses take in. And only the things that are relevant to you, because you care or it threatens you, will be noted consciously. 

This filtering system also filters all the information that is presented to us in every day live. Only the bits of information that mean something to us are kept, the others are ignored. To come full circle again, as a marketer, how can you increase the chance that your communications are not excluded by these filters? Make sure that your communication is relevant to the person that is receiving it. The more personalized the better. 

The Customer Data Platform allows you to build in-depth profiles 

The Customer Data Platform (CDP) brings all your marketing data together to build a full (360 degree) profile of the customers. This has been the promise of many marketing data solutions, but only since recently using Big Data technology and open API’s we are now able to deliver on this vision. 

With access to rich profiles, your CDP can orchestrate and automate communication with your customers or prospects. The finer grained your understanding of a person is, the better you can target them with information that is relevant within the context they currently are in. Truly connecting over topics of interest. And it should be a conversation instead of a marketing push, there should be an opportunity to respond. This will help us to get to the promise of a segment of one, because every conversation can be geared towards every individual, at their terms.  

A CDP is not a CRM or DMP 

Often, people get confused within the large landscape of marketing-tech and think their CRM or DMP can deliver on these promises. This is usually not the case. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software contains much less data from external sources than a CDP. They are much more geared towards sales, and require sales reps reaching out to customers and prospects to take note of their conversations. A Data Management Platform (DMP) contains unpersonalised data that is usually collected by large ad networks tracking online click behavior. A DMP is used to target online ads, this as opposed to a CDP that contains personalized data and is used to target personal communication.  

Store more than just names and e-mail addresses 

Theoretically, everything that is personalised can be stored and added to the specific customer profiles. If it cannot be tied to a person in any way, the data cannot be added to a profile and will not increase your effectiveness. We usually see data from one of the categories below: 

  • Personal information. For example: name, address, country of residence, data of birth 
  • Contact information, such as e-mail address, mobile phone number, Facebook id (PSId), WhatsApp enabled? Consent management should be included as well. 
  • Transactional or eCommerce data, such as purchase value, products, sizes, shop location, customer value, basket abandonment etc. But also using loyalty cards or coupons connecting the bricks visitor to her clicks online. 
  • Web and behavioral data, such as pageviews, clicks, apps used, buttons clicked. Think of the Google Analytics of a single person. 
  • Satisfaction scores from reviews, inquiries, feedback forms, NPS, CSAT, etc.  
  • Contextual information, such as the weather, holidays, income based on postal codes, credit risk scores are typically used to enrich the data events. 

In general, this data is called first party data, or “your data”. High in value, real-time and personalised. As opposed to second or third-party data, which is usually bought or accessed through data marketplaces or ad exchanges. Such data is not personalized and can only be used for category or interest targeting.  

Creating a stadium experience 

Imagine running a soccer team. You have two major revenue drivers: seats & sponsoring. As a commercial director you want to fill the stadium to capacity and get most out of sponsorship deals you set up. About 81% of your stadium is filled by seasonal ticket holders. How are you going to fill up the remaining seats? 

If you know who previously visited matches, and the conditions (weather, opponent, seat type, etc.) in which they visit, you can reach out to the audience that is most likely to repeat that visit. Perhaps we know a certain John who visited the same match last year, you know that game was won, and he stayed for the after party as you can see in his bar purchases. In this case we can reach out directly to John, informing him about the match coming up again and offering a small discount and quick ticket purchase link. If you would also be able to persuade him to bring in friend and/or come early you can increase the financial value of his visit. And this can be automated to reach out to a large group of fans. 

This is a great innovation in a market where sports teams usually don’t even know who most of their fans are. And think of the possibilities where you can build with these type of solutions. And the benefits not only pertain to the sports industry, we see great examples in leisure, retail and e-commerce.  

So to wrap up, we all have too much information to process. So our brains are on heavy filter mode. To reach our audience you need to pass through the filters by being very, very, very relevant. A Customer Data Platform is your tool to help you to achieve this. It stores all your marketing data into profiles, and you can use these profiles to orchestrate meaning conversations with your customers. If you want to discuss the possibilities for your organization feel free to contact us for an introductory call.

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About the author

Cas Schalkx is Product Manager at CM.com and helps companies to use communication technology and make a meaningful conversation with their audience.

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