Customer Data Platform


Customer Data Platform Customer Data Platform
Table of Contents

Wonder why after you search for a particular product on the internet, you’re bombarded by recommendations almost every time you’re on the web? Or, after you add a product to your cart but leave without making a purchase, it keeps showing up before you every time you’re surfing the internet? 

There’s no Math. Rather, it’s quite simple: The brand that you just interacted with just integrated all your touchpoints on a customer data platform (CDP) and is trying to sell their product to you based on your actions.

Now, if you run a business that offers goods & services, you might want to learn more about CDPs. That’s what we’re going to help you with. Let’s start with the basics before we delve into the specifics. 

What is a Customer Data Platform?

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a software that combines data from multiple sources to create a single centralized view of the customer containing data on all touch-points and interactions with your product or service. That database can then be segmented in a nearly endless number of ways to create more personalized marketing campaigns.

What information is included in Customer Data Platform?

Customer data is required for CDPs to work. For most CDPs, this customer data is first-party data, which means it was obtained by a firm and is exclusively used for that company’s marketing.

Third-party data, as opposed to first-party data (info gathered directly from the client), is user data that corporations purchase and/or exchange with other organizations.

Third-party data is commonly used to target new prospective users for advertising, customize webpages for net new visitors, and monetize apps that do not have another income stream. Given how frequently third-party data moves hands, determining whether it was gathered with consent is difficult.

That is less probable with first-party data since you will know exactly how, when, where, and why you gathered your data. When assessing data accuracy, these are critical concerns to address.

Through a process known as customer data integration, CDPs take your first-party data and make it relevant to you. This sort of data integration entails integrating information and identifiers from many databases into a useable format for more precise analysis.

If you’re planning to employ a CDP, you should understand how CDPs use consumer data. This will enable you to make the most of your consumer data.

What is Customer Data?

Customer data is information consumers leave behind as they use the internet and interact with companies online and offline: through websites, blogs, e-commerce portals, and in-store interactions. 

There are four main kinds of customer data that Customer Data Platforms collect and organize.

  1. Identity Data

Identity data builds the foundation of each customer profile in a CDP. This type of data allows businesses to uniquely identify each customer and prevent costly replications. Identity data includes: 

Name information, such as first and last name

Demographic information, such as age and gender

Location information, such as an address, city, and zip code

Contact information, such as phone number and email address

Social information, such as Twitter handle and LinkedIn address

Professional information, such as job title and company

Account information, such as company-specific user IDs and account numbers

  1. Descriptive Data

Descriptive data expands on identity data and gives you a fuller picture of your customer. The categories of descriptive data will vary based on the type of company.

For example, a car dealership may collect lifestyle details about their customers’ cars, whereas a diaper company would collect details about the number of children in customers’ families. 

Descriptive data includes

Career information, such as previous employers, industry, income, and job levels

Lifestyle information, such as the type of home, vehicle, and pet

Family information, such as the number of children and marital status

Hobby information, such as magazine subscriptions and gym memberships

  1. Quantitative or Behavioral Data

Quantitative data allows businesses to understand how each customer has engaged with their organization, whether through certain actions, reactions, or transactions. Quantitative data includes

  • Transaction information, such as the number and type of purchased or returned products, the number of abandoned carts, and order dates
  • This information also includes RFM analysis — recency (How recent did this customer make a purchase?), frequency (How often does this customer make a purchase?), and monetary value (How much does this customer spend on a purchase?)
  • Email communication information, such as email opens, email click-throughs, email responses, and dates
  • Online activity information, such as website visits, website click-throughs, product views, and social media engagement
  • Customer services information, such as communication dates, query details, and service representative details
  1. Qualitative Data

Qualitative data provides context for customer profiles; it gives customer data personality. This type of data collects any motivations, opinions, or attitudes expressed by a business’s customers — whether relevant to the company or not. Qualitative data include: 

Motivation information, such as How did you hear about us? Why did you purchase this?, or What made you choose this product over others?

Opinion information, such as How would you rate this product? How would you rate our customer service?, or How likely are you to recommend us?

Attitude information, such as favorite color, animal, textile, or food 

As you can see, CDPs collect and organize a wide variety of data. It’s important to note that much of the specific data and data categories will vary based on your business and industry.

How to choose the best Customer Data Platform?

Choosing the proper CDP for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. You can’t just choose your CDP at random. You must pick a CDP that meets your exact needs, has similar use cases, and has previous experience dealing with firms in your sector.

Step 1: Involve stakeholders in the process

Before you even pick which CDPs to analyze, you must involve internal stakeholders in the process. 

At this stage, you should ask yourself, “Who else gathers data that your CDP will handle?”

You don’t need each stakeholder to evaluate each CDP individually, but you will need their opinion on various aspects of the purchasing process. At the absolute least, speak with each stakeholder and explain why you want to buy a CDP and what you intend to gain from it.

Step 2: Create use cases

Before determining which CDP is ideal for your firm, there is one more major question you must address: What is your motivation for wanting to employ a CDP?

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you need a CDP because it would combine your data into a single customer database, but what exactly are you trying to gain from that? Consolidating your data will not make you a more data-driven organization. It’s simply a small step in the right direction. To select the best CDP, you must first determine your use cases.

Here are a few examples of the most typical applications:

  • Completely comprehending our consumer journey
  • Making our website more tailored for our customers
  • Developing more focused multichannel advertising campaigns
  • Bringing together online and offline data

Spend some time researching prospective CDPs after you’ve established your use cases. Examine their website, read product evaluations, and speak with coworkers at other organizations who utilize these technologies. Is your ideal use case compatible with the work of any of these companies? If so, establish a list of those businesses. At this stage, it’s likely to be a lengthy list.

Step 3: Identify the tools required

Make a list of all the tools that interact with your consumer in some manner. Website tools, CRM systems, real-time live chat, payment processors, email platforms, and help desk solutions are just a few examples.

At this stage, verify with your other stakeholders to ensure that you haven’t overlooked any key tools that will need to be connected.

Most of the time, we see consumers begin with:

  • Google Analytics is one example of an analytics tool.
  • Facebook, for example, provides advertising capabilities.
  • Intercom, for example, is a customer success and live chat application.
  • Looker is a business intelligence tool.
  • Redshift and other data warehouses

Once you’ve identified the tools you’ll require, check to see if the CDPs you’re considering already have those integrations. If one doesn’t have the bulk of the tools you need, it’s out of the running. This step may significantly reduce the size of your list.

Step 4: Compile prerequisites

A CDP is more than just a tool to combine data and address use cases. You must also consider the other requirements for your CDP. Requirements vary from use cases in that a requirement is more like a feature than an outcome.

Assume that one of your needs is that the CDP you select should assist you in gaining a thorough grasp of each piece of data that you’re gathering. To do this, you’ll need a CDP who can assist you in developing a data-tracking strategy.

Step 5: Evaluate vendors

You should now have a short list of CDPs that match your use cases, have the appropriate integrations, and fulfill all of your needs. It’s now time to compare each CDP. Don’t think about price just yet. We’ll get to that in the following phase.

If you’ve concluded that all of the CDPs under consideration have the necessary experience, it’s time to dig a little further. Check that each CDP has:

  • A track record of successfully completing the use cases you established in Step 2.
  • A data compliance solution. Because CDPs manage data, they should help you comply with the GDPR or the CCPA.
  • The most appropriate integrations for your current and future use cases. Is each CDP continually adding new integrations to their integration catalog?
  • Excellent customer service to help you set up, use and maintain your CDP. 

Step 6: Think about ROI

The third factor to examine is the ROI of the CDPs you’re examining. ROI does not imply that you should go with the lowest alternative. It’s more about determining which choice will provide you with the best value. How do you calculate the number before deciding on a CDP?

One of the most compelling reasons to utilize a CDP is the expense. A good CDP should minimize the amount of time your engineers spend establishing tool integrations, which may result in significant cost savings.

That is why you must plan ahead of time to assess expenditures and analyze ROI. If you pick a CDP that does not provide your engineering team with the greatest amount of time savings, the expense may not be worth it.

What are the benefits of a Customer Data Platform?

 Single View of the Customer 

CDPs are purpose-built to collect data from a wide range of sources, unify it together to form a comprehensive view of the customer across devices and channels, and then make that data available to other systems. That view of the customer can move with your business and customers to wherever it needs to be.

  1. Agility

A CDP provides organizations a tool to build and connect a flexible technology stack that adapts to ever-changing consumer behavior and changing technology trends. By focusing on the data foundation, CDPs give businesses tools to collect data from everywhere and use it anywhere to drive better customer experiences.

  1. Democratization of Data

The value of customer data extends throughout any business. Marketing, business intelligence, customer service, and beyond all depend on the availability of data to drive the business forward. A CDP democratizes access to and the ability to leverage customer data across organizational departments and customer touchpoints.

  1. More Effective Customer Experience and Marketing

Customers are using more channels and devices than ever and have high expectations for being delivered a consistent customer experience. Customers do not like when they have advertised a product online that they’ve purchased in-store. With a CDP in place, organizations gain a complete view of customer behavior that can be used to drive the most comprehensive customer experience possible without blind spots.

  1. Operational Efficiency

The task of integrating point solutions and setting up new technologies and tools used to be resource-intensive, while also not being very reliable as custom solutions can be hard to maintain. CDPs centralize customer data with maintained turnkey integrations saving hours of integration work. Also, audiences and business rules are set up centrally in one place and can be applied across various tools saving huge amounts of duplicated effort.

Without customers, there is no business. They truly belong at the center of all that you do, especially your marketing, and in order to place them front and center, you need real customer data.

Customer Data Platforms deliver the immediacy, accuracy, and unity that you need to keep aligning your organizations, inspiring your marketing, and engaging your customers. 


The more tools and data you have, the more vital using a customer data platform becomes. If your business has many teams or departments, each with their own set of tools that store customer interaction data, you most certainly have data silos that are hindering you from getting the most out of your data. Furthermore, if you are experiencing data integrity difficulties, a CDP may assist you with standardizing data collection, cleaning, and diagnostics in order to increase dependability and accuracy.

Net Promoter®, NPS®, NPS Prism®, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score℠ and Net Promoter System℠ are service marks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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