Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a technology that many businesses are using to capture, analyse and leverage their customers’ data to advantage. With the partners opening their own E-stores online, this technology can be of great use to them.
CDP includes essentially three stages – collection of customer profiles and behavioural data as reflected on an online and offline platform, corroborating this data to give analytics about the customer’ behavioural and preferential insights, which can then be used to draw the customer to other channels using other tools and apps. It is an integrated technology to increase sales using advanced new technology.
Recently, CDP has been growing in popularity with online platforms and there has been a rush to install CDP on the online platforms in order to achieve business growth. However, an understanding of CDP is still not very deep among its potential users.
CDP and Marketing Analytics
Recently, Resulticks, an omni-channel marketing automation company that uses AI-driven analytics, held a webinar panel discussion to illustrate the uses of CDP and to discuss some of its use cases on the topic Why CDP is Integral to Enhancing Marketing ROI.
Srinivas Jain, Executive Director & CMO, SBI Mutual Funds, Praveen Shrikande, Chief Digital Officer, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, Mani Gopalaratnam, CTO, Resulticks were the panelists.
Srinivas Jain, Executive Director & CMO, SBI Mutual Funds said, “Our business has become digital more than ever before since 2016. Today we’re almost 100% digital. We have around 10 million customers. We are trying to look at CDP from the perspective of merging and analysing data. We have captured the footprints of our customers, both structured and unstructured. The cross-channel orchestration issue is a bigger issue today. Largely, the data management and analytics is largely to understand our own business. We are a financial product company. What goes into the product gives us insights about our customers. We have to interpret from the actions of our customers what kind of products they want. Hopefully, CDP should be a fast journey for us because we have started building data lakes and capturing data internally.”
Collaboration, not Competition
“We are giving our tech products to our Fintech partners and we allow them to sell to the customers without even naming us. We’ve given to them tools and apps, completely white-labelled, fully supported by us in the backend.”
— Srinivas Jain, Executive Director & CMO, SBI Mutual Funds
Srinivas Jain went on to show how SBI Mutual Funds helped its partner Fintech platforms to grow by giving them its own tech and analytics advantage. He said, “Traditionally, products are built with traditional marketing strategies as brands and if the brand doesn’t do well, it’s believed that it’s because the product is not good and not because of lack of communication with the customers. Secondly, it’s important to be ready to do experiments. Fintechs are being built every day. That’s why even the old brands are trying to work in the changed environment, going digital and focus on marketing. We have built customer base and we don’t have to advertise on frontline media to get customers. Our bank has a customer base of 400 million. For us the customer is in-house. So what we really need to find more customers from within these 400 millions for our new products for every branch. That’s where the technology is going to help us a lot. We have gone and partnered with the Fintechs. And we’re moving from products play to platform play by building all these tech architecture. We are also giving our tech products to our Fintech partners and we allow them to sell to the customers without even naming us. We’ve given to them tools and apps, completely white-labelled, fully supported by us in the backend. We were the first asset managers to get our WhatsApp bots. Our partners felt that were competing with them. Then we decided to give the bots to all our partners. We have the ability to deal with the customers directly, but we also deal with them through B2B environment.”
He further added, “We are capturing so much of data points, we are not able to intelligently barge through and make a good solution out of that. But we have analytical tools giving me insights where I can go right, it is not an actionable tool like CDP. We have helped our partners on their data with our technology. We have given the insights gathered from our customers and helped our partners to understand their customers on their portals. There’s a lot that we can do and CDP should be one of those tools with which we can achieve more.”
From CRM to CDP
Praveen Shrikande, Chief Digital Officer, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, described his organisation’s journey from being a CRM-driven organisation to a CDP-driven organisation. He said, “We have more than 20 different brands across customer segments. We started our journey with CRM database, by building our loyalty programmes. This built the whole platform of customer information. When we began our online interface for customers, we started getting more data about our customers. This is when CDP became important. At the organisational level, we wanted to build a platform where we can capture our entire customer database and leverage it to engage better with customers. Apart from the customers’ profiles, we wanted to know our sale data. We also take feedback from our customers which we bring to our master database. We also captured our products information. We want to know about our customers’ purchase behaviour and preferences. We are working on changing the customer journey, so that we can know the customer when they walk into the platform. We also try to get the past purchase history and any feedback that the customer might have given. We are able to get all this data and leverage it for our future campaigns.”
He added, “The realisation has to come for the marketing professionals about the value of technologies such as CDP. Our marketing leaders are aligned on this journey. Our customers’ behaviour on one brand can help us to target them for another brand as well. Our goal is to get more data. Today we’re largely leveraging internal data and structured data. We’re not yet leveraging the entire browsing data which could give us a lot more insight. We’re working on getting that data which will then become actionable.”
Mani Gopalaratnam, CTO, Resulticks, explained that CDP is not just a database. It’s an actionable platform where Sales and Marketing professionals can bring their clients and can get the analytics of their actions and behavior patterns. It helps to build the brand. When we are getting millions of customers on a platform, we can’t deal with each visit personally. We need a technology like CDP to track these visits and get analytics about their behavior. A data lake is a massive scalable storage of data. But you need to run processes on top to get the analytics. Data lake alone doesn’t give analytics. On the other hand, CDP and DMP are interlinked concepts. CDP deals with persona-based anonymous data. It helps us to understand the third party data.
“CDP deals with persona-based anonymous data. It helps us to understand the third party data.”
— Mani Gopalaratnam, CTO, Resulticks
He further elaborated that CDP also facilitates engagement with the customer in the remote environment such as during lockdown. It helps to nudge the customer when the customer is not engage with the platform. CDP can also do data mining to identify different individuals in a household who may have used a common phone number to make a purchase.
Is CDP an Analytics Wonder?
With a strong stress on data collection, data analytics and data management, the question of data privacy naturally comes to the fore. A good CDP is one which takes care of the following –
- Helping to collect first-party, second-party and third-party data.
- Monitoring changes to your database with immediate signals.
- Enforcing the organisation’s and the country’s data privacy policies with privacy checks.
- Keeping your data clean and accurate.
Gartner in a report stated that CDPs movement through the Hype Cycle has slowed due to mounting confusion on the saturation and variety of vendors, and feature overlap with similar technologies. Attempts to differentiate based on auxiliary features — such as customer journey design and optimisation, rule-based attribution, final-mile campaign execution and website personalisation — highlight redundancy with other, more mature marketing technologies.
To sum up, merely installing CDP is not enough to ensure business growth. One has to continuously track the changing influences that CDP signals and one has to integrate it with the newer evolving technologies. Further, an organisation installing CDP has to respect its customer’s data privacy and data security rights. Only with these safeguards can the CDP give positive results.