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Why you need an enterprise customer data platform

Unlock new levels of personalization at scale and deliver exceptional customer experiences with an enterprise CDP.

The key to driving impactful customer interactions

We’ve entered a new era of customer engagement, and it’s fraught with tension. Marketers are expected to know their customers and anticipate moment-to-moment needs. Yet, they also must protect the privacy of personal data and comply with changing standards.

In this environment, success depends on developing a rich portrait of every customer who finds your brand. Achieving this means bringing in new business while retaining more of the customers you already have. Missteps with either audience erodes trust in a flash, often before you realize what’s happened.

The enterprise customer data platform (CDP) has become an essential addition to any business tech stack in managing today’s customer engagement challenges and applies to various use cases.

It offers organizations the ability to create a 360-degree view of their customers, enabling them to make data-driven decisions, deliver personalized experiences, and bridge raw and scattered data with organized information that drives impactful marketing and customer interactions.

This article covers the basics of how advanced CDPs can efficiently analyze, streamline, and leverage customer data to drive personalized marketing strategies, how this popular marketing technology fits into the landscape of enterprise IT, and the main business benefits of implementing such a solution.

What is an enterprise customer data platform?

The CDP is enterprise-scale software that uses API-based data connectors to continuously monitor data from e-commerce storefronts, social media channels, email systems, activations, and other data sources to create a unified customer database and deliver an omnichannel customer experience.

In this database, each customer interacting with your brand has one profile reflecting all the various communications over time. Through a process called customer data integration, this information is ingested, standardized, and transformed, by matching individual customer identities from each system (identity resolution) and becomes available to other systems in the IT stack, from CRM software to analytics dashboards.

As a result, the real power of an enterprise data platform is that it breaks down data silos to unlock the full potential of your customer insights. A CDP enables everyone in the organization to work from the same set of facts, whether it’s a customer support agent or a marketing team developing new campaigns.

It tracks demographics, attributes, and patterns of behavior and activates customer insights in real time to trigger personalized experiences automatically – at the precise moment when they are most relevant. No more guessing the key churn drivers or falling one step behind as your audience wanders along the customer journey.

Key considerations

CDPs can be deployed on-premises or procured in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. All CDPs are not the same, however, so you’ll want to consider this list of key features when evaluating possible solutions:

  • Is the CDP accessible to marketing professionals with minimal technical support needed from the IT department?
  • Does the CDP collect data from multiple sources, then merge and scrub it to remove duplicate profiles?
  • Does this solution have a web-based user interface that supports audience segmentation?
  • Will adding a CDP to the martech stack provide the ability to share customer data across channels, including email, social, web, and mobile apps?
  • Is the system AI-enabled, so it can look ahead and anticipate customer needs before they materialize?

Once the CDP is in place and adopted widely throughout the business, teams will see dramatic improvements in revenue, privacy compliance, and the ability of marketers to make more informed decisions that are anchored in real data points. Let’s explore these benefits.

Using audience data to increase revenue

By pulling together zero-, first-, and third-party data, CDPs create comprehensive customer profiles that drive increased revenue through personalization and segmentation. Here’s how they work at a high level:

Personalization: Pulling from a diverse data pool, the customer data platform centralizes data and builds a comprehensive portrait of each consumer, capturing customer behaviors, preferences, and histories across all touchpoints — online and offline. With these rich profiles at the ready, brands can engage customers with personalized content and unique experiences that resonate deeply.

Segmentation: Using machine learning and AI, enterprise data platforms enable businesses to classify audiences into highly specific segments. Every marketing campaign, email, or advertisement can be tailored to the nth degree, ensuring relevancy and heightened engagement.

As you can imagine, once you’ve unleashed newfound capabilities of personalization and segmentation, you can launch multichannel campaigns to attract specific segments and discover the best ways to cross-sell and upsell to the right customer. Customer support improves, too, as teams evolve their approach from simply resolving issues to reinforcing brand loyalty and improving customer lifetime value through personalized care.

The CDP can even lead to a competitive advantage in new product and service development. With insights gleaned from an enterprise customer data platform, the business can refine its marketing efforts to align with customer expectations and needs, further solidifying its market position.

Ensure data compliance and security

Enterprise customer data platforms stand at the intersection of data privacy and personalization, giving marketers peace of mind as new global standards emerge. Whether it’s GDPR, CCPA, or other data protection regulations, enterprise data platforms are structured for responsible data management.

When you have a single profile for each customer, it’s quick to delete personal data when requested. And if you ever need to send a customer a report of their complete history with your brand, that also happens in an instant with a CDP. Beyond mere compliance, CDPs help offer insight into data usage, ensuring customers can understand how their data informs and improves the interactions they have with your brand.

Make decisions backed by data

It’s every marketer’s dream to eliminate guesswork and see data so granular that it becomes possible to serve up the exact right experience at precisely the right moment. An enterprise CDP turns that dream into reality. Every decision derives from a repository of analyzed, contextualized information. Instead of relying on intuition, you can look at tangible evidence and data-driven insights.

This is what competitive advantage looks like in the modern business world – unprecedented agility to respond at hyper speed to everything from global events to individual circumstances.

Drive growth with Sitecore’s customer data platform

Understandably, customers are losing patience with one-size-fits-all experinces. They expect their experiences to mirror their individual preferences, needs, and histories – and they are quick to go elsewhere when that expectation is unmet.

In this light, enterprise customer data platforms play a critical role in offering businesses a unified view of the customer and enabling them to be proactive instead of reactive in just about any situation — digital or in-person.

Sitecore is a pioneer in the enterprise customer data platform market with a solution that delivers real-time insights, bespoke segmentation, and a futureproof data collection strategy.

See our article on Building the business case for a CDP, and find out how Sitecore CDP uses analytics, decisioning, and experimentation to achieve a single customer view and shape the modern customer experience.

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