Brands today are looking to revive dormant customers, increase basket size, activate data anywhere, and identify lookalike audiences.
These goals, impeded by many of the challenges marketers currently face—data deprecation, pandemic-altered consumer behavior, engagement requirements escalating dramatically—are leading the drive for better marketing infrastructure and technology. But current options often don’t cut it, and marketers are increasingly finding data “dark spots” in their customer data platforms (CDPs).
For some marketers, these areas can be quite dark, and for others, they are a little dim. When implementing a CDP that is built not only for today but for the future, there are key considerations marketers need to have. Addressing the question of database optimization is an iterative process: You must take it step by step. Identifying the use cases and goals that you uniquely want to achieve with your CDP are crucial.
The types of challenges marketers can vary, but all negatively impact their ability to execute. By highlighting these areas, you will be better equipped to enact a strong CDP strategy.
1. Inaccurate identity of customers
You need a full view of customers to see their true identity. This is a foundational issue, and it’s one that the vast majority of CDP strategies struggle with.
Identity is more than just matching rules to put profiles together. It has a lot to do with making your data better: enriching it, making it smarter and easier for you to use, and ensuring you’re engaging with individual people—not cookies or devices. If you have a lot of data, implementing strong identity resolution, foundationally, becomes a critical component to make sure you put the right data together for the use cases that you need.
And that identity needs to take you further than simply matching profiles and records together. The best identity also serves as the foundation for high performance activation, enabling you to reach people wherever they consume media.
2. Limited customer attributes and interests
You need customer attributes to build audiences. Data fuels CDP solutions, and many brands source this data from all over.
But depending on the type of brand or the business you’re in, you may have a very limited aperture of the types of information and first-party data that you can collect or that consumers are willing to share with you. This data might look like transaction data, web behavior data, engagement around marketing channels that you’re working on, in-store data and more.
Is this sufficient to build the rich, individual-level profile that gets you a true understanding of the consumer? Not likely. Marketers need broader insights to understand who that consumer is and who they are in the wild when they’re by themselves and not interacting with your brand. Getting a rounder, more focused picture of your customer is crucial for the kind of effective activation you’re looking for. So, don’t be limited just by the data you can get your hands on or that you are able to get from consent preference with your customer.
3. Disconnected experiences
Customers expect a personalized experience when they engage with a brand. Marketing solutions focused on specific types of marketing channels or engagement strategies have been the norm for a while, but that’s becoming a problem. Marketers need the ability to look at a unified experience across customers, the channel teams that serve and engage them, and across the customer lifecycle, as well.
Marketers have opportunities to engage the customer across the customer lifecycle more deeply than ever have before, and if uniformity is prioritized in terms of consistency, they’re going to get the strongest outcomes. Marketers can build better trust and relationships with customers, which, at the end of the day, is the goal.
4. Outdated privacy and preferences
You need to know how, when and where to reach your customers. There are constantly changing technology issues, consumer behavior patterns and regulations that can be very challenging to keep up with. But it’s essential that staying on top of privacy needs is foundational to your first-party data strategy and your marketing around that.
If you make a misstep in this arena, the issues range from breaking trust in the relationship you have with individual customers all the way to creating a major problem for your business. Marketers of course can’t afford to do that, so they must make sure they have the best, most recent and up-to-date information.
5. Cracks in digital measurement and performance
You need to be confident that your marketing dollars are working. If marketers bring the right data together into an understanding of an individual customer profile, they must also include the measurement around the engagement work they do.
This is an area where it’s often hard to get what you need, particularly when working with partners like walled gardens that don’t often allow certain types of data to flow back to you. So, with your CDP strategy, it’s important to consider how you can stitch together an understanding of the performance and measurement of your marketing across the customer lifecycle into the single-profile view you need.
How can the right CDP bring light to these areas?
Any of these issues could be dark spots across your marketing and first-party data strategy. There may be places where it’s a little darker than others for you, which is why it’s crucial to identify your organization’s unique gap areas when evaluating the CDP that’s right for you.
To learn what the right CDP can do for your brand, check out this webinar hosted by Adweek that dives into how you can maximize the value of your data with a CDP.
This article was originally published on Adweek, March 2023.