How Does a Customer Data Platform Solve These Common CMO Challenges?

September 10, 2018

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) are often tasked with executing the organization’s customer experience strategy. Meeting this expectation requires a deep understanding of customers, the technical infrastructure to personalize interactions across channels, and visibility into updated customer data in real time. Many CMOs lack any or all of these capabilities, with a recent survey of senior marketing executives finding that 47 percent of marketers have selective personalization at best, 37 percent still have siloed customer data, and 49 percent lack real-time customer data.

These are not new problems, and marketers have attempted to solve them for years. The issue is that traditional marketing technologies such as data lakes and campaign management solutions are ill-suited to meeting marketing’s needs at the real-time pace that is required. To truly achieve their goal of meeting customer expectations, CMOs need to adopt a solution that can break down data silos, leverage that insight to personalize omnichannel orchestrations, and access cleaned customer information in real time.

Only a customer data platform (CDP) solves all these challenges, empowering CMOs and marketing departments with unified data that can be leveraged to orchestrate personalized messaging and is accessible at the cadence of the customer. For this reason, a CDP is a powerful tool in the CMO’s toolbox – especially as their customer-centric responsibilities increase over time.

Customer Data Platforms Eliminate Data Silos

Siloed customer data is often a major customer experience issue. When customer data is kept in silos, marketers are unable to recognize loyal customers across different channels. In a practical sense, this means a customer who visits the brand’s website and then interacts via social media is often treated as two separate entries in the database. This happens because most marketing departments added customer engagement systems piecemeal over time, and each point solution collects and stores data a little differently.

CMOs need to break down these data silos, especially because customers expect a consistent experience from brands across all engagement touchpoints. Brands that retain data silos are unable to meet this need. A customer data platform is designed to solve this problem by ingesting data from all the marketing point solutions into a single portal, regardless of structure, cadence, or volume. The end result is a unified customer profile, or “golden record,” that collects all that is knowable about customers throughout the organization.

The better customer data platforms maintain this golden record over time. Keeping the golden record consistently updated is key; recent research found that organizations who maintain their database have a 66 percent higher conversion rate than their peers. This makes a golden customer record key to long-term customer engagement success.

Improve Personalization with a Customer Data Platform

The modern omnichannel customer expects a personalized experience across all digital and physical touchpoints. Many brands lack the ability to deliver on that expectation, whether because of data silos or a lack of other capabilities within the organization. With a CDP in place, the CMO gains access to a centralized source of clean, updated data for better personalization. Brands who leverage a CDP also become able to progressively profile their customers and alter personalization strategies over time.

This means a CDP can have a powerful impact on long-term business results. A recent survey found that data-driven marketing organizations are six times more likely to increase profits (45 percent vs. 7 percent), and are five times more likely to achieve a competitive advantage in customer retention (74 percent vs. 13 percent). As personalization improves through better data, consumers notice the improvement and stay loyal. It is far less expensive to retain an existing customer rather than acquire a new one, and the behavior and preference insights of a CDP streamlines that process dramatically.

Customer Data Platforms Provide Real-Time Data Availability

One of the most significant challenges CMOs face is gaining access to updated data in real or near-real time. The average customer’s path to purchase is often so dynamic and fast-moving that brands need to be able to respond in the moment of need. Right now, only seven percent of marketers can consistently deliver real-time experiences across all digital and physical touchpoints. Traditional data management solutions like data warehouses and data lakes only update at a batch cadence, and that is too slow for the quick-moving nature of customer engagement.

Customer data platforms are designed to accept batch and streaming data equally, and update the golden customer record accordingly. A CDP’s ability to maintain the golden record in real time puts all relevant information at marketing’s fingertips, which allows marketers to more easily personalize customer interactions and respond on the fly to signals that they may otherwise miss.

CMOs are increasingly responsible for delivering contextually relevant, impactful customer experiences. They need the right tools for this job, and a customer data platform is one of the most powerful. With a CDP deployed in the organization, the CMO can eliminate internal data silos, more easily personalize customer interactions, and have clean customer data accessible in real time. With these three challenges solved, CMOs are better able to meet the demands of their customers and power revenue growth in the organization.