What does a CDP in my future look like?

What are the biggest gains in operational efficiency and transparency?

Segmentation

Think of all the exciting tests you could run if segmentation weren’t slow and inconvenient. Such testable segments might include:

  1. Customers who purchased yesterday and called into customer service with a complaint.
  2. Women who purchased two weeks ago and have browsed an adjacent product category in the past hour
  3. Men who purchased one month ago and opened either an email or a push promo since their purchase

Who will convert most quickly? Who converts most reliably? This and similar tests could inform your overall follow-up cadence and significantly impact revenue, loyalty, and LTV.

So you put in a ticket to IT, and eventually, they get around to it. Still, once you get your segments set up and ready for the email blast, the intervals are four days later than you’d planned for (i.e., the first cohort is now women who purchased five days ago) because IT had an overload of requests.

That’s tolerable, but then you notice that Cohort 1 is only 5 people, Cohort 2 is 35, and Cohort 3 is 156, which hardly sets you up for a statistically significant test.

Your instincts are good, but it will take far too long to validate them because of outdated processes.

With a CDP, segmenting your customers should be self-service and intuitive. Suppose you have an idea for testing cohorts or segments against each other. You have the speed and flexibility to finesse the parameters to get the right sample size and distribution, yielding significant results, and the insight necessary to drive increased value.

Dynamic personalization

Hello, {{First_Name}}! I hear you’d like to learn more about {{dynamic personalization}}.

With a CDP, you can get much more granular and personal than you can with even your fanciest rules-based ESP settings. While we wanted to give you a Before and After, dynamic personalization without a unified view of the customer can’t get much more profound than MM/DD/YYYY triggers “Automated Happy Birthday Discount Email #1.”

With a CDP unifying your data and integrating with BI and analytics tools, you can automate around endless parameters. Want to send a fantastic new sweatpants email to everyone who just bought slippers? Done. Want to fill your new Chicago brick and mortar with 18– to 35-year-olds who are also in the upper 20% LTV cohort of your customers by sending them and only them a secret invite to your pre-opening sale? Easy.

Building and making use of custom fields with a CDP should be so intuitive that instead of getting frustrated and impatient with data, your team starts to develop a new creative instinct for inventive targeting.

Orchestration

Often even a great CDP will lack the ability to orchestrate marketing messages and campaigns. Thus, your team members find themselves bottlenecked by tedium, getting their carefully constructed, ever-updated cohorts and segments from the centralized data platform to the necessary end channel.

Problems arise when — as is often the case in any business with a marketing team of more than three people — every channel doesn’t fall under the responsibility of an “omnichannel manager.” Tedium is a time-suck that saps your employees of their creative energy, disrupts their precious flow states, and makes their jobs harder.

For the customer, a lack of orchestrated messaging will often result in over-messaging, inconsistency, or delivering promotions on CTAs that the customer has already done or unmistakably declined to do (e.g., download your app, opt in to a newsletter). Orchestrating from one place, where the unified customer view is updated in real time, gives the right channel manager the right information at the right time so they can make the right choice.

Single portal

Aligning customer data and end-channel orchestration in a single place gives you something incredibly valuable, something akin to your unified customer view: you get a 360-degree view of your marketing efforts.

In the world before CDPs — in this case, specifically the category of Smart Hub CDPs — massive marketing teams may have had minimal overlap in the platforms where they spent most of their time (save for, in the best of cases, your project management platform). Visibility into ongoing campaigns and projects may be limited to weekly standups.

Having a CDP — especially one that integrates orchestration into its capabilities — means that endless tabs and logins and porting of data or creative assets from hither to yon are all a thing of the past. Your marketing stack can become a marketing ecosystem where visibility and collaboration between disparate marketing functions are straightforward. By their very nature, marketing tools silo team members from each other’s workflows. CDPs (again, Smart Hub CDPs) break the silos.

Cross-channel experimentation

This follows from orchestration capabilities and having a single-sign-on portal, but it does not mean that CDPs that offer orchestration can necessarily power cross-channel experimentation.

Imagine you have a significant promotional event coming up, and you need to determine the right mix of email and SMS to drive the most interest. Without a single platform allowing for cross-channel experimentation, how would you do this? You would have to manage holdout groups and control for execution (i.e., timing, messaging, targeting). You would need to ensure there’s no unintended overlap between test groups. You would need consistency across segments and the ability to export those segments into end-channels, deploy, then gather and interpret results.

With a CDP that allows for cross-channel experimentation, you can manage end-channel execution from a single platform. You build segment parameters. Statistically significant groups are partitioned off into email-only, SMS-only, email & SMS, and holdout, with results and reporting rolling into that single platform. Not only that, but insight gathered from the tests feed into your customer profiles. If test results show Bob from SMS-only didn’t convert, but his profile shows numerous email conversion events, this has a significant impact on how you will choose to communicate with Bob going forward.

Chapter 10: How to talk about a CDP within your organization

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