Customer Data Platform: Toward the personalization of customer experiences in real time

IN Customer Experience — 10 April, 2015

While many articles have covered the benefits of big data to marketing and customer experiences, few have detailed methods for how these benefits can be realized.


Picture : Talend Picture : Talend


Yet, the technology is now mature and proven. Pioneers include Mint in the financial sector, Amazon in retail and Netflix in media. These companies showcase that it is possible today to put in place a centralized platform for the management of customer data that is able to integrate and deliver information in real time, regardless of the interaction channel being used.

This platform, known as Customer Data Platform (CDP), allows organizations to reconstruct the entire customer journey by centralizing and cross referencing interactional or internal data (e.g. purchase history) with social or external data that can uncover customer intentions and tastes. Thanks to a new generation of technologies, in particularly Hadoop, the consolidation of these enormous volumes of customer data is now possible and affordable.

The Pillars of CDP

To achieve this, the CDP must be based on four main pillars.

The first pillar is the customer system of record, a unified view of your customers across those customer identities and data sources (such as mail address for outbound campaigns, phone numbers for call center, customer ID for on store payment, cookies for website browsing, etc.

The second pillar creates a holistic customer 360° view across the system of interaction, thanks to Digital marketing that now allows collecting customer data, from web to mobile, social networks and the internet of things.

The third pillar is the system of insight that turns raw data into something that is actionable. Through analytics, raw data can turn into customer segments, and score the customer propensity to buy a product, anticipate fraud or churn risk, or identify the life time value of a customer. By leveraging analytics and machine learning, the customer data platform transforms data into a meaningful asset

Finally, the system of engagement delivers the insights as actions or recommendations right into the operational system. It turns information and insights into business outcomes by driving real time recommendations to the customer and/or the customer facing stakeholders.

The Path to Real Time Success

Before getting started, it is indeed absolutely essential to define the business case. What are the goals? What is the desired ROI? The pioneers in the market are advising companies to develop a storyboard that describes the ideal customer journey by uncovering "moments of truth” or the interactions that have the most value and impact in the eyes of the customer.

Then, organizations can implement a “marketing data lab” to test their implementation scenarios. For example, companies could start with the addition of personalized banners in their websites or individualized exchanges between a client and a call center. They can then deliver quickly measurable results and grow the impact over time as the project expands to more customers, which then can be used as a stepping stone to building a holistic CDP that senses and respond to customer interactions across touch-points.

Once they have been integrated, the company can reach the Holy Grail of real time one-to-one marketing, with the four main benefits being: total visibility on the customer; complete client satisfaction; clear visibility into marketing effectiveness, and increased revenue due to higher conversion rates. Given that we already know that companies employing this type of analytical technique are more successful that the competition that don’t, moving real time becomes a necessity.

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