2020 saw a global pandemic which forced many companies to accelerate their digital transformation plans as consumers moved online as their primary method of interacting with brands. Forward-looking companies, who may have initially pulled back on spending, were quick to realize the importance of prioritizing the digital experience across the full customer lifecycle. In order to achieve that, marketers will need to acquire and deploy the right technology platforms to enable them to plan and execute data-driven marketing programs.
But for marketers to be able to embrace customer-centric programs, they need to abandon their approach to traditional push campaign management based on legacy data. Running traditional marketing campaigns without always-on capabilities is no longer adequate for large businesses who need to react to customer needs in real-time. This is confirmed by a CMO Council Report in which 53% of marketers said it takes too long to move from discovery and planning to campaign delivery.
The old school campaign-centric marketing program is too limited for data-driven marketers who need to deliver relevant messages at any point in the customer journey. The data they are using is too old, and the planning and execution takes too long to react to any type of real-time or near real-time interactions of their customers. This traditional, non-data driven approach is the norm in most large-scale business today.
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Orchestrating With a Customer Data Platform
The customer data platform (CDP) was first developed with the intent to manage and integrate customer data from multiple disparate channels. Over the past few years, they have evolved significantly to meet shifting demand. As the pandemic forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation plans, more robust CDPs, typically called Campaign or Delivery CDPs, or SmartHub CDPs as defined by Gartner, have become the most popular type of CDP being adopted today. According to the CDP Institute July 2021 Report, Campaign and Delivery CDPs make up 67% of companies, 71% of employment, and 71% of funding, while data CDPs, which used to be the most popular, are now just 13% of companies and employment and 15% of funding.
By using a CDP to supplement your lifecycle journey orchestration, marketers will be able to leverage data to respond to their customers in real-time with personalized messages and experiences. This ability to use data to personalize marketing informed by customer intent will enable companies to acquire and retain customers easier and cheaper.
At this point in time, a CDP may not be the sole solution a marketer would use to manage their customer lifecycle, but it can work in tandem with more traditional campaign management solutions to reduce manual labor, as well as provide the actionable insights and guidance to improve the efficacy of marketing campaigns. With a CDP, marketers get one step closer to creating and maintaining a single, persistent unified view of a customer. 38% of marketers surveyed in a CMO Council report see the execution of a data-driven strategy as their primary challenge to have a unified view of the customer across different touchpoints.
And marketers need not just data, but good data, to be able to feed their technology engines to make that experience as relevant and useful as possible. A survey from the Harvard Business Review reported that only 3% of marketers believe they are able to act on all of the customer data they collect. With good data and a modern CDP with orchestration and delivery capabilities, you can make smarter investment decisions, improve ROI, conversion rates, and Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).
Optimizing Customer Lifecycle Management With a CDP
Since CDPs give brands insights into what products consumers show interest in, what their purchase intent is, and how likely they are to churn (attrition), they allow marketers to find out which channels customers are interacting with them on, as well as see where they are in the customer journey lifecycle. With this level of insight, CDPs help marketers attract higher-quality leads and optimize their marketing spend, while reducing the delivery of unrelated messaging and ads not relevant to their particular stage in the customer journey.
With the emergence of rising data privacy regulations around the globe, organizations are being forced to rethink their commitment to 2nd and 3rd party data, and instead want to work with their own 1st party data, something a CDP is particularly tailored for. A CDP will give orgs the ability to manage customer data centrally, and have it unified and reconciled under a single profile.
CDPs promise to provide more agility and autonomy to marketing departments, as their analytics capabilities alleviate the need for manual reporting, while self-service tools and easy-to-use UIs give marketers the ability to optimize spend and campaigns without having to tap into IT for support, or other departments to get access to needed data. Data, once ingested into the CDP, is now centralized and somewhere marketers can take action with.
Marketers are aware they will need to be more agile and scale their operations to meet future demand. 67% of marketers believe speed is one of the primary benefits of data-driven marketing, according to the CMO Council report. Using a CDP to be the foundation of that data-driven methodology, marketing teams will be able to scale up and get new campaigns underway easier.
The pandemic has forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation plans in order to survive. In order to successfully execute a digital transformation, a data-driven customer-centric strategy, operation and processes need to be implemented. A centralized customer data management solution like a CDP may be the right solution to not only gather that data and make sense of it, but with more modern solutions, allow the customer journey to be managed and optimized. When connected to other technology systems, CDPs can deploy unified customer profiles to marketing delivery platforms, allowing for the distribution of personalized messages and experiences.