A CDP Can Be Your Competitive Advantage in Marketing

Make the most out of the customer data at your fingertips.

havas CX helia
4 min readMar 13, 2020

With so many options for communication — and lots of competition for attention — advertisers and marketers are always working to find the best ways to reach their audiences. At Havas Helia, we build campaigns for each type of audience, working hard to making them as personalized and relatable as can be.

How is this possible? With customer data, of course — the core piece of every advertising and marketing campaign that passes through our doors.

A deep-dive into customer data:

“Customer data” is any information you leave behind when interacting with a company or brand, both in-person and online. There are four main types of customer data:

  1. Identity data (Ex: name, age, gender, and other demographics information)
  2. Descriptive data (Ex: career, lifestyle details, hobby information)
  3. Quantitative or behavioral data (Ex: transaction information, information on how you interact with email communication or with the website)
  4. Qualitative data (Ex: how you learned about the brand or company, what your opinion on something is)

And that’s just scratching the surface. We have more access to data than ever before, but all that is useless if we can’t put it to work. And to do that, we need to keep it organized.

Until recently, most brands relied on DMPs, or “data management platforms,” to manage their data.

The low-down on DMPs:

DMPs are platforms that allow for the unified housing of important customer data from various first-, second- and third-party sources. This data is used to build customer segments based on demographic information, past browsing behaviors, location, device type, and other helpful information.

There are some benefits to using DMPs:

  • DMPs bring all your data together in one place, giving your team a full picture of your customers
  • Some DMPs have features that make it easier to discover and target potential new customer groups.
  • You get constant, continuous reporting with DMPs that can help produce long-term strategies, rather than one-off reporting solutions.

The DMP was a good start, enabling brands to centralize the cookie tracking and device identifiers of their users. However, the DMP fell short in managing actual first-party customer data. Today, brands need a data solution that will centralize all of their first-party customer data.

Meet the solution: CDPs, or “customer data platforms.”

CDPs are packaged software programs that aggregate and organize all of your real-time customer data from various sources into a unified database of information about your customers–and potential customers.

CDPs can be used to break down customer data into “individualized, centralized customer profiles” from various first-, second- and third-party sources such as (Hubspot, 2019):

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) tools and DMPs
  • Transactional systems
  • Web forms
  • Email and social media activity
  • Website and e-commerce behavioral data
  • And more!

There are some key differences between DMPs and CDPs.

The biggest distinguisher is that CDPs help to inform people-based marketing–putting a company’s customers first in all marketing decisions. CDPs are one of the best tools a brand can use to get better at this practice.

According to Hubspot (2019), there are four key differences:

  1. CDPs influence all types of marketing including advertising, while DMPs mostly just influence advertising.
  2. CDPs collect mostly first-party data while DMPs collect mostly third-party data which, since the information is coming from data providers, managers, and services, can impact the accuracy and legitimacy of the info.
  3. Because they primarily collect first-party data, customer profiles built in CDPs are more reflective of “personalized, specific customer identifiers” (such as name, email, customer ID) AND capture more anonymous digital data (cookies, device IDs). DMP customer profiles are mostly reflective of the latter.
  4. CDPs have long-term retention of data to “build in-depth, accurate customer profiles and nurture relationships,” while DMPs only retain data short-term to “target ads and build lookalike audiences.”

Getting set up with a CDP is not difficult, but it can be confusing.

There are many programs available that claim CDP-like capabilities. Because of this, it’s important to do your research when picking the best platform for your brand or company. Make sure you’re aware of the various options and what your company or brand’s marketing needs are.

Many marketers have a long list of priorities. Adding “deploy a CDP” (and everything that comes with that) to that list can seem daunting. Since implementing a CDP can get costly, it may get set aside due to a lack of resources. We recommend finding a qualified partner to help your company select, implement and launch a CDP so you’re not in it alone. Bonus: having someone who is familiar with CDPs often can lead to quicker turnaround with fewer hiccups along the way!

After you’ve chosen a CDP, it’s important to make sure you properly implement and calibrate your data within the platform–otherwise, the data won’t be correctly formatted and your CDP won’t work properly. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to put the CDP into action! With your newfound organization of data, you can begin truly personalizing your customers’ onsite experience and broader one-on-one communications.

Read the original article by Havas Helia President and Chief Data Officer Michael Kaushansky on MarTech here.



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