The more a company understands its customers, the better it will be able to build relationships, enhance the customer experience and deliver accurate, personalised marketing. Today, the tool of choice for providing these insights is a customer data platform (CDP). In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of using CDPs and why, to get the most value from them, they need to be deployed in the cloud.
What is a CDP?
A CDP is a database application that organises and unifies data into a consistent record that can be used by all the company’s systems. In doing so, it provides a comprehensive, all-touchpoint overview of customers, either as individuals or as members of various groups, which is invaluable for the analytics needed to inform decision making. The results offer companies credible, real-time data on their customer’s behaviour which can be used to help personalise marketing, improve customer experience and thus strengthen relationships.
Businesses collect data from a wide range of sources, these include IoT devices, website and mobile app behaviour tracking, purchase histories, emails, live chat interactions and information provided by the customer about their personal circumstances, such as age, gender, occupation, family, income and so forth. Often, much of this information is gathered and stored separately, with access to it limited to individual departments. When data is stored in these silos, no-one in the company has the full picture and this can have a negative impact on any decision making.
The benefit of a CDP is that it can take data from all these sources and unify them, giving all decision-makers the complete perspective they need to develop successful strategies. It allows them to pool personal information with behavioural, attitudinal and engagement data to understand the needs of the individual and discover patterns in customer groups. It can even help discover new groups that hadn’t previously been conceived.
The insights provided by analysing unified data enable the company to develop models that predict how customers’ attitudes and behaviours react to different stimuli, for example, how their shopping habits change at birthdays, how their investments may change if they have children, or how they respond during crises like coronavirus. Having this data enables companies to pre-empt changes in the market, helping them to best meet customers’ changing needs and do so faster than their competitors.
More than this, analysis also provides essential feedback on the decisions which have been made and the strategies which have been implemented, indicating where monies can be saved and where improvements can be made.
The importance of cloud
While using a CDP brings obvious benefits, there are challenges to deploying it effectively. With so much data being collected and analysed today, businesses need increasingly larger data storage and processing capacity. Providing this in-house can be expensive, with companies needing to purchase the necessary high-spec hardware and applications, employ IT staff to manage the system and pay for ongoing overheads like maintenance and power. As more data is collected, additional hardware will be required, all of which will need to be replaced when it becomes obsolete.
A cloud solution eradicates any requirement to purchase hardware and can lessen the cost of software licencing. All the infrastructure required is provided on a pay-as-you-go basis and is managed, maintained and updated by the vendor. This means that when additional resources are needed to undertake large scale analytics, you only pay for them when you use them, making it the most cost-efficient way to undertake the process.
A cloud solution also makes it easier for your IT team to focus on more business-oriented projects as the vendor will provide a managed service, as well as offering 24/7 expert, technical support to help your team deploy and run your system and applications.
Once your cloud-based CPD is deployed, it will then be available over the internet, meaning team members who need access to it can do so from anywhere they have an internet connection. This improves collaboration and allows teams to work remotely, anywhere in the world.
Another factor to consider is that, for many businesses, the internet is the source of most of their customer data, such as from websites, apps, emails, live chat and IoT devices. As most of these touchpoints are cloud-based, it makes sense that the data they gather remains in the cloud as it can be stored in the same data warehouse and thus be better managed and more swiftly processed.
Finally, but also of crucial importance, is that the cloud provides exceptional data security. Data can be backed up continuously, with backups being checked for integrity and being encrypted, ensuring the data is not only secure but can be restored almost instantly should there be a data loss. Access to data can be restricted using logical access while logins can be protected using single sign-on or multifactor authentication protocols. The vendor also provides a wide range of security measures, including firewalls, malware monitoring, intrusion prevention and so forth. All these measures can help ensure companies comply with data protection regulations like GDPR.
A customer data platform provides one of the most useful tools for companies undergoing digital transformation, enabling them to have previously unattainable insights into their customers and the marketplace. To make the best use of this, a company will need significant data storage and processing capacity. Cloud offers the most cost-effective way to provide the infrastructure needed, while also providing scalability, security and IT expertise. For more information about our cloud services, visit eukhost.com