Customer behaviors are an extremely important resource for companies to achieve their end goals. The better they are able to understand and predict customer behaviors, the better they can take a targeted approach to PR, marketing, sales, product development and so much more.
This is where creating a customer data platform for yourself really comes into play. This will allow you to really capture a customer’s journey and interactions with you. You will be able to collect data on how many times they visited your website, if they chatted to customer service, if they clicked through on any ads, if they opened any of your emails, and—if yes to any of the above—the frequency of it and if it resulted in an end purchase for you.
Have you ever noticed how ads seem to be way more personalized now? It’s as if they can hear you and target you in the timings of your own brain’s thoughts. Well, this is no coincidence. Through customer data platforms, companies are able to take an extremely personal approach to make their offerings relevant, appealing and well-timed.
Imagine how successful your company would be if you were able to do something like this? Well, it can be! You just need to understand what a customer data platform is and choose the right one for you.
Defining a Customer Data Platform
A customer data platform is basically a bit of software that can actually take data from multiple tools or software and centralize it into one massive database—highlighting all the relevant touchpoints you want to be captured.
There are really endless possibilities when it comes to how to segment your customer personas and database. This is great because it then means you can personalize everything else you do with your company.
The best example of this is to talk you through an example. Say, for instance, you wanted to better understand your customers and the decision-making process that goes into them buying your product. You would want to get data on all the various interactions they have with you—from marketing campaigns to online content—including the duration of time spent engaging with you and frequency.
This data then gets sent to your data warehouse and sent into consumer profiles that are already coded. Now, you are able to use this information to create segments that allow you to decide the best type of marketing campaign that would work for various types of consumers.
The customer data platform will be able to really perform three key functionalities for you:
1. Identify Consumer Segments
No longer do you have to come up with your consumer segments based solely on gut feel. Instead, these profiles will be generated based on actual data and factual behavior. This means that identifying consumer segments has never been easier or more reliable.
2. Build A Better Understanding
You don’t just need to be aware of your audience segments, you also need to understand what makes them tick. What inspires them? What scares them away? What are their passion points? Understanding the traits of an audience is something that a customer data platform helps with and helps you build a better understanding of each type.
3. Creates Strategies for Engagement
Where customer data platforms really shine is that they close the loop with data. This means that they are able to use data to actually create data stacks that drive strategy, decision making and so much more when it comes to your business operations.
Types of Customer Data Platforms
There are a few different options to choose from when it comes to customer data platforms. Here are the three main ones to consider.
1. General Customer Data Platforms
These are generalized software tools that can help build consumer profiles for a broad range of industries. There are many external options to choose from, but many are quite limited in terms of flexibility and often, your own data will be used for their benefit.
2. Vertical Customer Data Platforms
These are more tailored third-party platforms that can help an organization capture and create segments in a more tailored approach, often also including strategies to solve specific problems. But again, as it is an external software, they too will likely use your data for their benefit.
3. Your Own Data Warehouse
Chances are if you are already collecting data, then you really should be using your own data warehouse as a customer data platform. Take out the third party and keep it all in-house. Not only will it keep data in one central point, but it will also allow more flexibility, more access, and use by your larger teams, secure data storage and even prevent having a siloed data ecosystem.
Having a customer data platform is essential for a business to thrive in this day in age. So use what you already have—like your data warehouse—to get accurate customer profile segmentations!