Business Digital Marketing What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?


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The use of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) has experienced a meteoric rise for several years now due to its revolutionary processing of customer data. Indeed, this data marketing tool makes it possible to unify and structure all the information relating to a customer within a single database. The use of these then gains in quality and efficiency for the benefit of the company, but also that of the customer whose satisfaction is at the center of the process.

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Differences between CDP and DMP

If a Customer Data Platform (CDP) shares the same objective as a Data Management Platform (DMP), to centralize and structure data, their differences are based on the mode of data collection and processing.

Indeed, a DMP systematically anonymizes the data it collects and only keeps it for a given time. The CDP for its part keeps indefinitely in a database the individual information it collects. This difference is explained by the fact that the CDP collects its information directly from the user, which allows him to obtain his storage authorization. The DMP, on the other hand, acquires its data from third-party sources and is therefore subject to a legal retention period.

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The advantages of a Customer Data Platform

360 ° customer knowledge

The main benefit of setting up a CDP is to be able to fully exploit a very complete customer knowledge. Indeed, since this tool centralizes all customer data within a single database, the company can have a 360 ° view of its characteristics, habits and expectations. She will therefore be able to provide him with better service and offer him new offers in line with his past experience.

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Because the centralization of this exhaustive customer data allows marketers to carry out segmentation work to design new offers that specifically meet the needs of each segment. The company will thus be able to improve both its commercial efficiency and the performance of each of its campaigns. Finally, this 360 ° customer knowledge also makes it possible to better meet users’ expectations in order to offer them a better quality of service. Thanks to the centralization of their interactions and their history, contacts are more fluid and efficient.

Data retention in the Customer Data Platform

CDP will collect both hot and cold customer data, but the vast majority of this will be done directly. It will thus collect customer reviews, a purchase history, customer service requests and much other information. In all these cases, it will proceed without an intermediary and most often with the consent of the user. Thus, it will be able to keep the data for an indefinite period, which represents a major advantage in terms of operation since the latter will continue to be enriched with information over time.

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Profile identification

Again, since the data is collected directly from consumers and most often with their consent, it can be personal. If this is of little interest from a marketing point of view where the offers are aimed at market segments, it is on the other hand a real advantage for improving the quality of service. Indeed, the identification of profiles is of great interest for optimizing customer satisfaction and this also makes it possible to set up customization levers.

Open and scalable technology

If a Customer Data Platform has many advantages in terms of data exploitation, it has just as many from a technological point of view. Its structure being open and evolving, it is able to integrate new sources directly or indirectly. Thus, it is possible to add a database extracted from a third-party tool and the CDP will then normalize the data before merging them with the central database.

But the vast majority of companies prefer the second option which consists of setting up connectors between external sources such as ERP or CRM and CDP. The data transfer is then done in an automated manner and in real time, which presents a significant advantage.

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Flexible structure of a CDP

The structure of a CDP’s central database is not pre-formatted and therefore adapts to the needs of each company. All the criteria and characteristics of a customer file are defined according to choices that are specific to each entity. This flexible dimension thus makes it possible to adapt to different contexts, constraints and objectives.

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Examples of CDP solutions

  • Segment has more than 20,000 client companies of its Customer Data Platform including GAP, Trivago or even Levi’s. It offers a free offer for less than 1,000 visitors per month, which allows the tool to be tested before committing to a larger volume.
  • Scal-e is a French CDP solution which counted Bouygues Télécom among its first customers. Since then, many large accounts have used it, including Société Générale and SNCF. On its website in French, it does not display a price but it is possible to request a quote.
  • Emarsys is an Indianapolis, United States-based CDP with over 1,500 customers worldwide including Samsonite and PrettyLittleThing e-commerce site. On its website, it is possible to make an appointment to benefit from a demonstration of its solution.
  • Created almost 10 years ago in France, the Mediarithmics solution supports clients such as Coca-Cola, FNAC or France TV. Its offer is segmented by business sector and thus adapts to advertisers, e-commerce or media sites.
  • Exponea is a Slovak solution, something rare enough to be specified. It counts the Desigual company among its customers and only provides its prices on quotation which can be requested on its website.
  • Optimove was established in 2009 in Tel Aviv before moving its headquarters to New York. This CDP has since provided a solution to many companies, the vast majority of them American. On its site, it is possible to request a demonstration.

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