Why You Should Buy an Enterprise Customer Data Platform
Last updated: May 23, 2023
Back in the ‘60s, the buying process was pretty simple. You realized you needed a new car, then you saw an ad for a new Honda on one of the three network TV channels out there. You went to the dealer, took it for a ride, and that was that.
Things have gotten a lot more complicated since then. From company sites and review sites to social media, email, search, ads and more, most people follow a non-linear path to purchase.
That makes it way more difficult for marketers to see how each specific customer is engaging with them across every channel. And if you try to do it manually, you’ll be drowning in spreadsheets from each of your marketing channels — and you still might not have the right view of your audience.
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Enterprise customer data platforms.help companies manage their data more efficiently by unifying, cleaning and managing data from every marketing channel into one platform.
In this post, we’ll explain what an enterprise customer data platform is, walk through the benefits of an enterprise customer data platform, essential features to look for in your own solution, and compare and contrast different vendors. Let’s get started:
What is an enterprise customer data platform?
Companies use enterprise customer data platforms to collect, manage and activate their first-party customer data more efficiently. That has important applications in every stage of the customer lifecycle. Marketers most commonly use enterprise customer data platforms to:
- Aggregate data from all marketing channels to establish a single customer view and improve audience insights.
- Track the behaviors and attributes of website users and connect these behaviors with the data already stored in your database.
- Resolve customer IDs to create a single profile for each user.
- Create more accurate and precise marketing segments.
- Activate data for multi-channel automated marketing campaigns, covering email, website, social media display and programmatic ads.
- Increase revenue by providing more targeted cross- and up-sell offers.
- Provide content recommendations, personalized website messages and offers based on a customer’s interests, order/subscription history, job title, etc.
- Manage customer data for data compliance.
6 Reasons Why You Should Have An Enterprise CDP
Organizations use enterprise CDPs to take the manual work out of marketing — so they can turn disparate data into decisive marketing action. More on that here:
Create a single customer view
Customers expect content and communications to be customized to their individual needs (see: the Netflix algorithm, the Starbucks app, etc.). While every company in the game wants to personalize, it’s much more difficult to achieve in practice.
Because to really know everyone in your audience, you need to have a complete and up-to-date view of how they’re engaging with you across every channel you’re using, from events and email to print and ads.
And since each marketing channel produces its own data, it’s almost impossible to get a single view of your customers manually.
Enterprise CDPs take in customer data from every marketing touchpoint and stores it in one place. This gives marketers a unified, real-time view of each customer, across channels. (Note: The data is also cleared of dupes upon entry, so you know your customer profiles are complete.)
With a single customer view, everyone in the organization can see each customer or prospect’s behavior, preferences, and needs — all in one search. And from there, it’s just a matter of creating communications, emails, etc. tailored to each person’s needs.
Power personalization and customer engagement
A CDP can help enterprise organizations create more effective marketing campaigns by providing insights into customer behavior and preferences. This helps companies tailor their marketing messages and targeting to better resonate with their customers, leading to higher conversion rates and increased ROI.
Harness audience data to increase revenue
Say that you’re an audience development manager for a media organization with 10+ brands related to tech, data and media. You see that Marcia has been regularly reading about data privacy on your flagship website.
If you didn’t have a CDP, you might just see Marcia as a new website visitor and leave it at that. But with your CDP’s website analytics tool, you see that Marcia’s not reading anything on your data privacy-specific brand’s website. You know that Marcia’s likely to read that content as well, so you send her an email or two, or maybe serve her with a Google ad, about your privacy-related publication and just like that, she subscribes.
This is just one example of how CDPs can unlock new revenue sources within your existing audience.
Enterprise organizations can use the information gathered by a CDP to execute smoother, more personalized experiences through the entire customer lifecycle, from the first interaction to a well-placed cross-promotion years down the line.
So the benefits of a CDP are twofold: Not only are you more likely to win new customers, but you’re better positioned to keep them as well.
Ensure data compliance and security
Siloed data doesn’t just disrupt marketing campaigns. In the wake of new data privacy regulations, it also exposes your company to unnecessary legal liability. Because if you don’t know where all your data is, you can’t delete, edit or provide a customer’s complete record upon request (as required by the strictest regulations).
By consolidating all customer data into one place, enterprise CDPs help companies stay in compliance with the GDPR and CCPA. For example, if Willa requests for her record to be deleted, someone can access Willa’s entire record and remove it within a few clicks, rather than needing to manually check 10+ different platforms to erase her record.
Drive informed decision-making through data analytics
Marketing’s always been a game of guesswork. Organizations need to forecast how everyone in their audience is feeling about them at any given moment, then serve them with the right message at the right time.
When it works, it’s magical. When it doesn’t, organizations lose customers and waste money — both of which are more valuable than ever in 2023.
CDPs can go a long way toward eliminating uncertainty and doubt from the marketing process.
CDPs generate granular data about every person in your audience engaging with you in real time, so your finger’s always on the pulse of your audience and, more importantly, hyper-specific segments of your audience. This makes targeting the right customers with the right message at the right time easier than ever.
Streamline marketing and sales operations
How many times have your campaigns stalled because you were waiting on a customer data set from someone on another team?
Enterprise CDPs centralize data and make it easier to collaborate across teams. This improves cross-functional communication and reduces costly delays and misunderstandings, which is especially valuable for sprawling enterprise teams.
How to choose an appropriate enterprise CDP for your business
Enterprise teams often struggle to unify, manage and activate their customer data quickly enough to make an impact. If you’ve been struggling with these issues, consider whether an enterprise customer data platform might work for your team. In this section, we’ll lay out key considerations
3 things to know about your business before buying a CDP
Current data management landscape
The volume, variety and velocity is growing exponentially while data privacy regulations continue to get even tighter. Customer data platforms can help companies address each of these issues. Keep this in mind as you decide whether an enterprise customer data platform is a fit for your business.
Scope of your CDP requirements
Enterprise CDPs are powerful pieces of technology with a vast array of applications.
And that’s a bit of a double-edged sword for new CDP users: If your team knows exactly what they want to achieve with your CDP, you’re well-positioned to meet your outcomes quickly.
But if your team doesn’t have concrete goals for how they’ll use the platform, the implementation process can be overwhelming enough to delay your progress. Or if implementation goes well, you might underutilize the platform and render your investment less valuable.
So before checking out enterprise CDPs, align on one or two top-priority use cases for the platform (e.g., creating a single customer view for everyone in your database or tracking website activity across your various brands). The narrower focus will help your team master the CDP more quickly and prepare them to tackle other use cases more productively as well.
From there, consider other longer-term use cases for your enterprise customer data platform before committing to a purchase.
Budget and resource allocation
Finally, consider your organization’s financial and organizational readiness for an enterprise customer data platform.
First, consult with leadership to see whether your organization can commit to paying for onboarding, implementing and managing an enterprise customer data platform over multiple years.
Also consider your team’s commitment to implementation: If marketing, sales and success disagree on how to store and use the data generated by the CDP, your customer experience will still be disjointed, thus negating the biggest benefit of investing in it.
Ensure that everyone in your organization has a baseline level of data literacy — and has bought into the benefits of using an enterprise customer data platform — before signing the dotted line.
6 Essential Features to look for when Buying an Enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP)
Thinking about buying an enterprise customer data platform, but not sure where to start? Prioritize customer data platforms with the following features:
Data unification and validation
Above all else, your CDP should be able to create a single view of each customer by integrating data from every touchpoint into one profile. Any CDP will be able to achieve this, but the best ones can do this in real time, so your sales and marketing teams can capitalize on new leads, form submissions and interest quickly enough to drive new business.
Some questions to ask your vendor:
- How frequently does new data (e.g., form submissions, demo requests, etc.) flow in and out of the platform? Do they perform nightly file sweeps and/or API drops?
- Are customer profiles updated in real time? Can profile updates and/or deletion requests be applied immediately?
- Is this done automatically or does the process require manual intervention?
- Does customer information flow directly to your system of record regardless of what form they’re using?
Data cleaning and enrichment
If you’ve ever spent too much time manually re-formatting your customer spreadsheets, you know that simply getting customer data is only the first step. You also need to standardize, clean and unify it quickly enough to actually respond to your audience’s interest in real time. And if you’re trying to do that manually, that’s a tall, tall order.
Seek out CDPs that provide data normalization, data enrichment, and data deduplication support. Start the conversation with these questions:
- Does the CDP provide automated field mapping to ensure that incoming data is stored under the same labels, regardless of its source?
- Does the CDP provide identity resolution to ensure that duplicates are not stored in your system of record?
- Does the CDP provide database views to each team member? Are these views customizable for each team’s needs?
Website tracking and analytics
Your enterprise CDP should include native website tracking so you can convert unknown website visitors into known prospects. Look for platforms that allow you to:
- Measure the performance of your most important marketing pages, including page views, bounce rates, and conversion rates. Identify your best design and UX assets and replicate high-performing tactics over time.
- Track the performance of revenue-generating activities on your website, like paywalls, content gates and payment pages. See what stands in the way of a purchase and address it more quickly.
Segmentation and personalization
The CDP should support personalized marketing campaigns, including the ability to segment audiences and personalize content and messaging.
Scalability and integration capabilities
Companies are taking in more data than ever – and staying on top of it is one of the biggest challenges for marketers today. With new marketing touchpoints popping up every year, that problem isn’t going away anytime soon.
Keep your options open by prioritizing CDPs with a proven track record of scalability. Ask your vendor who’ve worked with previously to see how prepared they are to accommodate companies of your size.
Also look for solutions that integrate with the marketing tools you’re already using. This will ease the transfer of data from your primary marketing touchpoints to your CDP and ensure your customer profiles are always complete, clean and current.
For instance, Omeda integrates with ON24. So when someone hosts a webinar on ON24, the full attendee and registration list flows directly to the company’s Omeda database, and each person’s attendance is automatically added to their ongoing Omeda profile.
If someone asks a question or completes a poll question during the webinar, this interaction is also added to their Omeda profile. Your sales and marketing teams get a full picture of how each person is engaging across every channel — and they’re more prepared to follow up as a result.
Some of Omeda’s other integrations include:
- Reach each customer with email and on-site messaging, as well as social platforms (FB/IG), display (GAM), and programmatic ads (AdRoll).
- Use Omeda’s Odyssey Marketing Automation canvas to adjust timing, messaging and filters for each campaign.
- Leverage your CDP data to strengthen external outreach using our integrations with Marketo, Eloqua, AdRoll, Facebook and Google Ad Managers and more.
Data privacy and security
Not only are data privacy regulations getting tighter than ever, they vary across different continents, countries and states. That makes it way more difficult to figure out which laws apply to which customer — let alone apply those to your strategy. That is, unless you’re able to easily, and automatically, segment your audience by location and consent status.
Look for CDPs that allow you to split your audience by their location and consent status, as this will help you stay compliant with the GDPR, CCPA, and other local regulations. (And to go one step further, choose a vendor with its own dedicated data privacy and governance experts.)
Top enterprise vendors
Now that we’ve discussed key purchasing factors, you might consider researching different enterprise customer data platform vendors. Below are some leading enterprise vendors, as well as advantages and drawbacks of each platform.
- Improved customer insights: By having a centralized repository of customer data, businesses can gain a better understanding of their customers’ behavior, preferences, and needs. This can help them tailor their marketing efforts and product offerings to better meet customer demands.
- Personalization: SAP’s enterprise CDP allows businesses to create personalized experiences for their customers across all touchpoints, including web, mobile, and social media. This can improve customer engagement and loyalty.
- Complexity: Implementing and maintaining SAP’s enterprise CDP can be complex and requires specialized skills and expertise. This can increase the cost of ownership and require ongoing support from IT teams.
- Cost: SAP’s enterprise CDP can be expensive, particularly for smaller businesses with limited budgets. The cost of licensing and implementation can also be a barrier to adoption.
- Data Centralization: Segment allows businesses to consolidate customer data from multiple sources into a single platform. This helps to create a unified view of customers, which can lead to better insights and more effective marketing campaigns.
- Flexibility: Segment can integrate with a wide range of third-party tools and platforms, which provides businesses with greater flexibility in terms of data collection and analysis.
- Complexity: Setting up and configuring Segment can be complex, especially for businesses that have a large number of data sources. It can take time and resources to properly set up and manage the platform.
- Cost: Segment is a paid platform, and the cost can be significant for businesses with large volumes of data. The cost can also increase as businesses add more integrations and features.
- Data unification: Hightouch enables businesses to unify customer data from various sources, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation platforms, and other data silos, creating a 360-degree view of the customer.
- Personalization: Hightouch empowers businesses to create highly personalized customer experiences across various channels, such as email, SMS, and push notifications.
- Limited integrations: Although Hightouch supports a wide range of integrations, some businesses may require additional integrations that are not currently supported.
- Data security: As with any platform that handles sensitive customer data, businesses must ensure that Hightouch has adequate security measures in place to protect against data breaches.
Pro: Omeda is an end-to-end audience management platform that combines a customer data platform, email and marketing automation tools, subscription management, a form builder, website tracking, and marketing analytics in one place. This comprehensive suite of tools makes it easier for marketing teams to streamline their processes, manage data more effectively, and execute targeted campaigns.
Con: Omeda may not be as widely known as some other enterprise customer data platforms, which could mean fewer resources for learning and support. While it offers a wide range of features, some organizations may find that its capabilities don’t align precisely with their specific needs or that they require further integration with other tools.
Now that you’ve learned how to engage your audience with an enterprise customer data platform, why not start exploring your options? Omeda’s enterprise CDP is built into an end-to-end audience management platform with native email and marketing automation, subscription management and a form builder. So you can unify, manage and activate your customer data — all from one place. To learn more, schedule a demo below!
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