The Next Evolution of the CDP


In 2019, marketers need to adapt and innovate their strategies in response to changing trends. Christopher Hansen, COO, IgnitionOne, discusses one of the most talked about trends, the CDP, and what’s next for marketers.

Pre-social media, people had to call or text people on their flip phone to update each other on their lives. Before WiFi, users connected to the internet via a dial-up connection. Ahead of Amazon and online shopping, customers could only visit brick-and-mortar stores for shopping. These “old” concepts can also be applied to marketing. Whereas traditional marketing involved direct mailers or cold callers, we now live in a new generation of omnichannel marketing in a fully digital era. One where marketers must now adapt and innovate their strategies in response to changing trends or be left behind. Gone are the times of a dial-up connection; it’s 5G or nothing. When a new form of technology emerges, marketers must be quick to explore its potential for increased customer engagement.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) were the hottest toy for marketers in 2018. Everyone was eager to implement it in the hopes that they would finally maximize their omnichannel strategies. However, the problem with the CDP space is that there is a missing link between marketers’ expectations and what the CDP can actually deliver. In 2019, it’s time to get our messaging straight.

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What’s a CDP?

WhenCDPs first arose, they were designed solely to collect and store data from multiple sources and systems, however, it soon became clear that data unification is only one part of what’s needed for an effective marketing strategy. Marketers must make that data actionable too. CDPs are able to leverage aggregated data to inform and instruct customer engagement and remarketing efforts, ensuring personalized messaging across multiple touchpoints. Determining the right message for each individual is key for engagement, and currently, one of marketers’ biggest struggles.

There are CDPs available that are equipped with measurement systems that help marketers assess campaign performance through attribution and analytics dashboards, which can identify which engagement channels are driving results. Furthermore, some platforms offer marketing automation, with customer engagement managed and measured from one, single platform.

While CDPs sound great on paper, the truth is that the term has become oversaturated, overworked and overused. Today, there are very few so-called CDPs that are consistent in their promises of capabilities and actually meet marketers’ expectations.

What’s Next for Marketers?

With CDPs, marketers will solely focus on “known” customers, those who are normally housed within a CRM system. But for many marketers, the challenge isn’t marketing to these customers, but rather discovering those unknown. In the long run, it’s a smarter investment to implement tools that can find these unknown customers and enable omnichannel personalization.

As trendy as the CDP was in 2018, marketers need to now move on and invest in a platform that truly enables this omnichannel personalization without having to rely on existing customer files. Say hello to r the Customer Intelligence Platform (CIP).

A CIP is like a CDP, but better. Combining the essential capabilities of CDPs, CIPs employ additional capabilities, beyond data unification, personalization, measurement, etc. that maximize reach and performance. With a CIP, marketers can leverage advanced data modeling algorithms to identify look-a-like customers through AI-driven targeting and personalization.

CIPs gather real-time insights into each individual customer’s level of engagement with actionable results. These include products of interest, likelihood to convert, relationship with a brand, and more, that provide marketers with key insights into these new audiences. The platform then leverages these insights to deliver personalized messaging and potentially boost customer engagement to a new set of targets.

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Even more, a CIP is equipped with identity resolution capabilities that recognize each customer as the same individual across multiple channels and devices. This ensures marketers are delivering consistent messaging throughout the entire customer journey, to the same individual. A CIP delivers omnichannel engagement from a single platform and enables omnichannel attribution. This helps in identifying the exact impression that drives a customer to conversion. It’s this granular level of understanding that allows marketers to build a more effective and efficient strategy.