There’s a lot to be said for the customer data platform (CDP). It allows a company to create a centralized customer database that provides not only information about buyers and potential buyers, but also insights that power effective marketing.

David Raab, founder of the Customer Data Platform Institute, calls the tool “a marketer-managed system … that is accessible to other systems.” [1] Gartner speaks of the CDP’s power to unify data across multiple channels to “enable customer modeling and optimize … messages and offers.” [2]

The CDP has great potential, and that’s part of why it’s had such an impact on the market. However, the problem is the same one we’ve seen in many new technologies. People expect it to do everything — and when it can’t, they lose faith.

In its 2019 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising, Gartner placed the customer data platform just past the “peak of inflated expectations.” [3] As the CDP heads toward the “trough of disillusionment,” companies need to look at what their expectations are and whether a traditional CDP is the right solution to meet those expectations.

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Lack of Direction

According to a 2019 Forrester study, 68% of companies that use advanced marketing tools like CDPs aren’t able to use those tools to their best advantage. [5] The technology is there, but the organizational users lack the ability to integrate and effectively apply it.

CDPs are relatively new technologies. It’s been only two years since Digiday called the CDP “ad tech’s hot new acronym” and three years since Forrester discussed it as one of the “top emerging technologies for B2B marketers.” [6,1] It’s not surprising that many companies still adopt CDPs looking for next-level marketing technology, but continue to rely mostly on its basic functions.

Using the built-in functionality many CDPs offer isn’t always easy. To maximize the potential of their existing CDPs, many of our clients leverage Inte Q’s analytics and business insights team.

68% of companies that use advanced marketing tools like CDPs aren’t able to use those tools to their best advantage.

Data Without Insights

For the most part, developers of traditional CDPs have focused almost exclusively on data gathering. Data is important, of course. Data is the foundation of everything Inte Q does. The problem is that data is a tool rather than an endgame, and most CDPs don’t offer enough in the way of providing data analytics with actionable insights and strategy.

Marketers use data to achieve particular ends. They need to know how to engage audiences, optimize their sales funnels, and run effective targeted campaigns. More often than not, marketers have more than enough data to achieve their goals. Because CDPs often solve problems in silos, marketers must work harder to get to the insights they need from the standard reports and dashboards their CDP provides.  While most CDPs provide hundreds of data reports, those reports are often not configured to meet specific business needs.

What marketers need are deep analytics, meaningful insights, and actionable strategies on how to connect with customers in order to grow their business. While CDPs bring data together and provide a strong technology foundation, they don’t provide the people power needed to uncover customer insights and provide strategic direction. And most CDPs do not offer the technology or expertise needed to launch a customer points or subscription loyalty program. So… Why settle for just a CDP?

 

Customer Segments Without Strategy

Building customer segments is a key piece of functionality for most CDPs. CDPs provide the foundation for building customer segments, but for the most part, they leave developing the campaign strategy up to marketers.

It’s one thing to know about a customer’s habits as a buyer. It’s quite another to understand how that customer responds to an individual company’s promotions, offers, products, and policies in order to build effective strategies and customer segments. Most companies have the data to understand buying behavior patterns, but they are limited by what their CDP provides in terms of strategy. Marketers are forced to use their instincts, instead of data, to determine the best way to build cross-channel campaigns that drive their business in the most cost-effective way.

To build effective customer segments in cross-channel campaigns, companies should leverage advanced analytics to tell them more about their relationship with their customers — and how to leverage that relationship to achieve maximum ROI, while also creating cost savings by reducing wasted media costs.

 

Not Built for the Marketer

CDPs are still relatively new, which means that many companies aren’t quite sure how to use them. It’s not a failure of the executive — it’s the fact that CDPs are often sold as data solutions, which means companies select them based on IT metrics rather than marketing needs.

For a tool that comes pre-packaged, and without guidance, a CDP is a high-level investment. Better support needs to be available so that businesses can choose the right tool and use it well.

 

Go Beyond the CDP

At Inte Q, we are technology agnostic. We help clients leverage the power of their existing CDP

or support their marketing technology needs through our Inte Q Genesis Platform. Genesis combines the functionality of a CDP with features like advanced analytics, insights, and the ability to support points-based or subscription customer loyalty programs.

We go beyond what a traditional CDP offers – Inte Q provides the people power needed for ad hoc projects or ongoing support. We deliver the insights and strategy needed to maximize your technology investment.