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Three Tips for a Successful Customer-Data Platform

To thrive, businesses today must rely on data to better understand customers and personalize new products, services and experiences based on that data. Data allows a business to better target market activities across channels and share actionable insights throughout the enterprise. The challenge is that many lack the tools necessary to integrate online and offline customer data in real-time. Perhaps this is why estimates show the global customer data platform market size growing from $903.7 million in 2018 to $3,265.4 million by 2023—at a CAGR of 29.3%.[1]

Customer-data platforms (CDPs) collect and store large volumes of customer data and bring it together to drive deeper insights and customer intelligence that can inform new ways of personalization and go beyond broad-scale marketing. CDPs represent exactly what companies need to not only thrive in an omnichannel marketplace, but truly transform their businesses. However, there are a few things to get right:


By Rashed Haq

Global Head of AI, Robotics and Data

1. Collect the Data

Data is the key to knowing your customer. It creates the 360-degree view that allows a business to understand its customers’ intent, preferences and needs. Every customer interaction with every touchpoint has the ability to generate—and be fueled by—data.

The good news is that actionable data is available in abundance. A company can choose to purchase data from a third party, or gather it themselves. Businesses simply must decide what to collect. Whether the data comes from media usage data, call center interactions, mobile app clickstreams, transactions (purchases), in-store or cross-channel interactions between brand and customer—it’s all valuable and can be a business differentiator. 

In addition to determining what to collect, every company must figure out how to collect it. Should some data be collected in real time? Should everything be done in batch mode so that end-to-end data collection occurs every night? These questions should be answered in the CDP’s input/output infrastructure. 

2. Start Stitching

Data is most valuable when it’s tied together. CDP offers a platform for stitching together data to create a customer “graph” or user profile. There are so many digital identities floating out there in the cybersphere for each person, the CDP can connect the dots to create one digital identifier for a customer. Otherwise a business is left guessing is this the same customer or not?

So how will you stitch it? This is where it gets a bit technical. For every use case, the business will have to determine if it needs deterministic data (when two pieces of data have the same identifier) or probabilistic data (when data does not match up on many fields and thus reveals a “probability” that it is the same user). Then, data pipelines process and stitch data from first-party, seocnd-party, and third-party sources to create a 360-degree view of the customer that meets reporting, analysis and activation use case needs.



3. Share at Scale

Data must be available, understandable and actionable so that the business can develop use cases for how to monetize data across marketing, sales, e-commerce and supply chain. Creating an artificial intelligence/machine learning model behind each use case will reveal opportunities for monetization. 

Everyone must speak the same data language for data to be usable across the enterprise. For instance, a marketer may say, “I need to understand customer behavior and what content a customer looked at” and the IT person may say, “I want to do a select of customer information column plus the clickstream column.” 

Through the CDP, a business can create a “data marketplace” by which to discover and use the data, almost like a catalog of usable data. The data marketplace puts a user-friendly wrapper around the technology interface, creating a common language so that users of all types have the data literacy to access what they need in the format they need it. 


  1. “Customer Data Platform Market by Type, Application, Component, Delivery Mode, Enterprise Size, Vertical And Region - Global Forecast to 2023;” MarketsandMarkets; September 2018;

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