Three reasons why you need a customer data platform right now

3 min read
Jul 25, 2018

A Twitter user recently turned to the platform to issue an appeal to her bank: “Please don’t send me emails asking if I’m ready to buy a house ten minutes after emailing me an overdraft notice.”

That one tweet neatly sums up everything that’s wrong with data in 2018. Simply stated, the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Consumers understand how much of their information businesses now possess, and they expect their needs to be anticipated and met seamlessly across all channels. It’s a reasonable expectation, but the reality currently falls well short of the mark. Big data still isn’t living up to its potential to build customer relationships and increase sales. According to a recent survey from Forbes Insights, only one in five executives surveyed consider their organizations to be leaders in customer data management, and only one in four say that they’re able to make full use of the data they control.

Fortunately, now there’s a solution. The Customer Data Platform (CDP) offers a smart and elegant solution to the problem of wasted data, and it’s a solution every business needs to have in place. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It actually keeps the promise of unifying data

Business has long recognized the potential of big data. But the systems for managing that data haven’t kept pace with the explosion of devices, apps, tools and platforms in operation today. As a result, structured and unstructured data has stayed fragmented in outdated silos. Gleaning insights takes significant time and resources — if it can happen at all.

A CDP solves that problem. It takes data from all your sources — apps, websites, call centers, transactional systems and so on — and unites it in a single, cloud-based platform where it can be analyzed, understood and acted on.

The promise of unified, actionable data isn’t new. But prior technologies were limited in their ability to keep that promise. For example, Data Management Platforms were designed to target and retarget anonymous visits to ad networks, and the third-party data they offer is thus highly suspect in quality. Customer Relationship Management systems provide better quality data from more sources, but they can’t import or make sense of information from external databases. CDP solves those problems. With CDP, you get a meaningful understanding of data that comes directly from the customer through each and every touchpoint of the customer journey.

  1. It’s actually designed for the technical layperson

Despite the name, most marketing databases aren’t particularly useful for the purposes of marketing. That’s because data lakes and warehouses typically can’t be accessed or interpreted without the help of an IT professional. This reality results in delays and frustrations for the non-tech person, and it increases the risk of a broken-telephone interpretation of data.

By contrast, a CDP is designed specifically for the needs of a business, both in the data it collects and how it serves up that data. A CDP simplifies database creation, and it allows non-technical personnel greater control over its contents. No business today can afford a delay in understanding its data, and a CDP eliminates that delay.

  1. It offers an ever-growing understanding of your customer

The data collected in a CDP isn’t anonymous, and it’s not a snapshot of an isolated action. It is an ever-growing trove of understanding about individual users as they act (or decline to act) across all your touchpoints. With that understanding comes the power to engage with your customer in countless ways. For example, your CDP can be used to suggest offers based on interests that are spotted through the user’s engagement with your content. At-risk customers and abandoned shopping carts can be rescued with personalized messages and incentives. And highly granular audience segments can be targeted through Facebook, Google or other platforms. The list of opportunities is long, and its potential to grow is infinite.

Recognizing the potential of a CDP is just the beginning because not all CDPs are alike. In an age of exponentially increasing volumes of data, you need to consider issues of scalability, security, data variety and privacy.

That’s where Pythian’s Enterprise Data Platform (EDP) comes in. This fully managed, cloud-based service offers a single platform for accessing data in all formats and from all your sources. EDP offers advanced analytics and visualizations to help you understand and act on the potential inherent in every customer interaction. The offering here isn’t just technical. It is deeply informed by the priorities of your business.

With EDP, customer data is no longer a sidebar to your organization. At last, your data can fulfill its potential as the foundation of your success. Instead of simply reacting to past events, you’re now able to predict changes in customer thinking and behavior, and plan accordingly. In fact, the volume and precision of EDP analytics can even help you design new products in response to the insights that emerge.

The business world has been promised actionable customer data for decades. With the arrival of CDPs like Pythian’s EDP, the promise is now, finally, a reality.

Learn more about Pythian’s EDP.

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