How to Choose the Best Customer Data Platform

unified customer experience

A customer data platform (CDP) gathers information from offline and online sources and regulates it to develop detailed customer profiles. Internal teams (like a marketing team) use these profiles to execute campaigns and manage customer experience which attracts and retains loyal users. CDP promotes customer experience management that help users to engage with the brand’s sales, marketing, and service channels. These customer channels are mobile apps, websites, and advertising platforms. In this guide, you’ll learn about unified customer experience, how CDP works, the best CDP platform, and more.  

Understanding Unified Customer Experience  

A unified customer experience helps to ensure that every experience indicates a single brand identity, irrespective of the customer channel such as the phone, self-service, social media, and so on.  

Unified customer experience journey begins with a single customer view. It helps to store all the user interactions and information in a profile that is updated in real-time. Through a unified customer experience, companies can enhance their efficiency and productivity. It provides a more detailed view of the user.  

Customer data software is used by businesses to ensure that users are satisfied and that their requirements about the products and services are met. This software also helps to predict customer satisfaction in the future, which enables businesses to identify any setbacks, develop the customer base, and enhance retention rates.  

How do Customer Data Platforms Works? 

To understand this, you need to imagine yourself as the manager of the marketing team in a flourishing firm. Now, picture your firm is creating a new website, your team has created product details, uploaded various products, and bawl, your website is live.  

A prospected user begins his/her journey through a Google search. After a few days, the user again visits your site and uses the live chat facility although, didn’t make any purchase. A few weeks later, the user chooses your email list. In the coming weeks, the user checks the product, clicks your Facebook ad, and, adds the product to the cart but they have remained unconverted.  

All these data can shape any brand’s marketing campaign. Sometimes, gathering this information in several locations such as your Google analytics, heat map tool, and CRM causes data stacks. Here, CDP software comes into the picture.  

A CDP fetches interactions from several customer channels into unified customer data. With CDP, you can develop comprehensive customer profiles depending on behaviors, create segment customers, and improve user targeting. CDPs also improve your information and feed it into your campaign locations. This helps to enrich user interaction, develop a more detailed personalized experience, and better conversion rates.  

What are the criteria to look for in a CDP? 

Your team might be looking to buy a off-the shelf CDP or create one from the core utilities of a CDP. Whatever option the company chooses, you must differentiate the costs and benefits of buying versus creating a CDP. Here are the essential elements of the best CDPs: 

  1. Advanced analytics: A trader generally has more information than is required. So, whilst buying or creating a CDP, you should opt for the one that has more AI-powered analysis and endows advanced data analytics. This helps the traders to build dashboards comprising of relevant metrics.  
  1. Custom audience segmentation: The finest CDP enables any business to develop its custom audience through any data point. This further helps you to execute customized campaigns that target users over customer channels such as search engines, email, and media.  
  1. Security and privacy compliance: You need to ensure that your company’s CDP is secure. You check it using the privacy and security standards of a CDP which includes certifications such as ISO 27017, CSA STAR, ISO 27018, ISO 27001, and GDPR Seal.  
  1. Data integrations: Top customer data platforms integrate data from mar-tech and ad-tech piles. Hence, the CDP that you choose must ingest and activate information from the current device in real-time.  
  1. Identify resolution: It is defined as the potential of a CDP to comprehend how users interact around varying customer channels, touchpoints, and devices. This fundamental role enables CDPs to utilize a user’s history to generate unified custom data.  

Steps for Choosing the Best CDP  

Following are the steps that will help you select a CDP that best suits your goals and resources.  

  1. Bringing stakeholders into the picture: CDPs take in information from various units of any firm. This is why getting buy-in from internal stakeholders is significant when selecting CDP. Your supporter must be from the marketing, IT, sales, finance, and customer success departments. Getting input from your organization would help you to understand your requirements from a CDP.   
  1. Determine your core challenges: Defining use cases particular to your company helps them to identify the ideal CDP. Determining common themes helps to find and analyze CDP vendors who can resolve the defined issue. A few common CDP use case situations are enhanced personalization, actionable analytics, customer data unification, and multichannel messaging.  
  1. Outline the tools needed: Knowing the tools required by your organization will help you analyze traders and evaluate their integrations. Here’s how customer journey begins:  
  • Advertising tools like Facebook  
  • Data warehouses like Redshift 
  • Business intelligence tools like Looker 
  • Analytics tools like Google Analytics 
  • Live chat and customer success tools like Intercom  
  1. Collect requirements: Apart from merging with the existing tech stack, looking for the core abilities of a CDP is crucial. For example, if the organization manages sensitive information, a CDP that’s SOC 2-certified or ISO 27001 is ideal. Some of the basic requirements to be checked are: 
  • Level of quality enforcement  
  • The resolution facilities to seek a 360-degree view of the user journey. 
  • The volume of data that can be gathered. 
  • Data governance 
  • CCPA and GDPR compliance  
  • CDPs with control over varying permissions and roles  
  1. Compare CDP vendors: Identify suitable vendors by evaluating suggestions from peers, reading CDP comparison pages, and checking pricing pages. While searching, Capterra and G2 will be helpful resources. It is significant to know that all CDPs are not developed equally. A specific CDP may function perfectly for small companies and others for enterprise and midmarket businesses. Hence, you need to limit your CDP search accordingly.  

Once you identify a few powerful CDPs, take help from your stakeholders by asking them to rate their capabilities as compared to their requirements. Even provide a free trial for better understanding. This is how you can identify a solution that will work best for you.  

The Top 5 Customer Data Platforms  

There are various CDPs in the market. If you’re looking for the best CDP platform, then you can start with the options mentioned below: 

  1. Segment: It is a CDP that supports businesses to gather, activate, and clean real-time first-party information using 250+ devices. It offers  tools for data management techniques. The segment also enables businesses to utilize a single API to gather user information from their company segments such as customer service, analytics, and sales.  
  1. Emarsys: This is a CDP with brilliant CDP functions for streamlining user information. It focuses on industries from consumer products, sports, travel, e-commerce, retail, and media industries. Emarsys comprises of cross-channel personalization and automation, reporting and analytics, automated AI-based updates, and predictive analysis.  
  1. Bloomreach: It is an end-to-end CDP with ISO and GDPR certifications. It enables businesses to include 90+ connectors such as Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and others. Bloomreach supports its users in travel, consumer goods, retail, fashion, and other miscellaneous companies to construct a single uses view of the customer. This unified customer data view enables companies to track and analyze patterns in user behavior.  
  1. Optimove: This CDP enables companies to segment data, allowing companies to develop personalized multichannel campaigns. With Optimove, you get access to predictive customer analytics, customizable dashboards, scalable data infrastructures, and other functions to enhance customer involvement.  
  1. Tealium Audience Stream CDP: It is a CDP that allows companies to construct comprehensive user profiles. It ensures customer data safety and security. This CDP has privacy shield, HIPAA, SSAE18 SOC 2 Type I & II, and ISO 27001 and 27018 security certifications. It comprises predictive machine learning, identity resolution, and 1200+ integration choices for fetching the company’s user information.  

Bottom Line 

Selecting the best CDP isn’t an easy process. A company needs to ensure they are doing its due diligence to identify the right CDP depending upon the specific use cases and requirements.  

Once CDP gets implemented, you will get valuable insights from your data and a better understanding of your users. Along with this, your company’s stakeholders will be grateful for decreasing their workload as they won’t have to spend time constructing and managing integrations with their tools.  


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