The perfect customer experience may be within reach
What is the perfect customer experience? Is it gaining brand loyalty, converting a customer complaint into an upsell, securing a signature on a lucrative long-term contract, a satisfied customer spreading the word over social media -- or all the above?
Marketers would be happy to bring home any one of these activities. But that requires a total understanding -- or 360-degree view, in current parlance -- of the customer through the collection, management and analysis of overwhelming floods of customer information from disparate internal and external sources.
Customer data platform features have been gaining attention over the past few years for their potential to unify siloed customer data into a manageable, accessible, democratized package that can deliver 360-degree insights. More recently, high-profile vendors have entered the fray and expanded the platform's capabilities and applications.
"The CDP is not necessarily a substitute for an enterprise's database of record, but it can effectively ensure that customer profile data, transactional events and analytic attributes are available to marketing when needed for real-time interactions," wrote analysts Benjamin Bloom and Lizzy Foo Kune in Gartner's April 2020 "Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms."
But is potential enough? Apparently so. Marketers maintain an insatiable appetite to better understand their customers, even while struggling in the attempt. Among marketing decision-makers planning to deploy a CDP in the next two years, "35% have already secured the budget and 43% are in the process of building a business case to secure funding," according to Gartner's 2019 Marketing Technology Survey. "If faced with a choice for which planned technologies to scrap, respondents ranked CDPs as the technology they would least likely cut from their planned deployments."
This handbook provides a platform for companies that have deployed CDPs. We also examine the leading customer data platform features and answer some of the skepticism surrounding CDP deployments.