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The right data strategy is the foundation for better customer experiences

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Shreya Christina
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Integration is one of the main reasons CDPs provide a deeper view of a customer than cookies. CDPs integrate with other technologies and data sources and connect and activate – in real time – both online and offline data that resides in silos in an organization. CDPs can be seen as the brain that powers all customer experience tools, the glue between marketing and other systems. “When you think about providing a connected experience for a customer, you don’t want to have a web of completely different systems,” Fleisch says.

What you really want is one centralized brain to manage data decisions and understand the next best customer experience. CDPs can act as that centralized brain, providing information not only through different channels on the platform, but also to different teams in an organization. “The CDP is the perfect balance between getting a good picture of your customer and making sure all that data can run in real time,” says Fleisch. By “real-time,” Fleisch refers to latencies of milliseconds, rather than hours or days.

This real-time intelligence helps brands build strong relationships with customers by meeting them where they are, with exactly what they want and need. According to the 2022 Adobe Trust Report72% of consumers say their trust in a brand increases when content is relevant and delivered at the right time and place.

The level of personalization that customers demand can only happen with real-time action on customer data. For example, everyone likes offers that save them money, so sending customers a coupon for services or products is a good temptation, but only if it’s a coupon they’ll use. A generic coupon or, worse, a coupon sent to a customer that doesn’t fit the target demographic can reduce trust in a brand.

Real-time data personalization for customers

CDPs are applicable in all sectors and regions. For a large company with more complex implementations, Fleisch notes, CDPs can be used to provide greater customization and sophistication in how data is processed and managed within an enterprise. For smaller businesses, using CDPs can focus more on marketing, led by a team committed to delivering consistent experiences from customer acquisition to retention and loyalty.

For example, London-based TSB Bank decided it needed to unify its customers’ banking experiences across channels, especially as more of its customers go digital. Other objectives were to provide customers with the most relevant content in real time, establish stronger consistency between online and in-branch transactions, and move away from third-party cookies and consent-driven first-party data.

According to Mike Gamble, director of analysis and design for TSB, “We needed a complete picture of every person who bankers with us, from their history to their needs to how they move through the customer journey, and that meant centralizing our data in a a platform.” For example, TSB customers who viewed new homes online can get information about TSB’s mortgages.Just one year after implementing a CDP, the bank saw a 400% increase in loan applications.

As a first step toward exploring a CDP, Fleisch suggests confirming the need and use case(s) for your organization. Next, make sure you understand the long-term needs of your business and keep that vision in mind. “Think long-term about how a customer data platform can really unify data, connect teams, and find value in all that customer-provided data without hitting dead ends,” says Fleisch.

This content is produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editors of MIT Technology Review.

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