The current CDP landscape includes a number of enterprise platforms each with equipped with different strengths and weaknesses. There has been an uptick the past couple years in CDP popularity and several vendors have made acquisitions of CDPs to further boost the capabilities of their digital experience suite. A recent example has been Acquia’s purchase of AgilOne Inc.
What’s interesting to note is, despite their powerful nature, there’s never been one standard CDP model we can all tap into. Each CDP is designed with specific objectives in mind, or for unique software environments in which they’ll need to integrate.
Clients often want them personalized and customized to fit their brand’s current strategic plan. Some CDP’s only use collected data to solve a subset of marketing problems, but not necessarily all of them.
It’s this very uniqueness that has always made choosing the best CDP for your marketing enterprise a challenge, which largely explains why there are still a significant number of brands out there that aren’t using them at all.
In fact, according to a study by Researchscape only 46% of marketers are collecting data from several connected channels, and 27% report they don’t have any data channels connected whatsoever. That’s a lot of untapped data, housed in separate business silos, going to waste.
But that’s all about the change. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), we’re looking to seer CDPs jump off the “nice, but not necessary” list and onto your next marketing budget as a mandatory line-item.
Let’s look at why.
Despite their differences, these individual data-crunching platforms excel in an ability to render reasonably accurate data profiles of our customers. Some prove more robust and effective than others generally because they receive better, less-fragmented, data and more of it.
Of course, there’s always been a deep chasm wedged between raw data and solid marketing intelligence, and this is where CDPs have typically had mixed results.
The good news is, the richness and accuracy of customer data profiles is about to improve further, thanks to the introduction of AI to the CDP ecosystem.
AI infused applications are set to deliver both intelligence and much needed automation to the process of solving complex, data-intense customer use-cases.
There’s no question that personalization is the requisite component of a fruitful customer experience. An AI empowered CDP will, ideally, have access to data from all customer touchpoints.
An entire digital fingerprint can be developed for each customer, ultimately anticipating their every whim and responding with a suitable offer.
More often than not, organizations face an imposing task of breaking down departmental silos to access data and they don’t always have a centralized data store in place, whether it’s a data warehouse or data lake.
Customer touchpoints and channels are continuing to emerge, simultaneously with privacy laws and data regulations legislating what customer data can be used and how.
Hording data not only stifles activities across the enterprise, it can also have legal ramifications, which is why, strangely enough, marketers are starting to find themselves the new gatekeepers of system wide data networks.
But this is a good thing as it gives marketers and their AI empowered CDPs more information to play with.
Using predictive analytics, CDPs with machine learning will post a candid snapshot of customer behavior, allowing you as marketers to engage with them, in real time, throughout the sales journey.
This means sending them the targeted messaging they’re looking to hear, in a channel they want to be addressed through, at the time they want to be addressed. This means compelling a customer about-face just as they are heading for the sales funnel exit. And ultimately, this mean successfully introducing others into that funnel.
With ML and AI empowered CDPs, this process will essentially run itself after initial set-up.
With a well-executed data readiness plan and integration to your digital ecosystem, AL/ML empowered CDPs will be able to effectively learn as more data is gleaned from each successive campaign.
Rendering data that’s not only relevant to sales, but to all aspects of the customer’s relationship with your brand.
With customers engaging with your brand through multiple touchpoints including social media, online communities, email campaign, customer service call centers, in-store and via mobile devices, the volume of customer data has skyrocketed exponentially.
This data is far too valuable to stay locked in various business silos, because using AI empowered CDPs, the data can finally bridge the gap and become serviceable business intelligence that will drive sales and loyalty.
The use of CDPs is a transformative game changer that every business needs to consider right now or be left behind to leaky sales funnels and a diminishing customer base.
Dan Drapeau is the Head of Technology at Blue Fountain Media, a leading digital transformation agency.
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