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Customer Data Platforms: bridging marketing and IT

Customer Data Platforms: bridging marketing and IT

Written by Gerard Brinkman – September 21, 2017

Evolution – not revolution!  

Over the last decade martech and adtech companies have provided many independent solutions that support marketing activities and create value for marketing. The headache these solutions often bring is the lack of data integration. Each solution has its own set of data. And typically with a wider reach than the core application with the promise that the data can be used in a broader sense. CRM providers offering digital data solutions, tag managers offering CRM data, Data Management Platforms creating a perspective of CRM solutions or Data Warehouses, etc.

Historically for IT driven people, this causes serious integration issues. Databases are not compatible, analysts have to do a lot of spreadsheet integration. And the most important damage: there is no single view of the customer or visitor.

A single frame work solution: Customer Data Platform

A Customer Data Platform has the promise to solve this issue. One integrated view of all customer background and activity in a single environment. Customer Data Platforms separate what we know about individuals from the communication with, and marketing initiatives for these individuals. They allow IT and data focused people to continuously update and use the behavior and profile of the visitor or customer, but also allow the marketer to define new communication initiatives and strategies that can be rapidly deployed using best-of-breed platforms. This can be used for personalization on websites or mobile apps, call center interaction, e-mail campaigns or programmatic advertising.

Why a customer data platform now? As this is the era of the customer, where the customer is in the driving seat, companies cannot think in operational silos anymore. Customer centric thinking and operation is crucial is this. This means that customer/visitor activity and interaction is driving the business. Listening to the audience is crucial. A Customer Data Platform enables this.

Critical success factor for a Customer Data Platform is the willingness of people from various disciplines to understand the need to separate the application from the data. Implementing a Customer Data Platform requires a practical approach. IT and data specialists will have to map the various data sources and bring them together from CRM to call center, from web interaction to TV marketing response. But not all data is necessary from day one. Marketers typically have a good understanding of prioritizing what they need, but also a need to be agile. When companies are able to create a framework Customer Data Platform, but load it based on marketing requirements, the results can be astonishing.

Customer centric vision

It is not a revolutionary process. It has to happen in a structured, yet agile way where marketers understand the need for structure and IT staff understand the dynamics of the business environment. One thing they both must understand: it is all about the customer. A Customer Data Platform is a valuable contributor.

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