As digital marketers, we undoubtedly understand the value of a great customer experience for the brand. As consumers, we expect relevant experiences across all brand touch points. The challenge, of course, lies in how we deliver a relevant, engaging, and repeatable consumer experience (CX). Central to that is data—and more specifically, your data enablement strategy. But in times of increasing scrutiny over data protection and privacy, will our ability to create relevant, data-driven experiences become a thing of the past? Or will it propel us into our data-driven CX future?
It’s no secret that companies often struggle with data strategy and enablement—resulting from poor data quality, fragmented data, and different levels of data across channels, silos, and sources. The proliferation of mobile and digital platforms only compounds this issue, with marketing, IT, and product struggling to piece together an increasingly fragmented view of the customer and their interactions with the brand. So how do companies improve their data strategy and overall data enablement? Enter the customer data platform (CDP).
"Focus on the right data and technology platforms to deliver a consistent and relevant consumer experience, and will win and wow now and in future"
From a customer experience standpoint, a CDP can improve not only who you’re talking to, but how, why, when, and where you interact with them. A CDP can centralize data from a variety of sources and platforms to create that truly 360-degree view of a customer and their history, behavior, and intent—all insights that can improve personalization and contextually relevant communications, experiences, and offers. From a technology and platform standpoint, a CDP makes storing customer data in one place more efficient to analyze and extract, and making data more actionable across marketing platforms and channels. What makes a CDP different from a data warehouse is the fact that this intelligence layer lives in the hands of marketers (vs IT) and connects customer data and marketing applications in an actionable and integrated way.
Sounds great, right? But in a time of increased sensitivity and scrutiny of customer data and privacy, what does this mean for CDPs and companies overall?
The good news is that CDPs–coupled with increasing conversation and regulation around consumer data protection and privacy can actually help improve not only customer relevance, but also data compliance, and most importantly, the breakdown of business and data silos across the organization.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be enforced starting on May 25, 2018, is a data privacy law that among other things, gives Europeans the right to access their data stored by companies, and the right to erase that information or rectify on request. Arguably the most restrictive and sweeping data privacy law to date, companies everywhere have had to look at their data and practices and, perhaps for the first time, begin to ask questions of, “What data do we have? How are we using it today (or not)? And, do we really need it going forward?” In truth, these are the questions that organizations should regularly be asking themselves in what should become the basis for a more intentional, purposeful approach to data collection and enablement. Questions and conversations such as these encourage increased collaboration between departments, breaking down business and data silos, and putting to rest the days of storing as much data as possible and “figuring out what to do with it later”. The output of all of this is increased data utility in ways that improve customer relevance and personalization, which in turn, encourages customers to trust you with their data for a better customer experience.
While the data, technology platform, and regulatory landscape are changing on a daily basis, what hasn’t changed is the expectation of the consumer for a brand to deliver a differentiated and memorable customer experience. Focus on the right data and technology platforms to deliver a consistent and relevant consumer experience, and you’ll earn the right to win and wow now and in the future.