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Mar 22, 2024

Let’s Get Back to CDP Basics

In a little more than a decade since the customer data platform (CDP) was coined to describe a standalone application that creates a unified view of the customer and makes it accessible to other systems, there has been so much jostling about who is or is not a CDP and what’s required to be a RealCDP that the term has almost lost all meaning. Everyone’s talking about composability, reverse ETL, marketing cloud, smart hub – no wonder there is so much confusion.

It reminds me a bit about the “sabermetrics” craze in baseball, where arcane stats that no one understands – WAR, wRC+ and wOBA to name a few – replace the easily understood batting average, RBIs and runs as tools to measure player value. Baseball purists complain, rightfully so, that there is so much attention paid to the complex stats that no one seems to care anymore about the ultimate objective – winning ballgames.

Likewise, lost in the shuffle amid all the back and forth about a CDPs definition is its ultimate purpose. What are we trying to accomplish? Is the goal to have the best widget such as reverse ETL, or is to have a better understanding of your customers and use that understanding to achieve better outcomes through more personalized experiences?

Ignite Your Customer Data

Along the same line, because a CDP for all intents and purposes is a marketing tool, it seems that everyone has also lost sight of what marketers want. Everyone is talking about empowering the marketer, as if marketers are losing sleep thinking about how composability will help them bring data together more efficiently. Is that really what marketers care about, or do they want the best data to create the best audiences?

To some extent, a focus on integration, on infrastructure or on tools that promise to bring data together better, faster, easier – is understandable, even encouraging. It shows that there is now a consensus on how important it is to ignite customer data. With everyone in agreement that pristine data is required to create real-time personalized experiences, the battle lines naturally shift to who can produce the biggest spark. The bluster, though, doesn’t take the marketer into account, whose primary concern is that the CDP provide them with a deep understanding of the customer that adapts over time.

Core CDP Functionality

In that light, it’s time we return to the basics and remember that providing that deep customer understanding is the CDP’s main responsibility. To that end, a CDP should have a few core capabilities, starting with ingesting and fixing messy customer data, and resolving identities at individual and relationship levels to create an accurate unified customer profile. A CDP should also make it easy to build reusable segments without code, and then activate those segments against any marketing or CX use case.

Marketers want to maximize the value of customer data quickly, but in a pragmatic way.  They don’t want to have to add staff or rely on data scientists. They just want to be able to trust the data so that, in turn, they can better trust their campaigns, programs and results for whatever their use case might be that rests on having a better understanding of the customer.

Maximize Value of Your Customer Data

It’s time to cut through the smoke and mirrors and think back to the original concept of a CPD that starts with creating a unified view of the customer. Redpoint’s mission from the start (and we were included in the 2013 list of original CDPs) has been to power superior customer experiences based on a foundation of cleansed, pristine and unified customer data. For more than a decade, we have stayed true to the vision that a CDP’s ultimate purpose is to extract value from customer data. That is what marketers want. And it’s what Redpoint delivers.

We welcome you to join our CDP Back to Basics series, a five-part webinar presented by Beth Scagnoli, Redpoint Global Vice-President of Product Management, and Kris Tomes, Redpoint Global Vice-President of Engineering. You can watch the first episode of the webinar series, “Understanding the Core: Elements of the CDP” here.

Steve Zisk 2022 Scaled

John Nash

Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Redpoint Global

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