Spoiler: a Customer Data Platform
If you work for an organization that has any kind of online presence, chances are that you have Google Analytics (GA) set up on your website. Maybe you worked with a top-notch agency (ahem) to install the perfect instance of GA or maybe you hired your own people internally. Either way, you may be left wondering - that’s great, but now what? While GA is a great tool for understanding what’s happening on your website, it definitely lacks capabilities that Marketing teams can’t live without. Most notably, GA falls short when it comes to customer analytics, marketing automation, and privacy compliance. Luckily, new tools are becoming available that provide excellent solutions for these areas. They are called Customer Data Platforms, or CDPs for short. At CompassRed, our CDP of choice is Segment, and we’re not alone - they frequently top ‘best lists’ from aggregators like G2 Crowd and Capterra. Whether it’s Segment or the CDP of your choosing, here are some of the benefits you can expect to see once set up.
Let me cut to the chase, Google Analytics is not a good solution for customer analytics. There is so much more to the customer journey than a website, and GA is not setup to easily collect and synthesize data from other systems (e.g. social platforms, ad servers, email marketing platforms, customer service desks, point-of-sale systems - just to name a few). A CDP can tackle collection and synthesis through API connections and identity resolution. API connections allow a non-developer to (simply enough) make connections between various systems - more on this in the next section, but a good CDP will have an extensive (and extensible) list of supported API connections. Connecting systems is obviously a very important step in setting up a customer analytics framework, but equally as important is the synthesis of all the data that is passed between systems - that’s where a powerful identity resolution engine is required. Identity resolution takes all of the different customer IDs, touch-points, and contextual information from your various systems and creates combined customer profiles. Once resolved, you will be able to see how a customer interacts with your organization across the web, mobile apps, email, advertising networks, transactions, and whatever other systems you connect to the CDP. It’s extremely empowering for a Marketing team to reach this level of customer understanding, and it only gets better with the next topic - marketing automation.
Great, you have all of your customer data synthesized and sitting in one system. You can analyze this data to your hearts delight and maybe even call on a Data Science shop to help you with customer behavior models. It’s extremely valuable to know which of your customers are likely to churn, but it’s game-changing (in just a few clicks) to be able to email that same cohort with an incentive to stick around. CDPs can also significantly reduce wasted marketing spend. If a customer sees your email and signs up for the new service your promoting, there’s no reason to target that customer across the web with banner ads. Not only can you eliminate unnecessary spend, you can also have a more personalized conversation with customers. If a customer purchased product A, then it might be a good time to introduce the value of product B. The possibilities feel endless when you have complete control over your customer data, but, to quote Spider-Man, with this power comes great responsibility.
With regulations like GDPR and CCPA hitting the marketplace recently and presumably more to follow, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on customer data privacy practices. Lucky for you, a good CDP has your back out of the gate. With simple controls for customer data collection, requests, and erasure - you can rest easy knowing that your full data stack is compliant.
If it sounds like your organization is ready to take the next step in your data journey, we would love to help. Drop us a line or give us a call.