It makes total sense – people are more likely to buy things that appeal to them. Therefore, the more relevant you make the experience for the customer, the more it will drive engagement and conversions, making data-driven personalization  something of a ‘holy grail’ for brands.
However, despite the Digital Marketing Association noting that 77% of brands believe real-time personalization of their marketing is crucial, a whopping 60% still struggle to do it.
Why is it that something that is so crucial to modern-day marketing is still not being implemented by more than half of the industry?
Customers are dynamic, so why isn’t your data?
Consumers are not predictable, and rarely interact with brands in a predefined way. Rather, they interact with a lot of things in a whole variety of ways – creating a wealth of data points along the way.
However, all too often these customer data sources aren’t integrated with one another, forming silos of disjointed customer records, which consequently leads to an isolated view of the customer.
This leads us to the main problem: how are you meant to truly personalize when you only know half of someone’s story? Realistically, you can’t.
Companies need to stop relying on rigid customer segments, that are based on arbitrary metrics, and that generalize consumers and instead start looking for the bigger picture. For instance, segmenting customers on the basis of them being male and aged between 18 and 25 does not mean they will all act the same.
Unified data leads to a unified understanding
The key to true personalization lies in the ability to understand the customer and anticipate their needs – which is only achieved through a centralized source of unified data.
Integrating a customers’ various data points enables you to create in-depth profiles about your customers that are enriched by every interaction. In doing so, you are free from trying to prescriptively define your audience based on static data – data that generalizes and looks at customers historically – but rather can segment customers based on their ever-changing needs and wants.
The role of the Customer Data Platform
The Customer Data Platform  (CDP) is currently being hailed as the gold standard of data integration – one that makes sophisticated, successful personalization possible. This is the due to the fact that a CDP has the capability to integrate all customer data, using matching technology, and unify customer profiles across systems.
By operationalizing data in this way, and by integrating seamlessly with third party marketing optimization tools across all channels, the Customer Data Platform enables marketers to pull highly specific segments of customers and target them with relevant, personalized information that is conducive to boosting conversions.
Furthermore, using a CDP creates a feedback loop that sends customer response, engagement and conversion data from this targeted material back into the CDP to inform future personalization, leading to customer retention and brand loyalty.
In sum, a Customer Data Platform overcomes the problems of siloed data sources and enables highly effective targeting based on ever-changing customer behaviors, making it the new cornerstone of personalization.
For more on how you can maximize your customer data through personalization, watch our recent webinar, ‘Maximize Your Customer Data: The Personalization Masterclass ‘, now available on-demand.
This is Part 1 in a series of three articles on using a Customer Data Platform to personalize your marketing. Check back next week for Part 2, in which we’ll look at the essential components of a Customer Data Platform, and how it differs from a Data Management Platform.
- ^ data-driven marketing (www.clickz.com)
- ^ McKinsey (www.mckinsey.com)
- ^ data-driven personalization (www.clickz.com)
- ^ Fospha (www.fospha.com)
- ^ Customer Data Platform (fospha.com)
- ^ Maximize Your Customer Data: The Personalization Masterclass (www.clickz.com)
- ^ Fospha (fospha.com)
- ^ Click here (www.clickz.com)