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7 min read

How to Use a CDP to Guide Digital Transformation in Times of Disruption

By Matthew Biboud Lubeck

In the best of times, digital transformation requires you to think big. When a pandemic is putting the squeeze on your business, you have to be able to pivot, fast. And decisions you would have taken in months need to happen in days and hours.

Now, it's more important than ever to have a holistic and up-to-date view of your customers, so you can quickly and intelligently adapt. This is exactly what a comprehensive Customer Data Platform (CDP) should help you do: generate a rich and precise view of customers, surface timely insights, and help every team in your organization collaborate to take the right actions to achieve your organization-wide goals.

In other words, it should give you visibility and guidance for your whole customer ecosystem, while also allowing each team and channel to drive quick pivots and wins.

Unfortunately, many brands have departments, channels, and campaigns working in silos — with different views of the customer, disconnected goals, and separated measurement. For brands like this, the narrow, channel-centric view is the only option. And it puts the brand at risk, unable to understand overall changes in customer behavior and to adapt to strategies that meet new consumer demands.

So what exactly do industry-leading brands do? Read on for the key elements of a digital transformation that will help adapt to the realities of the pandemic and beyond, and how a truly transversal CDP makes these changes possible.

1. Up-to-Date Customer Insights & Actions

With buying patterns shifting, you need to be able to monitor up-to-date consumer behavior and market trends, then make quick changes to brand strategy.

A CDP ensures you have a comprehensive view of all of your customers in one place that surfaces insights, engagement, and buying patterns. This data gets refreshed every day and is widely accessible across your organization to everyone from analysts to marketers to the C-suite, helping you keep up with changes in how customers are interacting with the brand.

2. Agile CX, Personalized Content, & Services

Customers are moving online at a greater pace than before and offline experiences are shifting to meet new consumer needs, like contactless shopping and curbside pickup.

A CDP helps brands understand how customers are getting on board with new channels, product mix, and experiences, as well as who is being left behind. A CDP can disambiguate a truly new customer from one who is just interacting on a new channel. Having a view of what’s working and who it’s working for can mean the difference between massive churn and global customer retention.

3. Adaptation of Content & Digital Media

Though the external circumstances have changed, the fundamental principles of marketing still apply: you increase your chances of success by having content available across channels focused on the products and experiences customers care about right now, so that they feel confident you are keyed in to their needs. But with the changes in consumer behavior and media consumption patterns, the right content and channel preferences have changed. Automations and pre-covid best practices can’t keep running on autopilot.

A CDP helps brands monitor trends alongside channel and product preferences to decide and develop the right strategic mix of content. Then it creates audiences and automatically syndicates across channels to deliver the right experiences for the best results.

4. Measurement & ROI for Campaigns

As companies scale up new customer-centric initiatives across the business, they need to test and learn to identify successes that they can scale, while getting rid of underperforming investments. Leading brands know this requires a multi-layered measurement system: at the business level (customer health), the investment level (channel & budget performance), and the tactic level (campaign results). Together, these views let a business understand performance in a way that executives, channel and product leaders, and marketing leaders can use to optimize and plan the business.

A CDP directly solves 2 of these challenges and is a critical component of the third. First, a CDP can monitor customer health metrics and changes over time, in macro and by segment. Second, a CDP allows multivariate testing and A/B test set up with controls, to measure multi-channel campaign lift. Third, a CDP with strong identity capabilities provides a trusted view of individuals with a complete and accurate view of their transactions, which is a requirement of attribution vendors to provide the investment level view of performance to optimize budgets by channel.

5. Product, Pricing, Placement, Promotion (the P's)

Ok, I know - the 4 P’s. Really? Yes. If we only use customer data for campaign activation, we’ve used it to drive traffic from new and existing customers — which is great. But some of the most strategic uses of customer data exist within the brand experience itself: what products to offer, how to merchandise them, in what channels, and at what price point. Understanding customer segments and their product, channel and pricing sensitivities, becomes critical.

A CDP creates the single view of the customer needed to track the right insights, such as changes in discount sensitivity or basket composition in order to model customer needs and adjust your brand’s offering. And when changes are made, a CDP can flexibly monitor impact to customer performance to assess impact.

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Learn about how a CDP provides the data infrastructure necessary to analyze and adapt to shifts in customer behavior — download the white paper.

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