What is a customer data platform?

You can think of a customer data platform’s architecture as a puzzle. The data platform is the bigger piece of a thousand-piece puzzle — it’s a storage area for data that comes from tons of different channels.

When you combine this data using customer data platform software, you’ll see trends and potential outcomes clearly, which allows you to make the best possible choices for your business.

In layman’s terms, you can picture a customer data platform like a puzzle.

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It takes audience demographic data from a specific channel, like paid advertising (one piece of the puzzle), email information from an email client (another piece of the puzzle), and so on to create a complete puzzle.

A CDP takes data from all areas, compiles it into one system, and helps you make decisions based on how that data works together. When explained in this way, it’s easy to see how a customer data platform is especially beneficial in the marketing industry.

What kind of data can you store with customer data platform software?

Any data that you can collect, in any capacity, is more useful when used with customer data platform software.

Why? Because when data gets stored together, CDPs can draw conclusions based on all that data.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” it perfectly describes the best customer data platforms.

Keep in mind that each category of data that you can store within a customer data platform is typically broken down into more categories.

Here are some data types that you can store within the best customer data platforms:

Customer demographic data

If you own a business, you know that you can’t create products or market them properly without understanding the demographics of your audience.

Here’s some beneficial demographic information that you should consider:

  • How old are they?
  • What is their marital status?
  • How many children do they have?
  • What is their occupation?
  • What is their household income?

The answers to these questions can go a long way in helping you create and market a product that speaks to your target audience. The right customer data platform software can keep demographic data stored and organized correctly.

Ecommerce transactions

If you run an online business, you know it’s essential to keep track of your sales. Not only that, but it’s important to know where the sales came from, along with a long list of other data points.

Here are some ecommerce data points that your customer data platform software can store:

  • How many units of each project you've sold
  • If the same person made repeat purchases
  • How the purchaser got to your site, like from an ad on social media
  • How long the purchaser was on your site
  • If they abandoned their shopping cart at any point

These are all crucial pieces of the ecommerce puzzle, and with this kind of data, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how you promote or portray your products online.

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Your ecommerce transaction data can work well with demographic data to recognize trends among your overall audience. When you start looking at more than one area of data, you can see how beneficial it is to have it all in one place on your customer data platform.

Email information

Your email marketing campaign is a big part of your overall strategy, so it’s important to pull that information in as well.

Here are some email marketing metrics you can store on your customer data platform to increase the well-roundedness of your data pool:

  • Email recipients
  • Email open rates
  • Email subject lines
  • Email sending frequency
  • Call to action (CTA) effectiveness

Email marketing information is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to a complete customer data platform.

Social media interactions

Social media is one of the best ways to market your products. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could integrate your social media data with your demographic data to conclude who you should target on social media?

With your customer data platform, you can.

Here are some metrics you should pay attention to when it comes to social media:

  • What platforms your audience uses the most
  • What post types people interact with the most
  • If your audience uses direct message features
  • How users engage with video and image posts

These metrics combine with demographic data and more to create a brilliant picture of your audience and how they interact with your products.

Website metrics

Your website is the home of your products, services, online store, and so much more.

You must collect data based on how users interact with your site to ensure that it’s driving sales.

Website metrics are one of the most important things to include on your customer data platform.

Here are some can’t-ignore website metrics:

  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Dwell time
  • What buttons users click
  • How users found your website
  • How many pages they visit
  • How they convert
  • If they convert
  • Overall website traffic
  • Location of your site visitors

There are a ton of website metrics to consider, and they’re all vital in helping you form the best possible marketing strategy — especially when combined with other parameters in your customer data platform.

Storefront data

If you have a storefront, there are a lot of metrics to keep track of as well. Just because your storefront doesn’t operate online doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to the way it performs and draw conclusions as to why.

Here are some storefront data metrics that you can store with the best customer data platforms:

  • How many people enter your store
  • Average number of items in a transaction
  • Average total of a purchase
  • How long people spend in the store

You can compare your storefront data to your ecommerce data to see which is more effective, as well as contrast your strategies. From there, if something is working well in your storefront, if possible, you can emulate it on your ecommerce store, and vice versa.

Phone call metrics

Phone calls are an essential part of your business.

Whether you’re a business-to-business (B2B) business or a business-to-consumer (B2C) business, you likely receive a lot of phone calls about your products and services. Whether it be to learn more about your services or purchase a product over the phone, calls matter.

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Anything that’s important to your business or has anything to do with your customers and conversions should have data to go with it.

That makes phone call metrics another critical data set to include in your customer data platform.

You can typically track:

  • Where a phone call came from
  • What marketing strategy it's associated with via call tracking
  • How long each phone call lasts

These metrics can go a long way when combined with other data in your customer data platform.

Ad data

What’s a marketing campaign without ads? Whether you run pay-per-click (PPC) ads in search engines like Google or opt for social media ads, they all work tirelessly to drive leads to your business.

Not only is it necessary to look at your ad analytics on their own, but it becomes even more beneficial when you combine your ad data with other data in your customer data platform.

Here are some ad metrics to pay attention to:

  • How many people click your ad
  • Average cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Keywords you targeted with each ad
  • Landing pages metrics
  • How long an ad was active
  • How much you spent on the complete campaign

Ads are a big part of how you sell your products and services, and with the ability to look at ad metrics alongside other essential data points, you’ll be able to sell more than ever before.

5 benefits of a customer data platform

If having all your business data in one place wasn’t enough to entice you to opt for a customer data platform, let’s take a look at a few other benefits!

1. CDPs give you a birds-eye view of all your data

Like we mentioned before, customer data platform software lets you see all your company’s data in one place. It can integrate with other data platforms and allow all your data to work together to help you run your business more efficiently.

Instead of looking at data from each of your marketing strategies alone, you can see it in one place.

2. CDPs help you optimize your spending

When you’re able to see all your data at one time, it allows you to spot trends in the effectiveness of campaigns. If you see that a specific campaign isn’t producing, you can tweak it to increase its performance.

When you tweak your campaigns so that they perform better, it means you’ll be saving money. It’ll keep you from spending your marketing budget on something that isn’t working.

For example, if you see that your ads just aren’t performing even when you dish out a relatively high CPC, you might want to tweak your strategy to optimize your spending. You may, for instance, work on the quality and relevancy of your ads, which can help minimize ad costs.

3. CDPs offer you a marketing advantage

If you’ve ever wanted a marketing advantage above your competitors, adopting a customer data platform is how you can do it.

Data is only as effective as your understanding of it. So often, data slips through the cracks simply because your business doesn’t have the time to interpret it, or even put it to use.

With so much data out there, you should use every bit to ensure that you’re squeezing every bit of potential out of the information available to you.

Data from each channel or different aspects of your business are effective on their own, but when you combine them to see the bigger picture, they’re even more effective.

You’ll have a massive advantage over your competitors who look at their data separately or not at all.

4. CDPs help you find new opportunities

Looking at large data sets can allow you to see things from a broader perspective. You may not have thought to look at your demographic data in tandem with your social media data before, but with a customer data platform, you can.

You’ll be able to spot patterns that open the door to new marketing opportunities that allow you to craft the perfect campaign.

For example, you may find that your social media posts aren’t getting the engagement that you’d like. After looking at your demographic data, also stored on your customer data platform, you find that the demographic you’re marketing to isn’t that active on the social media platform where you post.

Taking advantage of this data could open the door to a new opportunity that will allow you to improve your social media campaign and increase its effectiveness.

5. CDPs increase your efficiency

Any time you can organize an aspect of your business, you should take advantage of the opportunity. A more organized company means a more efficient business, and you’ll reap the benefits of your new-found efficiency with your customer data platform.

You’ll save time bouncing back-and-forth from your various platforms to gather data separately. Not only that, but if you’ve used spreadsheets to organize your data before, you can kiss them goodbye.

Although spreadsheets can be a decent way to organize information, once you’ve seen the effects of a customer data platform, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

What’s the difference between a CDP and a CRM?

Though CDPs and CRMs do have a similarity or two, for the most part, they’re entirely different.

The main difference between a CDP and a CRM (or customer relationship management) is that a CDP collects data across a wide variety of channels and automatically creates customer profiles. A CRM platform, on the other hand, requires manual data entry.

Here are some other differences between a CDP and a CRM:

Lifetime vs. sales journey

CDPs can create lifetime reports and profiles based on customer behavior. That means you’ll be able to look at customer data over the entire lifetime of your relationship — giving you a birds-eye view of their journey.

CRMs, on the other hand, typically only consider data from the sales funnel. You won’t be able to see an overview of the journey that a customer took to get there.

Anonymous vs. known

A CDP allows you to collect data on unnamed visitors that you’ve never had before — providing you with tons of data.

A CRM only creates reports based on users that it knows to be customers or expects them to become a customer.

Auto-collect vs. manual entry

CDPs can collect and handle copious amounts of data. In doing so, they can also organize that data and store it safely.

With CRM, you must enter data manually, and there is potential that the data could become lost due to user error.

Online and offline vs. online

It’s probably no surprise that CDPs can collect data from both online and offline sources. Not only does this provide more data, but it allows users to make better marketing decisions.

CRMs can hold both online and offline data, but it won’t collect the offline data on its own — you’ll have to enter it manually.

How WebFX can help with your customer data platform

At WebFX, we want you to make the most of your data, and we can help you collect it. We know that from a marketing perspective, data means everything. To take advantage of every last drop, we’ve created a proprietary platform called MarketingCloudFX (MCFX).

This artificial intelligence-powered platform is home to more than ten smaller tools that work to bring you the best data and insights into your marketing campaign.

Check out what data you’ll have access to when you opt for MarketingCloudFX:

LeadManagerFX

Have you ever had trouble keeping track of your leads? Have you ever wanted to know more information about your leads? If so, LeadManagerFX can help.

This tool allows you to gain insight into how leads make their way to your site, in addition to what pages they visit and what campaigns drive phone calls.

The best part? All your lead data is in one place.

CallTrackerFX

Like we mentioned before, calls are a big part of your business, and learning to make them as effective as possible is an art. You’ll be able to simplify the art of tracking calls with CallTrackerFX.

This MCFX feature allows you to see real-time data concerning your phone calls, along with call transcriptions, the source of your phone calls, and more.

CallTrackerFX can multiply the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns since you can attach specific phone calls to each marketing strategy. Unique phone numbers allow you to track precisely where leads come from.

ContentAnalyticsFX and PredictionGeniusFX

ContentAnalyticsFX uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help you understand the value of your content. You’ll be able to see visitor and conversion data, as well as the value of each page of content, and how much site visitors engage with each page.

This data is invaluable for helping you craft effective future content.

Content is the most critical part of your website, and you can spend countless hours crafting and posting content that you think has ranking potential. But what if it doesn’t rank for weeks, or it doesn’t rank at all?

PredictionGeniusFX can predict how a piece of content will perform in search engine results pages (SERPs), meaning that you won’t have to play the guessing game.

Your ranking is crucial to how much site traffic you receive, so having insight into how your content will perform gives you a leg up on your competition.

PredictionGeniusFX is the only tool of its kind, and you won’t be disappointed.

VisitorRecorderFX

Have you ever wondered what people do when they’re on your site?

VisitorRecorderFX will teach you!

You’ll be able to gain real-time insight into user behavior, how they interact with your pages, what buttons they press, and so much more. This kind of insight helps you understand how to craft a website that resonates with your target audience.

PersonalizeFX

In today’s world, personalization is critical. Users want to feel important and catered to, and with PersonalizeFX, you can create a website experience that does just that for your target audience.

With this tool, you’ll be able to tailor your website to visitors’ industries, companies, locations, and previous behavior.

CompetitorSpyFX

If you’ve ever wished you could spy on your competitors, now you can!

With CompetitorSpyFX, you can see data that outlines where your competitors get their traffic, what other companies look at on your website, and even what pages they view.

You’ll always be in the know with CompetitorSpyFX.

Learn more about customer data platforms today!

If you want to learn more about customer data platforms and how they can help your business, WebFX can help.

We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that’s been in business for over a decade. We’re home to 200+ marketing specialists who are experts in their craft, and we can help you collect the data that’s most important to your unique business.

To learn more about customer data platforms, contact us online, or give us a call at 888-601-5359.

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