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Don’t Lose Track of Your Customers! CDPs Create Unified Customer Profiles

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

What’s a unified customer profile, and why should you care? It’s a question many CMOs and other marketing professionals wrestle with, even if they’ve never heard the term.

That’s because customers today use so many different channels to interact with the brands they buy, that getting a grip on what’s driving sales is often maddening without a technology assist. At each critical point of the buyer’s journey, customers can choose their channels. And if the information on those channels isn’t carefully tracked and associated with a single unified profile for each customer, the result is often multiple identities for the same customer, a failure to “connect the dots,” and potentially lots of lost sales.

What’s at Stake? How a Unified Customer Profiles Works

For example, a customer might open an email, click through to the website, load up a digital cart, then decide to try items on in-store. Later, they might use a price-comparison app, and then purchase it in the store or from another site. If a business doesn’t have tools in place to connect these touchpoints, they can find themselves sending ineffective marketing offers, or losing track of customers before finalizing a sale. Or, they could continue pestering a customer who already bought, rather than encouraging add-on or repeat sales. On the flip side, connecting these channels and pieces of an identity empowers businesses to better segment and target customers, so they strike with irresistible offers, delight customers, and get the sale.

What’s a Customer Data Platform, and How Does it Unify Customer Identities?

That’s why marketing leaders at top brands and retailers are turning to Customer Data Platforms (or CDP). CDPs take data from all kinds of streams, including web interactions, social media, CRM, loyalty programs, in-store purchases, third-party data and mobile apps. Then they apply AI-assisted techniques to create a unique, complete profile of each customer. (The best CDPs have no problem doing this millions of times and updating each profile nearly in real-time as data comes in.)

With a CDP, it’s easy to associate multiple identifiers with each customer, stitching together a persistent identity that is retained forever. Understanding the consumer’s buying journey helps marketers gain insights on customer modeling and their propensity to buy.

How Does a CDP Work?

A CDP helps create an identity master for all every user; known and unknown, and it scales to handle millions of customers. The CDP then adds several key attributes for segmentation, attribution and user conversion. These attributes include cookie ID, global cookie id, IP address, UTM parameters, custom attributes, website metadata (description, titles, etc) and many more fields.Top of Form

What is Identity Resolution How to Create a Single Customer ID from Many Sources

Having one single customer record yields a single holistic view of each customer engagement journey, so you can personalize the overall customer experience. Global cosmetics retailer Shiseido, for example, wanted to connect loyalty data from online and offline channels to improve recommendations across in-store, eCommerce and mobile loyalty apps. They accomplished this through identity resolution, an AI-assisted process that combines data from several different customer databases and creates a “Golden Customer Profile.”

4 ways to build a persistent unified ID:

As you dive deeper into a CDP, look for these capabilities to create persistent unified ids:

  1. Persistent ID:Assigns each customer/prospect an internal identifier and maintains it over time despite changes or multiple versions of other identifiers, such as email address or phone number. This allows the CDP to maintain individual history over time. Even when source systems might discard old identifiers, it does not automatically expire. Marketers can control any expiration or deletion of data based on their needs.

  2. Deterministic matching:Stores multiple identifiers known to belong to the same person and link them to a shared ID (typically the persistent ID). This helps a CDP to connect identifiers directly. For example, if an email linked to an account is opened on a particular device, subsequent activity on that device can also be linked to the account.

  3. Probabilistic matching:Applies statistical methods and rules to associate multiple identifiers that appear to relate to the same person, even though no deterministic match is available. Let’s say a prospect owns multiple devices that are registered to the same IP address. It’s probable that the same person is using similar apps and websites across the devices, but with less certainty compared to deterministic.

Bonus: The Additional Benefit of Identity Resolution – Unknown to Known profiles

But creating customer profiles is just the start, not the final objective. The big takeaway is that you can then add to these profiles. For example, with Javascript and mobile tags, CDPs tracks anonymous users via cookie IDs or mobile device IDs. These ids are stored alongside persistent ids and other identity data for your customers.

CDPs can also associate a person’s work and business email addresses with this master identity. When a customer opens emails to both addresses on the cookied device, these IDs get stitched together into a known customer profile, based on the unification rules configured within the customer data platform.

Marketers who can quickly and reliably consolidate all their first party customer data are finally able to get a fully holistic view of the customer journey. For example, Arm Treasure Data’s CDP is a managed system that creates a unified database accessible to other marketing automation systems. The Treasure Data platform eliminates data silos by consolidating many different datastreams into a single, constantly maintained profile of each of customer, processing up to billions of datapoints at a time. This means that you and your marketing team have more capabilities than ever before to personalize the customer journey, create and cater to different marketing segments at scale, and handle customer data attribution across all your channels. To see which applications and data sources are supported, check out Arm Treasure Data integrations to see how your current marketing automation software and applications are supported.

Want to learn more? Connect with our CDP experts today and request a demo! Or if you are interested in reading more, here’s a blog on the 5 Martech Features that smart CMOs and CIOs demand when shopping for a CDP.

This article was first published by ARM Treasure Data. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

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