We live in an era of technological innovation where data is the new currency. Whether that’s data from social media, websites, mobile apps, or email campaigns, digital marketers are continuously gathering and leveraging data insights from multiple sources. So where lies the challenge? Well, as it turns out, unifying all of these data points can be a messy business — especially if businesses want to use this data intelligently and efficiently. And that is precisely why customer data platform (CDP) companies have been garnering quite a bit of attention in recent years. In fact, Forbes claims ‘the growth of this technology continues to boom’ as the pandemic rages on and more companies invest in CDP development.
Have you been trying to stitch together multiple legacy systems or technologies in your tech stack and it just isn’t cutting it anymore? Then it’s probably time to invest in a proper customer data platform. After all, merging critical data such as user feedback, campaign metrics and customer service data will only empower your digital marketing strategy.
61% of CMOs believe they are under-leveraging big data.CMO Council
But what are customer data platforms? What are they not? What should you look out for when selecting a CDP? What types of CDPs are out there? And which customer data platform companies do you have to choose from? Find out below!
What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?
A customer data platform is a software that provides users with a 360 degree view of the customer. So how does it work exactly? The software essentially aggregates data from multiple data sources such as marketing clouds, service software, and ecommerce engines and makes this data available to other systems. In turn this enables CDP users to build customer profiles in one centralised location and use those profiles for customer service, sales and marketing purposes.
Bottom line, customer data platforms help you:
- Better understand your customers
- Provide hyper-personalised experiences
- Help optimise your marketing strategies
- Tie data together from existing systems and technologies
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Customer Data Platforms are NOT Data Management Platforms
It is a common misconception that customer data platforms and data management platforms are one and the same. So let’s just be clear. Customer data platforms are NOT to be confused with Data Management Platforms (DMPs).
The primary distinction? Customer data platforms bring together both personally identifiable users AND anonymous users, whereas Data Management Platforms work primarily with anonymous users, i.e., user data such as cookies and IP addresses.
And that’s not all…here are a few of the major distinctions:
*When you’re working primarily with second-party and third-party data a DMP is likely a better solution. Looking for a data management platform? Then be sure to check out this overview of the Top 10 Data Management Platforms.
What to look for in a Customer Data Platform
Companies of all shapes and sizes (and industries!) use CDPs, all of which use these softwares in a variety of ways and with different goals in mind. That being said, there are several features to look out for when selecting a CDP that are important for every company.
- Real-time data. Customer profiles and data segments should be updated within a few seconds so that you can personalise experiences in real-time.
- Behavioural triggers. The platform should be able to create customer profiles based on behaviour across multiple channels.
- Analytics and insights. It’s important that you have a way to digest your customer data insights and find ways to engage with them based on this data.
- Secure and compliant. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are important compliance requirements for CDPs.
- Integration options. Be sure to check with each vendor and see if they integrate the apps and marketing automation platforms you already use or want to use.
Types of Customer Data Platforms
Keep in mind, there are also a few different breeds or types of customer data platforms:
Some of the newest CDPs to the market include marketing cloud providers such as Salesforce, Microsoft and Oracle. Due to the popularity of customer data platforms, these providers have recently launched their own CDP solutions and offer powerful integrations within their own platform.
Smart Hub CDPs, including Lytics and Redpoint, are essentially pure CDPs that can do everything from a single interface, from marketing orchestration to personalisation efforts.
Marketing Data Integration CDPs
Then there are data integration CDPs. These enable the user to leverage their data while maintaining data governance. These are great tools because they are always expanding upon their reach with new connectors. These are CDPs such as Tealium and Segment.
So let’s get to it and decide which customer data platform is right for you. In the post below, we have aggregated 15 of the best-rated customer data platforms out there.
Top 15 Customer Data Platform Companies:
Segment is a customer data platform by Twilio that enables users to collect and route their customer data to various integrated systems. Favoured because of its easy setup, real-time tracking, and modifiable dashboards, this customer data platform gives you the power to send data to multiple destinations. It also includes some really cool features such as cross channel engagement design (journeys), a way of customising your data pipeline (functions) and a simplified way of transforming and loading customer data (warehouses).
2. Bloomreach Engagement
Bloomreach is a commerce experience cloud which acquired Exponea this year and incorporated their customer data platform capabilities into their product kit. The Bloomreach CDP, called Bloomreach Engagement, offers online and offline data tracking, a unified single customer view and advanced customer data analytics. It’s also got some great machine learning aspects as well as predictive recommendations which make it really intuitive.
Totango’s DNA-CX (Dynamic No-Schema Active Customer Index technology) is an intelligent customer data platform that lets users connect all customer data streams. This software is great for being able to segment your customers and see different metrics which help you identify which among your customers you need to prioritise.
The Blueshift Smarthub Customer Data Platform is another great option if you’re looking for a CDP that will deliver real-time experiences throughout the entire (omnichannel) journey. It’s extensive AppHub also provides users with a wide variety of data integrations, which is certainly a plus! Fan favourites on this platform include real-time data unification, audience segmentation, 1:1 personalisation and predictive intelligence.
Ranked among the world’s top 5 marketing platforms on the Forrester Wave for cross Channel Campaign Management, Insider is certainly a top-rated customer data platform. The platform enables marketers to connect their data across various channels, predict future behaviour with its AI intent engine and create individualised customer experiences.
6. Tealium AudienceStream CDP
Tealium AudienceStream Customer Data Platform is a great customer data platform if you’re looking to bring together fragmented chunks of data from all kinds of data sources and bring it together. Leverage various business rules and enrich your data as it flows in. Unique features of AudienceStream (the platform built into Tealium) include identity resolution, data enrichment and cross-channel audience management. The platform offers over 1300+ turnkey integrations, allowing users to effortlessly connect their systems and data.
As a cross-channel marketing platform, Listrak offers a wide variety of ‘components’ including unified customer data. It’s a great platform for those looking for versatility and top-notch automation capabilities. Users are particularly happy with the data visualisation capabilities, AI recommendations and predictive analytics features. Keep in mind, however, that this platform requires a bit more onboarding with its steeper learning curve.
Lytics is ideal for digital marketers looking to build personalised digital experiences quickly and easily, using an affordable platform. According to G2, Lytics’ ability to identify and target specific users within a segment has proven to be very instrumental in the way in which many organisations conduct business. However, depending on how large your data segments are, the platform can be a bit on the slower side.
9. Treasure Data
Treasure Data is a well-known customer data platform that enables its users to unify all kinds of data including marketing hubs, IoT, web logs and geolocation data. Additionally, this CDP offers 150 out-of-the-box connectors, so you can bring this data together easily and in real-time. It’s also got a great up-to-the-minute real-time data analysis feature so that users always know what’s going on on their digital channels.
10. BlueVenn by Upland Software
BlueVenn, recently acquired by Upland Software, is a customer data platform and omnichannel marketing hub. What’s great about this platform is that it offers easy-to-use data loaders and an intuitive user interface that requires little to no support from IT. This browser-based solution also includes drag and drop analytics, predictive insights and segmentation tools.
11. SAP Customer Data Platform
Just over a year ago, SAP launched its very own Customer Data platform. This new technology focuses on four main priorities: connecting data from multiple sources, purpose-driven data governance, processing large volumes of data and hyper-personalising using a 360 degree customer view. It also offers a back office system connection and real-time insight activation.
12. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is — you guessed it! — a part of Microsoft’s customer data platform (CDP) that helps deliver personalised customer experiences. The solution is broken down into two segments: Audience insights and Engagement insights. Audience insights focus on connecting data from transactional, behavioural and observational sources for a 360 degree view, whereas Engagement insights enables users to understand how customers are behaving on the various channels.
13. Oracle Unity
Oracle Unity is an attractive CDP for both B2C and B2B brands which aggregates traditional marketing and advertising data, including online, offline, and third-party customer data sources. Looking to connect individuals across devices, channels, domains, and networks and create accessible profiles, using advanced privacy and identity controls? Then this might be the CDP for you.
14. Salesforce Interaction Studio
This tool is particularly useful for streamlining offline and online customer interactions. It leverages AI technologies to segment customer data and helps users personalise customer interactions based on existing portfolios and the customer’s previous behaviour. What’s more — this data is all gathered in real-time from every digital touchpoint including web, mobile, retail, advertising and phone.
15. RedPoint Global
RedPoint Global is a comprehensive customer data platform that provides businesses with a signal view of the customer. Offering up hundreds of out-of-the-box connectors, users can ingest data from loads of different data sources. This CDP also leverages predictive models and machine learning to optimise customer decisions. Part of the RedPoint Customer Engagement Hub, users also have access to in-line analytics and intelligent orchestration.
In search of the best ROI
As you can see, these customer data platforms all have something different to bring to the table. From varying machine learning technologies and the amount of out-of-box connectors, to different behavioural triggers and extensive (or limited) analysis capabilities, we’re certain there’s a CPD in the mix that will work for you and your business.
That being said, the final piece you’ll need to consider is return on investment (ROI) YOUR business will get out of any of these tools. It isn’t necessarily only about price, but rather which tool will give your business the best value.
And speaking of unifying different data types…
Is user feedback in your technology stack?
Delivering a personalised experience and effectively engaging with your customers requires a healthy combination of the right data and right technology. User feedback solutions like Mopinion provide you with the qualitative data you need to make sense of customer interactions, essentially telling you the story behind this data. User feedback data also has a major impact on the way in which you personalise and cater to your individual customers on various channels.
Ready to add this to your stack and start unifying ALL of your customer data?
And while you’re at it…
Be sure to check out some of our other marketing technology tool roundups, such as the best customer feedback tools, customer journey mapping tools, usability testing tools and more.
Ready to see Mopinion in action?
Want to learn more about Mopinion’s all-in-1 user feedback platform? Don’t be shy and take our software for a spin! Do you prefer it a bit more personal? Just book a demo. One of our feedback pro’s will guide you through the software and answer any questions you may have.