Everything you need to know about Customer Data Platforms as a B2B marketer

In B2C marketing, Customer Data Platforms (CDP) are an integral part of the MarTech landscape. Especially for e-commerce parties, the question is no longer whether to use a CDP, but which CDP to choose. Traditionally, B2B organizations are more reluctant to embrace new marketing technologies. That's why in this article we share everything you need to know as a B2B marketer to determine whether a CDP will add value for your organization.

Customer Data Platforms: what are they? 

A CDP is a packaged software that helps generate a 360-degree customer view. A CDP ensures that customer data is pulled from different source systems, modeled and merged into one golden record. The CDP makes this data available to other systems in real time. This makes it excellent for marketing purposes; it helps you facilitate the buyer journey seamlessly.  

What problem does a CDP solve for you?

The term '360 customer view' has been around in B2B since CRM systems were first introduced. We now see that customers and prospects communicate with our organization in many more ways than just through the sales department. Besides in CRM systems, customer data is locked up in Marketing Automation tools, Service and Call Center applications, ERP solutions, you name it. Customer interactions take place through various channels; both offline and online on your website, social media channels or apps. 

The real-time linking of all these data sources is a technically very complex - and therefore expensive! - job. In B2B we see that most marketing organizations have not yet won the battle with IT on the necessity of linking data sources. The urgency for personalized marketing and customer interactions has only been felt to a limited extent. Moreover, in most cases, the business case for this is simply not viable. A CDP solves exactly this problem.

Added value of a CDP for B2B 

With a CDP, compiling a holistic customer profile becomes possible. This offers numerous possibilities, for example:

Building target group lists based on far-reaching segmentation: not only based on marketing data, but for example also on usage data, payment data, etc. 

Establishing and mapping accounts on your Ideal Customer Profile, including tracking, monitoring and steering behavior on these accounts. This makes it an outstanding solution that adds value within an Account Based Marketing strategy. 

Controlling online and offline interactions in real time, such as personalizing website or mail content based on real-time behavior and characteristics, or updating phone calls in the contact center and showing relevant ads.

Building "predictive" models, for example in the areas of lead scoring or churn.

B2B organizations that have seamlessly integrated their CRM and Marketing Automation systems will rightly ask themselves what value a CDP still adds in this landscape. Whether that value is there depends on company-specific requirements and depends on the specific functionalities that the existing landscape offers in terms of personalization. Only a handful of Marketing Automation tools are able to facilitate real-time web personalization, and mostly with limited functionality. For example, if you want to use usage data in your mail activation, you will need more than your CRM and MAP. 

Example use case 

A B2B supplier of printers and accessories aims for long-term customer relations and wants to upsell existing customers. The devices have sensors that provide real-time insight into which devices are due for maintenance and which toners are due for replacement. This data is automatically pushed via the CDP to the MAP, which notifies the customer by personalized e-mail of the need to order new toners or schedule preventive maintenance. The customer orders the toners online and is alerted to additional products/services based on algorithms. Service appointments can be scheduled by customers themselves, based on the terms and conditions in their specific maintenance contract, with the customer always able to see when the technician is expected. The customer's needs are facilitated seamlessly. 

Impact on the marketing organization

By using a CDP, you save time as an organization. Data in the CDP is continuously cleaned, updated and enriched, making it easier to build qualitative target groups and segmentations. In addition, a CDP enables you to measure far-reaching cross-channel campaigns from start to finish. Conversion attribution thus becomes much more transparent. This gives you the opportunity to quickly make adjustments and to use your marketing dollars where they are most profitable. 

Many CDPs also feature Machine Learning technology, where algorithms determine which interactions are deployed automatically. An example of this is loading personalized web content based on previous customer behavior or look-a-like profiles. For B2B organizations that use e-commerce as part of their commercial strategy, a CDP is almost indispensable. By conducting automated A/B testing, you are able to significantly improve the conversion of your online channels without the intervention of development. 

In short, a CDP provides a more efficient and effective marketing organization that can measurably demonstrate its added value in terms of business value. 

How do you choose the right CDP? 

Determining which CDP is the right one for your organization starts with working out a number of use cases. What gaps are there in your current MarTech landscape relative to what you want to achieve, and what CDP features will solve these for you?

You can think of requirements in the areas of data management, analytics, personalization and campaign orchestration. All CDPs contain basic data management features, such as the retrieval and aggregation of data and the building of profiles. 

Besides features, it is important to look at (standard) integrations (including those with your own source systems, but also third-party integrations for data enrichment) and ease of use.

Certain B2B features are not found in every CDP. A B2B CDP takes into account a data model that differentiates between account and contact levels. In theory, every CDP can handle multiple data levels, but a "prebuilt" B2B data model ensures that specific functions such as matching leads to accounts, account scoring and aggregated reporting are made just a bit easier. 

The benefits of a CDP 

  • Deploying a CDP has a direct (and measurable) effect on commercial business results:

  • Reduces costs and simplifies the process of collecting and aggregating customer data. 

  • Helps clean, update and enrich customer data. 

  • Ensures coordinated customer interactions across systems and channels; the right message, at the right time, through the right channel. Truly orchestrated cross-channel campaigns. 

  • Provides insight into customer behavior, including usage. This facilitates customer activation, increases customer satisfaction and better facilitates cross- and upsells. 

  • Using a CDP, the customer journey of customers is seamlessly supported - regardless of channel - and you are able to measure and optimize marketing and sales efforts 'closed loop'. 

Want to know more about a CDP for your organization?

Do you want to know more about what a CDP can do for your organization, or do you want support in choosing the right CDP? Please contact us and we will gladly help you. 

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