Will Customer Data Platforms beat Data Management Platforms?
Ecommerce seems to be the winner of the current crisis. Do you agree?
David Raab: Certainly ecommerce sales have grown tremendously during lock-downs. Ecommerce business may fall when stores reopen but the market share will surely be higher than before. New consumers will have been introduced to ecommerce and previous ecommerce shoppers strengthen their habits. Many consumers will choose to avoid retail stores even after they reopen or will minimise their shopping trips, relying on ecommerce for purchases where it is more convenient.
What do you hear from your vendor network?
We hear from CDP vendors that there is continued interest in their products, as buyers see the need for better customer data and recognize that CDPs can help to create this. But sales are taking longer with many companies having deferred decisions or reduced budgets. This will probably get worse until the economy recovers strongly.
What factors make a real winner? Is customer experience a crucial factor?
Even before COVID-19, there was a major shift towards trust as the key factor in business success. Buyers recognize that they cannot fully research all the options available to them for every purchase, and so must decide whose recommendations to trust instead. Customer experience is a crucial factor in earning trust: a company must define and deliver on promises to treat the customer well in terms of fairness and value. This extends far beyond marketing to include operational interactions such as purchases, payments, and customer service.
What is a customer data platform (how do you define it), for whom is it and how does a Customer data platform into play?
The CDP Institute defines a CDP as packaged software that builds a unified, persistent customer database accessible to other systems. CDPs are the only type of software designed specifically to assemble data from all sources, store it indefinitely, build unified customer profiles, and share those profiles. Other systems like CRM and marketing automation work with a limited number of data sources, while Data Management Platforms only store summary data for a brief time. CDP is useful to any company that wants to combine data from different sources to build a complete customer profile and to use the profiles to provide personalised customer experiences. Nearly all companies have that goal today.
How would you assess the state of readiness for CDPs in Europe compared to the US?
The European market is definitely behind the U.S. in CDP adoption. This reflects lower marketing technology in general. In addition, European marketers have tried to use DMPs for all their customer data, an error that U.S. marketers avoided. This has slowed adoption of CDP as some people felt their DMP already did the same thing and others had become distrustful of vendor claims after their DMP failed to deliver. But we do see great awareness of CDP in Europe and great interest. So we expect a rapid growth in the market once business conditions stabilize.
Do you believe the notion of customer experience will be impacted by covid 19?
Customers will place greater priority on safety within stores, paying more attention to physical distancing and to minimising handling of goods that others may have touched. Similarly, they will be more open to online services and hybrids such as pre-ordering with curbside pickup. Beyond that, it’s likely they will look for lower cost, higher value products and brands and perhaps be less interested in status goods. But I believe the core goals of convenience, value, and service will remain what people want from their experiences, as they were before Covid-19.
Data will be even more important as consumers look for personalised experiences that save them time and money. Trust is ultimately based on past experiences, so ensuring the quality of those experiences will build the trust necessary to earn customers’ future business.