We are living in a data-driven world. According to Visual Capitalist, one minute on the Internet holds 404,444 hours of video streamed on Netflix, 500 hours of video uploaded on YouTube, and 41.7 million messages shared via WhatsApp. That single internet minute also created 6,659 packages shipped by Amazon. With the outgrowth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, marketers will have massive amounts of data to collect in the long run. 

The evolution of data and technology has changed the way businesses operate forever. Companies have to operate with a customer-centric model, in which every decision made must base on what the customers want or may want. “Without the proper means to make sense of the information, data becomes overwhelming, confusing, and time-consuming to utilize to drive results,” Mr. Serm Teck Choon, the co-founder & CEO of Antsomi, said.

This fear of missing out encourages companies to invest their resources and efforts into an ideal software or platform, which contains customers’ related information and tells brands what their customers bought, and enables them to predict what they want next. 

Yet, not all companies succeed in leveraging the power of data. Marketers are still confused between Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Data Management Platform (DMP), Customer Data Platform (CDP), and other data related solutions. All of them promise similar outcomes, yet the ways they deliver those outcomes are not the same. 

From CRM to DMP

The data-related platform has its history. At first, marketers have CRM – a system that stores basic transaction history and relatively fixed customer information (personal identified information) like names, phone numbers… to support sales and customer care service. However, it is not built to handle a wide range of data from different sources and has to be input. CRM also requires integration with other marketing platforms to yield maximum results.

In 2014-2015, DMP emerged as a new means to help brands get closer to their customers. The platform gathers only anonymous data from various sources, including cookies, Device ID, Mobile Ad ID, then uses them on digital ad platforms or in-house marketing channels. However, DMP still has drawbacks: it doesn’t perform the same breadth and depth of analysis as stand-alone data analytics platforms and cannot operate ad campaigns independently. Furthermore, unlike CRM and CDP, which store data for a long time, data on DMP is saved temporarily.

CDP Emerges as the New Data Technology

The latest buzzword in Marketing Technology (Martech) world is CDP – a software that unifies customer data to build a coherent, complete view of each customer. The appearance of CDP has caught marketer’s eyes: the industry developed significantly to around $1 billion revenue in 2019, continued to expand well into the second half of 2019, reaching 101 vendors, 8,400 employees, and $2.2 billion in funding, according to the report Customer Data Platform Industry in APAC published in 2020 by Customer Data Platform Institute.  

Distinguishing between DMP and CDP may be confusing since both can extract data from multiple sources such as mobile apps, desktop web, mobile web but their ultimate goals are different. DMP supports brands looking for new customers by utilizing mainly anonymous data to target ads better. Simultaneously, CDP focuses on the existing customers to create a 360-degree customer view, then analyzes and predicts how they interact with the brand. By providing a single customer view across channels and devices, CDP can also provide cross-channel and cross-device identity resolution, making it superior to CRM and DMP. Another advantage of CDP is the scope of use: The platform can be utilized by marketers, sales and customer support personnel, and analytics team, while CRM can assist sales and customer support department and DMP is useful for digital marketers.

What data are collected and tracked?Mainly known customers with contact info and transactional records; also collects prospectsAnonymous data of owned digital media, supported by 2nd party data from partners or 3rd party data from data marketplacesCustomers, prospects, and anonymous data, which include data collected from owned media (e.g., website, mobile app, etc.), and membership programmes – both offline and online data
How are data collected?Input by sales or customer service personnelCollected from website(s) and mobile app(s)Collected by owned digital media and combined with other sources including email, messaging, digital ads, and in-store (POS)
What types of data?Mainly personally identifiable information (PII) data: Name, gender, age, mobile, email, address, occupation, transactional records, etc.Only anonymous data, including cookies, Device ID, Mobile Ad IDName, mobile, email, address, occupation, gender, age, interests, transactional records, data collected via loyalty programmes, cookies, Device ID, Mobile Ad ID
How long are the data kept?Long termShort termLong term
Is it real-time?NopeYesMainly yes; partially not, especially with offline data imported
What is it for?To record and analyze customers’ contact info and respective transactional data to strengthen customer relationship to grow the salesTo aggerate anonymous data from website(s) & mobile app(s) to understand more about your online users for running better digital marketing activities, such as programmatic adsUnifying data from various sources, including online & offline, to create a 360-degree customer view, segment them, predict their behaviors, and run 1-to-1 personalized marketing at scale across channels for better customer engagement and business growth
What are the functions?Sales following-up, business managementCustomer acquisitionCustomer acquisition, conversion, and retention
What are the touchpoints?Sales interfacingAll digital interactions with usersAll digital interactions owned channel & sales interfacing
Who are the users?Sales & customer support personnelDigital marketersMarketers, sales & customer support personnel, analytics team
Does it provide cross-channel & cross-device identity resolution?NopeNopeYes, by providing a single customer view across channel & device
What are the outcomes of the data analytics?Sales pipeline and forecastingDigital advertising campaign performanceCustomers’ behaviour and purchase journey
Does it provide cross-channel personalization?NopeOnly for digital advertisingYes, cross-channel personalization happens on mobile, web, email, messaging, digital ads, in-store, etc.
Comparison Table: CRM, DMP and CDP

How CDP Works

To understand how CDP works, let’s take a look at CDP 365 – a customer data platform built by Antsomi, who is considered the pioneer in Southeast Asia’s CDP industry. On this software, brands can unify customer data from various sources, including mobile apps, web, email, messaging, digital ads, in-store, point of sale (POS), CRM, etc. CDP 365’s AI-enabled engine will generate real-time multi-dimensional insights on a single dashboard for data analytics and reporting. The software can then activate the data via the marketing automation tools across multiple channels to help brands engage and retain their customers in various customer life stages. 

“CDP enables companies to provide a personalized experience in real-time, which will encourage customers to purchase more products and services,” Mr. Serm explained. While many CDPs available in the market could be used with DMP to deliver optimum outcomes, Antsomi’s CDP 365 already has the functions of DMP. Hence it is no longer necessary for users to invest in a data management platform.  

So how can CDP help brands engage and persuade their customers to make a purchase? Let’s look at a simple customer lifecycle happens a lot these day thanks to the power of data and technology: A young man opens YouTube and “happens” to watch an advertisement of the new Apple Airpods Pro. Finding the product attractive since he is an Apple fan, the man clicks on the ad and reads the product’s details on an e-commerce site, though soon he exits the browser and decides to stick with his current pair of Airpods. A few days later, the man receives an email telling him there is a loyalty program on the e-commerce site he visited the other day, in which he can get the new discounted Apple Airpods Pro only for that day. In the end, he buys the product. The customer is satisfied with his new headphones, the discount offered, and the seamless buying experience, while the e-commerce platform achieves better sales performance. 

Digital Transformation & CDP

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation pace worldwide. The pandemic has served as a wake-up call for businesses to transform digitally and exponentially. A survey published in 2020 by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) with the title “COVID-19 and the future business” reveals that 59% of global businesses have accelerated their digital transformation plans due to COVID-19.

In the long run, to compete in the uncertain future, all companies have no choice but to move forward on their digital transformation journey. Companies need to adopt new approaches to building, selling and delivering products and services with changing of consumer needs and disruptions to traditional channels. Building a solid foundation for unified customer data will position businesses to be more agile with new marketing or go-to-market approaches. And CDP will definitely be one of the key technologies many companies leverage on when they embark on the digital transformation journey.

This article is written by Antsomi Content team