The lowdown on customer data platforms

CDPs have become the latest must-have tool for marketing teams. We speak to the brands making the most of this new martech


Why The PAS Group brought on a CDP

Anna Samkova thought she had a single view of her customers. After all, as group general manager for digital at fashion retailer, The PAS Group, it is her responsibility to manage customer engagement across the company’s many brands and channels.

But after reading about CDPs and seeing what other brands were doing at the NRF retail conference in New York City in January, she realised she had a lot more to learn.

“I had the data sitting in all different channels, and it was not unified into one platform. I thought I was quite engaged with customers, and I had a few tribes. But they were quite generic,” Samkova says.

Like many retailers, Samkova was reliant on an internal BI team. But it could take days between formulating a query and receiving a response.

“By then I’d forget why I’d asked that question,” Samkova says. “There was no continuity and there was no speed, and the worst part was, it wasn’t available for my team – it wasn’t user friendly.

“I always wanted to simplify it and broaden it out to my team and make it available to them so that within seconds they could have access to any information they want.”

Samkova began the hunt for a CDP solution that could provide the unified customer view she knew was possible. After two months and 11 demonstrations, she decided on Lexer.

“Some were incredibly boring and you would need a data scientist and BI team to be able to use it, so it was absolutely not user friendly,” she says. “Lexer’s dashboard is very strong in terms of visual representation, but it also can be quite analytical as well. You can grasp information quickly.”

Most importantly, the CDP addresses Samkova’s number one need: Customer centricity.

“When you know your customer and her patterns and her shopping behaviour, you don’t have to worry so much. For the first time, we have accessibility to see what channel she shops with us on, when was the first time she engaged, and how many times she shops, and so on.”

PAS Group has set up more than 25 attributes for each customer in the CDP, such as whether they are a full-price shopper or only shop during sales. These are used to tailor and suppress campaigns for audience segments.

“We are now into our fourth month, and our open rates have increased by 25 per cent in our email communication,” Samkova says. “ROI on our social media ads increased by 4 per cent, and our revenue jumped up about 5 per cent.”

While the CDP is resident within her digital team, Samkova took the time during the implementation to present it to every company function. As a result, all departments are now coming to her for information on customers.

“Every single team in the organisation uses it now,” she adds. “You can see the passion and excitement when they see the facts and the stats and tribes and attributes. They own it now – it belongs to them, it is their data.”


CHECKLIST

A CDP can:

  • Act as a repository for all personally-identifiable customer data
  • Enable rapid creation of audiences and segments
  • Feed those audiences and segments on to other tools
  • Enrich first party data with third party sources
  • Provide a safe space for sharing data with trusted parties.

A CDP should:

  • Be easy to use for non-technical users
  • Plug into downstream tools for easy activation of segments and audiences
  • Provide the basic for predictive analytics
  • Comply with all relevant regulations regarding the handling of personally-identifiable data.

- This article originally appeared in CMO's print magazine, Issue 2, 2018. To purchase your subscription, contact: cmo_subscriptions@idg.com.au

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