Ben Tepfer, Technical Evangelist at Adobe, talked about how the customer data platform can revolutionize the building of individualized customer experiences.
“How many of you are familiar with CDPs [customer data platforms] as a concept?” asked Tepfer at the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2019 CIO Leadership Forum: Embracing the Digital Revolution, from Information to Transformation, held on June 20 in New York. Only a few members of the audience raised their hands. “I’m going to talk about what these are, why they matter, and a few best practices for using technology in this area,” he said.
“Customers are seeking experiences more than products, and experiences are what differentiate your brand from everyone else’s,” said Tepfer. He itemized the most common customer demands:
• Know me and respect me.
• Speak in one voice.
• Make technology transparent.
• Delight me at every turn.
“Moving to a focus on experiences rather than products isn’t just a concept but a business practice that will drive better engagement and revenues throughout your business. Digital transformation refers to the evolution of how you’re engaging with your customers and how your customers are engaging with you. Everyone in the organization is involved in this process,” he pointed out.
“Delivering personalized experiences at scale requires rethinking our approach to data and how we execute across different channels to deliver these experiences. This is where customer data platforms come in, which are all about bringing your data together in an understandable way to deliver great experiences,” said Tepfer.
“The CDP needs to understand the data, meta-data, and semantics and be able to take action on that data using machine learning and artificial intelligence. The CDP focuses on six things:
- Centralize, standardize, and persist diverse data to build a customer profile, which is the center of the CDP. The profile allows you to understand and execute across different channels. The profile is only one piece, but it’s the most important piece.”
- Stitch data together to create a real-time profile. “There are many types of data involved in the touchpoints along the customer journey. The role of the CDP is to help us understand how to bring that data together.”
- Respect customer privacy while generating unified profiles. “The key to a CDP is to understand the meaning of your data as well as the policies and regulations that go with that—who owns the data, what can be done with it, etc. The CDP helps you label the data, understand the semantics and meta-data, create the policies, and leverage that data in the most appropriate and efficient way across your applications.”
- Generate real-time profiles to take action. “These profiles contain all kinds of attributes that allow you to have relevant conversations with your customers.”
- Predict customer behavior by adding intelligence to the unified profiles. “Machine learning can help us make sure a customer interacts with the right programs, campaigns, and channels.”
- Deliver experiences in real time. Machine learning can also help deliver meaningful experiences based on customer profiles. This is where the “action” aspect of a CDP comes in. “It’s not just a place to pour all your data into. It’s a place to understand that data and take action on it in real time,” he said.
“The CDP helps you build a profile, understand what it’s all about, and execute across your channels in one voice,” said Tepfer.
“What’s under the hood of the CDP?” he asked. “The first part is data collection, which includes understanding all the attributes and continuing to build and understand the profile as it grows and user preferences change. Unlike a data lake, the CDP finds meaning and relationship in the data. It’s purpose-built for the organization to deliver real-time customer experiences.”
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