Marketers may not consider customer data platforms (CDPs) as being key drivers of the return on investment of holiday season campaigns, but that’s exactly the role CDPs can and do play in an increasingly complex omnichannel retail landscape. Because CDPs provide a cleansed, de-duped, and unified view of every customer profile, these platforms are the foundation for deeper customer insight; which, in turn, allows marketers to tweak campaigns designed to engage certain audiences in real-time.
Not only does a CDP cleanse and stitch together customer data into a master profile, assembling a unified view that corrects duplications and other inconsistencies, it also fills in the gaps that remain in the customer record due to human error or just incomplete data. Without this vital identity resolution process, marketing campaigns are more like throwing jello at a wall to see what sticks than they are delivering what customers want — or achieving what marketers want to do.
According to Adobe Analytics, online revenue for Black Friday 2018 (including Thanksgiving) was approximately $9.9 billion, with Thanksgiving contributing $3.7 billion of that total. This is an almost 20 percent growth over 2017. The ability to maximize resources spent on various offers, ad and marketing campaigns during this peak shopping period are well worth the investment. With CDPs supplying a “single source of customer truth,” marketers can reach customers with consistent, orchestrated Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Powering increasingly more relevant and personalized email campaigns, digital ads, SMS, direct mail, and more, CDPs enable marketers to engage with customers in a coordinated, orchestrated way across multiple channels.
Looking Back to Predict the Future
CDPs also help brands predict the future; no crystal ball required. Some CDPs include analytics capabilities so marketers are able to analyze all of the shoppers “acquired” during the holidays and use this data to determine how to engage with them in the future. Brands can make intelligent decisions based upon major holidays past to determine the next best offer to deliver, or what makes a similar type of customer purchase a second time. Perhaps more importantly, this data can be leveraged to turn one-time buyers into long-term customers with high lifetime value (LTV).
Retailers can also look at acquisition across products and categories from previous years to see what performed best, then use this analysis to drive their campaigns this holiday season. For example, a leading U.S. athletic wear retailer looks at products that are more frequently purchased during the holidays using market basket analysis as well as doing direct mail match-back to assess the success of direct mail campaigns during the holiday season.
Some other ways marketers can leverage CDPs specifically for this upcoming holiday season include the following:
- Gifting: During the holidays, many customers buy online but ship to another person and location. A CDP allows marketers to identify noncustomers who are gift recipients and develop customized programs and offers specifically for this segment. This gives brands an opportunity to then market and add the gift recipient to their customer list.
- Email opt-outs: With a CDP, brands can easily identify segments of customers who have opted out of email and engage them in other channels — e.g., Facebook or direct mail.
- Identifying high LTV prospects: Using third-party prospect data, brands can determine the customers most likely to be loyal, high LTV customers and develop campaigns specifically for this particular segment. This allows for greater success with marketing campaigns to these prospect lists.
Data-driven marketing strategies are the glue that brands can use to create a stronger bond with their customers in a large global market. Long gone are days when you visited your corner store and the shopkeeper not only knew your name but also exactly what you wanted. Data is now the most effective way brands can truly engage with shoppers in an increasingly complex global market. During peak shopping periods, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, look to data to forge new customer relationships and strengthen old ones by getting to know them better through behavior online and offline.
Omer Artun is the founder and CEO of AgilOne, an enterprise B-to-C customer data platform.