With the upcoming restrictions on cookies looming on the horizon, CDPs may seem even more valuable than they did before. The right customer data platform has the potential to truly harness the power of first-party data. It consolidates information in a way that can help numerous departments do their jobs better.
It’s true that CDPs can hold the key to real insights that open the door to real profits. They’re especially helpful for linking departments in a company that may not always share information. The vast majority of stats prove that CDPs help marketers hit their objectives and improve customer satisfaction. But there is such a thing as putting too much value on a single profile. Consultant Krishen Iyer from MAIS Consulting has seen its pitfalls in real time.
As easy as the CDP provider probably made it sound, real life isn’t as straightforward. See why these so-called golden records may be more nuanced than meet the eye. We’ll also look at how it can cause confusion for multiple customers.
It’s worth noting that not all CDPs function in exactly the same way. What’s more, employees may not even realize that the settings and defaults are not what they expected. It can make tracking down an error all the more frustrating.
For instance, let’s say that Joe orders a refrigerator through a major retailer and wants to send an alert to his roommate, Fred, about when and how it will be delivered. Joe enters Fred’s email address as the person to alert and then forgets all about the matter. However, unbeknownst to Joe, Fred already had an account with the retailer and Fred used a different email address to sign up. When the CDP merges those two accounts together, the alert might be sent to Fred’s signup email address. If he doesn’t check that account, the refrigerator delivery may have to be rescheduled for another day.
Another major problem comes into play for people who purchase the same products for both business and personal use. The customer might get all of their messages sent to one email account. This would be frustrating if they specifically opened separate accounts to keep everything organized.
If everything goes under one account, then it becomes necessary for the consumer to go through it all. They have to figure out which expenses went toward what. Or imagine if a job recruiting company sends a message about a job opening to a heavily monitored work email. This could potentially be more than a hassle. It could actively cause the recipient to get flagged by their boss.
Finally, there are people like Iyer who work as consultants. They provide the same service for different clients through different emails. If the accounts are protected by two-factor authentication, a CDP might not allow the same phone number with multiple accounts. Krishen Iyer then has to then devise a workaround strategy that eats into the time he would otherwise use to serve his clients.
Krishen Iyer on Rethinking the Art of the Merge
By now, it should be clear that the concept of one profile doesn’t always have the intended consequences. The extra steps and confusion can ruin rather than enhance the customer experience.
This is frustrating for marketers because, of course, there are plenty of times when you will want to merge it all. For instance, if a car buyer is going to be loading several large dogs into their vehicle every day, this would ideally be information that gets incorporated into the buyer’s profile across all departments. So how can you figure out the best way forward?
Better Frameworks for CDPs
Krishen Iyer has been in digital marketing for two decades now. His expertise is born from a sincere interest in how technology can be adapted for the best results. He fully embraces the potential of CDPs, but he doesn’t want anyone to get too comfortable. As with all technology, its usefulness comes down to how it’s implemented. He encourages people to see the problem from a couple of key vantage points.
You’re likely already familiar with the basics of the CDP device framework:
- Initial data: The first request from a device allows you to create a profile that includes facts like the OS, location, and screen size. For instance, you know that the person made the request from an iPhone 14 Pro Max in Cleveland. From there, you can start segmenting for stronger marketing and sales tactics.
- Interest data: If the person makes multiple requests, you can start narrowing down their interests even more. Profiles become enriched with how the individual accesses content (e.g., videos vs. infographics) or what information they’re clicking on (e.g., women’s shoes size 7).
- Identifying data: Depending on the CDP and the way the person accessed the content, you may be able to identify who exactly is behind the screen. Now it’s possible to identify the profile with the actual person (or at least be reasonably certain of the connection). You can then streamline the messaging (e.g., send renewal notice to customer before subscription expires).
The people framework offers a more comprehensive understanding of the individual accessing the information. Krishen Iyer wants marketers to capture the device framework data and then really go in-depth from there. He wants people to shift away from the idea of understanding the person through a device and toward the imagination of a person’s real-life behaviors.
For instance, a customer with a personal and a work email account may be trying to keep expenses separate. They may conduct most of their transactions through work on their Mac Book and most of their transactions through work on their iPad. Of course, sometimes there’s a crossover between the two devices if, say, the customer has to make an emergency order from home.
In this case, you would need to divide a person based on their personas rather than by their individual personas. This can get rather complicated in practice in the case of multiple businesses. If a person is managing four separate businesses, a side hustle, and a personal account, you would need at least six different personas for them.
While it’s impossible to imagine every possible scenario, there are ways to avoid improper merges when you shift more from the device framework and more to the person one. This is not to say that you can’t collect plenty of useful data from a device, only that you need both perspectives before you can truly improve the ROI of your messaging.
Krishen Iyer in the News
Krishen Iyer has always long been fascinated with where and how technology and other economic sectors meet. In fact, he recently expanded his business by launching a new tech-based health insurance company. With the first capital commitment coming from Iyer himself, he’s already launched the first round of funding.
MAIS Insurance & Consulting would operate in 23 states, helping thousands of people navigate, enroll, and place low-cost healthcare coverage. Thanks to the technology, marketing, and contracting experience that Iyer has built up over his years as a consultant, MAIS is becoming the fastest-growing company in this segment.
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