In the coming years, marketers need to acclimatise & reinvent their customer strategies in response to changing trends of digital adoption at scale.
The concept of customer relationship management (or CRM, in short) started in the early 1970s, when customer satisfaction was evaluated using annual surveys or by front-line questions. CRM was popularized in 1997 due to the work of early tech providers and industry analysts. Between 1997 and 2000, leading CRM products were enriched with marketing capabilities. Open source CRM soon followed. During this period, CRM was rapidly migrating to Cloud, as a result of which it became accessible to small businesses as well.
Slowly but surely, businesses saw an exponential growth of digital data, and in turn, customers started interacting with businesses like never before. Customer engagement, therefore, became much more than selling, offers, or transactions. Digital era democratized the power to choose, thus provided customers multiple channels to talk to and about the business.
In the last decade, almost every industry, whether it is banking, telecom, or retail, witnessed competition from newer business models, giving customers abundant options to choose from. Now we speak about products we like on social media, buy products online-offline and share our experience vocally and publicly. The changes in customer needs gave rise to tailored products and services which address the varied needs of consumers at various times. This resulted in more consumer data generation across multiple channels, and so on the virtuous cycle continues. Thus, the need for unification of this mass of data and building a single profile of customers arose.
Enter Customer Data Platforms or CDPs in short.
The CDP Institute defines a CDP as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems”. CDP helps marketers to access, analyze, and work with the customer data originated from multiple sources during different journey touchpoints.
With the adoption of CDP, businesses have a consolidated and updated view of their customers. Some CDPs can also be used to extract customer behavior insights for effective marketing and customer engagement.
What’s Next for Marketers?
With CDPs, marketers can focus on customer insights for customers who are normally housed within a CRM system. But for many marketers, the challenge isn’t just marketing to these customers, but to reduce the cost and time to generate behavioural insights and match them with the right offers in real-time to improve the overall customer experience. It is important to understand that customer experience has become the key differentiator for the brands and has a significant impact on the top line. It’s also the need of the hour for brands to invest in smarter technologies/tools that can automate the insight generation using advances in AI & data science and enable omnichannel personalization. Moreover, most enterprises do not have an army of savvy data talent, be it for massaging and transforming datasets or for analysing them, that is often necessary to get the value out.
As trendy as the CDP was in 2018, marketers need to move on now and invest in a platform that truly enables this automation of omnichannel personalization without having to rely on expert data scientists. Say hello to the Customer Intelligence Platform (CIP).
A CIP is like a CDP, but better. In addition to the essential capabilities of CDPs, a CIP provides additional capabilities that maximize reach and performance. With a CIP, marketers can leverage automation in behaviour extraction, and then identify look-a-like customers through advanced modeling techniques.
CIPs gather real-time insights into individual customer’s levels of engagement with actionable insights. These include products of interest, the likelihood for conversion, an affinity for a brand and more. Marketers are thus armed with key insights into audiences that are now based on behaviours, beyond just typical KPIs like LTV (Lifetime Value) or RFM (Recency Frequency Monetary). The platform then leverages these insights to deliver personalized messaging and potentially boost customer engagement to a new set of targets. Additionally, the same behaviour intelligence is available to any downstream consumption desired by the enterprise.
Also Read: For MarTech to Work, Marketers Need to Get Past their FOMO
Consider a CIP the next time you find yourself asking “what’s beyond the CRM?”
About the author:
Rajanish SD, Head of Product TheDataTeam