Finding your right fit customer data platform

For customers, digital experiences are everything. They fuel the messaging customers interact with, the products they purchase, and the brands they choose to keep coming back to. Most businesses are aware that experiences matter, but not all know how to create them.

Coordinating meaningful end-to-end customer experiences in real time takes the right combination of technology and strategy. Investing in a customer data platform (CDP) gives you the tools to understand your customers and deliver them the right content in the right moments — whether it’s while browsing on their desktop or scrolling on their mobile device. But choosing the right CDP can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Balancing the who, what, and how of your business strategy is a helpful framework for making the right decision.

Understanding the who means identifying the key audiences that match your business use cases. Once your who is identified, you can discover what experiences and activations those audiences will engage with the most. With your audiences and experiences laid out, the last step is determining how to coordinate your technology integration and data to reach your target audiences most effectively.

But you don’t have to go it alone — Adobe Professional Services can help. Read on to learn more about how we recently helped guide a retail commerce business through this framework to select the right CDP for their business.

Identifying the who

As a provider of online gift cards and payment programs, this particular business engages with a wide range of customers. The ways they build experiences for different audiences must reflect the wide variety of needs and behaviors of these groups — all while keeping a consistent brand expression across each of them.

We helped this business determine three key audiences to tailor experiences for. While individual consumers act as either givers or receivers in their business-to-consumer (B2C) audience, corporate organizations and third-party distributors make up their business-to-business (B2B) audiences. Aligning to their strategy on real-time customer engagement was the first priority, so Adobe and this business decided to focus initially on building a first-party population of customer data for their B2C audience segments — including personas like the young, on-the-go mom looking to send a gift to her sister-in-law.

With their first target audience identified, Adobe experts recommended the business-to-person (B2P) version of Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP). This platform allows the brand to coordinate real-time segment activations across teams so that customers aren’t accidentally delivered the same experience by both the brand itself and a third-party distributor. And when the business is ready to expand to their B2B audiences, the B2P version of Adobe Real-Time CDP can flex to accommodate these hybrid needs. It combines the base business-to-consumer (B2C) version of Adobe Real-Time CDP with the added capability of complex business-to-business (B2B) data processing. That way, this business will be able to meet the needs of additional audiences without having to invest in a second instance of the platform.

Discovering the what

Audience segments are only as valuable as how businesses use them to build experiences. This retail commerce brand knows that the core of their business strategy is to inspire customers to make sending gift cards a go-to practice for celebrating and connecting with others.

With help from Adobe experts, the brand determined they needed to build journeys for both gift card giver and receiver personas within their B2C audience.

Take the journey map for the on-the-go mom. This person will see a personalized ad on social media after organically searching for gifts to send her sister-in-law. She chooses a card, and it shows up in her sister-in-law’s inbox. By activating it, the sister-in-law creates a profile with the brand that’s enriched with her own online behaviors. By engaging both personas, the brand can connect data and build out insights for these profiles to nurture each into future engagement.

The B2P version of Adobe Real-Time CDP helps the brand flow their audience segments into activation channels and email system providers. That way, the brand’s B2C customer database gets enriched with behavioral data to deliver highly personalized experiences in real time.

Adobe Professional Services worked with them to build their B2C instance, while leaving room to expand into B2B activations like capturing the behaviors of brick-and-mortar distributors. By taking this approach, the retail commerce brand has had not only a more efficient implementation, but they’ve also seen major cost savings by building a foundation they can add to later.

Determining the how

Behind any seamless customer journey is a set of rules that help it flow. For this retail commerce brand, that means creating and maintaining clear data governance and customer data privacy compliance practices to keep their gift giver and receiver relationships connected without becoming entangled.

When the mom-on-the-go persona sends her sister-in-law a gift card, she’s prompted to create a wish list for her own gift card interests and share it. By accepting the terms and conditions, her data privacy settings are updated to reflect new potential nurture moments between these two personas. The retail commerce brand worked with Adobe to ensure customer data privacy stays relevant to these real-time behaviors. They also create a set of rules for how audiences are managed and used across the organization, coordinating teams and business groups to pull from unified data pools to create their experiences. To keep those experiences consistent, Adobe experts also helped build out journey diagrams that make for more efficient delivery.

Every version of Adobe Real-Time CDP has built in data privacy controls that make sure data is stored properly, teams with permissions are given the right access, and consent is documented before data is used for activations. Because this company invested in the B2P version of Adobe Real-Time CDP, those data privacy controls and best practices seamlessly carry over when they choose to expand and coordinate experiences across both B2C and B2B audiences.

Convert one-time purchases into long-term customers

Getting customers to engage is one thing. Inspiring them to keep coming back is another. Start by determining which customer data platform is going to offer the right features and capabilities to build and deliver experiences in real time. By understanding who your customers are and what experiences are going to be the most meaningful to them, you’ll then be able to build value into your relationships. Investing in the right customer data platform means you can take these relationships even further by personalizing experiences at scale — even as your audiences grow.

Looking to decide on the right customer data platform technology? Set up time with an Adobe expert to walk through your end-to-end customer experience.

For more, explore how Adobe Professional Services can help — or dive into data and insights.