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Customer Data Platform 101.

What is customer data?

Customer data platforms, or CDPs for short, have gained a lot of traction in the MarTech space in recent years. However, before one can understand the benefits of a CDP, it is essential to start with the basics of what is customer data. On the highest level, two types of data exist:  

Quantitative data deals with numbers and things you can measure. Examples of quantitative data are height, width, temperature, prices, or anything you can measure and give a number.  

Qualitative data deals with characteristics and descriptors that can’t be easily measured but can be observed directly. Examples of qualitative data include smells, colors, tastes, attractiveness, and other attributes you use when classifying and categorizing something.   

I know. You are probably saying I know all this (or at least can somewhat remember from school). But what data are we referring to when we say customer data?  

Every marketing and analytics app runs on the same three types of customer data

In its simplest form, we can classify customer data into three types of data: who your customers are, what they are doing, and when they are doing it. Or, put another way, customer data consists of personal, behavioral, and demographic data. Let’s take a deeper look into the three types of customer data and what they mean for your marketing and analytical data.

Who are your customers?

The first data type is, in many ways, the most critical; who are your customers? In analytics speak, this would be an identify event. Identify events allow us to determine if we are dealing with new or existing customers and tie each customer to the right actions. This type of data is also commonly referred to as PII data or personally identifiable information. Examples of PII data include name, address, telephone number, and other attributes related to identifying individuals

What are your customers doing?

Next in line is tracking what your customers are doing. In analytics speak, this would be the track event. Tracking events enable you to see how users are interacting with your products. This could include purchasing an item, viewing a page, downloading a whitepaper, or any other user interaction along your customers’ journey. Event tracking is critical for optimizing your website’s conversions, whether that be generating more leads, more orders, or any other conversion vital to your business’s success.   

When and where are your customers interacting?

Last but certainly not least comes the question of when and where are your customers interacting with your site? In analytics speak, this is commonly referred to as a page event. Page events allow for the location of a user, so we know what page they were on, what device they are using, and when they performed the action. Anyone familiar with Google Analytics will understand page events (In GA they are called pageviews or sessions). Page events let you calculate and determine bounce rates, landing pages, exit pages, and average time on page. Page events are critical for assessing the performance of a page, as they make up the foundation by which your conversions defined in your tracking events are compared.

The power of 3 in one (CDP) reality

To round things off, a CDP provides a scalable and standardized solution for tracking the three types of customer data types explained above. Once customer data tracking has been implemented, the CDP can structure centralized customer profiles (single view of the customer), help enables real-time personalization, simplify management and maintenance of data collection and sharing across various marketing systems, GDPR compliance, and more.   

Or put differently, a CDP lets you track both quantitative and qualitative data about your users and their interactions with your site. Giving you rich and contextual information about how to improve your customer journey.  

To learn more about unifying your customer data, get in touch and let's see what a CDP solution can do for your business.   

Still curious?

Read part 2 in our series about how to implement a Customer Data Platform (CDP) in your business here.