With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to greater digitisation in many industries, there are now more brand touchpoints than ever before, and consumer behaviour is increasingly fractured as a result.
At the same time, the digital advertising landscape is changing as third-party cookies are phased out by privacy-focused big tech, forcing marketers to reassess how they target consumers and track return on adspend.
Altogether, it now seems an even more daunting task to unify datasets, create a single customer view and, in turn, deliver the personalised experiences that consumers have come to expect.
So, how are marketers investing in data management? Customer data platforms (CDPs) and engagements platforms are two increasingly essential parts of the tech stack.
Taking ownership of the customer in a cookie-crumbling world
CDPs can offer “a way for organisations to bring together disparate customer data into one place, to allow for the easy sharing of this information with other systems,” according to Econsultancy’s CDP Best Practice Guide.
This technology is coming to the forefront due to its focus on first-party data – soon to be an even greater priority for marketers as Google prepares to block third-party cookies in Chrome at some point in 2023. Google is following in the footsteps of Apple, which confirmed “full third-party cookie blocking” in iOS, iPadOS and Safari in March 2020. Furthermore, Apple this year introduced ATT (app tracking transparency) in 2021, which requests user authorization to access app-related data for tracking the user or the device.
Of course, investing in a CDP is no silver bullet – brands need to have a data strategy in place to start with. However, first-party data collection and the use of a CDP certainly chimes with many business’ avowed pursuit of customer experiences good enough to build brand loyalty.
While many CDPs typically unify first, second, and third-party data, solutions, it’s clear where the current strategic focus lies for many brands. The benefits of first-party data are wide-ranging, but overall, it enables brands to build a better and deeper understanding of their customer segments, which can be used to inform more relevant and personalised experiences.
In a recent webinar, Ratul Shah, Head of Product Marketing for Customer Data solutions at SAP Customer Experience, explained how SAP has seen evidence of data and technology investment in the past 18 months.
“Year-over-year, we have seen a 55% growth in Photo Editing Services identities created in our customer data solutions,” he says. “We saw an even bigger jump in the number of consent records created – a consent is that, when you create an account, when you opt into an email, you are giving permission to use that data… this grew at a 2 to 1 rate in terms of records managed. “
Overall, Shah confirms that “a tremendous amount of activity was happening with our customers, and how they interacted with their customers.”
Keeping up with the omnichannel blend
While the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitisation for a myriad of industries, the retail industry has made one of the most prominent shifts; ecommerce’s share in global retail increased from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. CPG brands in particular are grappling with a shift to direct-to-consumer activity.
Seeking to provide customers with convenience and inspiration at every interaction, leading retailers are increasingly blending physical and digital channels. Altogether, this means there are even more opportunities for brands to connect with customers at different touchpoints. At the same time, of course.