Data Quality

Email Data Quality: The Rise of the CDP

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In our new report “Email Data Quality: Compliant, Correct & Complete,” we viewed data quality practices through the lens of what type of data platform was being used. We asked marketers, “Where does your organisation currently store customer and email data?” They responded:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: 53%
  • Email Service Provider (ESP) platform: 50%
  • Customer Data Platform (CDP): 33%
    Note: These responses aren’t mutually exclusive – businesses could be using two or even all three of the solutions in conjunction with each other.

The scale of the CDP response stood out to us. While this approach to managing customer data is not brand new, it’s been on the periphery of marketing conscience—but not anymore!

What is a CDP?

According to Gartner, customer data platforms evolved from a variety of mature markets, including multi-channel campaign management, tag management, and data integration. Wikipedia provides a good definition:

A collection of software which creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned and combined to create a single customer profile. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems.

At the risk of massive over-simplification, the CDP is a solution enabling businesses to get all their customer data “under one roof,” while also allowing the definition of customer data to evolve. CDPs are built to handle multiple data points from many sources. They collect both online and offline customer data, and could include anonymous visitors as well as personalised, specific customer identifiers.

There are already many established vendors in the CDP space, and G2’s excellent summary lists well-known names including Exponea, Emarsys, Listrak, Tealium, Optimove, and Salesforce Interaction Studio (among others). Users of these platforms clearly understand the important relationship between data and technology. Recent analysis showed Emarsys customers who also use Validity’s Certification allow-list see average open rate uplifts of 28% and click-rate uplifts of 35%.

Armed with this understanding, there’s an implicit assumption CDP users are more sophisticated when it comes to managing their customer data, thinking of it as a business asset, and looking to maximise their return on investment. The report supports this view:

Businesses using CDPs are significantly more likely to use double opt-in as their email permissioning model (1.5X higher than the benchmark response). They are also more likely to use real-time validation tools like BriteVerify (1.7X higher). Having made a significant investment in their customer data capabilities, CDP users are strongly focused on populating their platforms with high quality data.

Use of preference centres is an extremely important part of CDP users’ toolkits for customer data collection (1.6X higher). This highlights the value of progressive registration – re-visiting customers regularly to learn more about their needs and interests, then using this to craft relevant content and offers.

Even more importantly, CDP users actually harness this data to drive their communications. Remember the core GDPR principle of “minimisation.” In short, don’t collect anything you’re not going to use! Use of subscriber preferences to drive customer segmentation is 1.5X greater from these respondents.

This also informs how CDP users measure data quality, with use of “engagement” as a primary key performance indicator (KPI) almost 10% more likely. These businesses intuitively know declines in engagement may have poor data quality at their root, and appreciate the importance of this metric.

Because these businesses have such a strong handle on their data, they are better positioned to measure the financial impact of their data-driven marketing. CDP users’ ability to calculate email cost per acquisition (CPA) is 1.15X higher, while ability to calculate return on investment (ROI) is 1.2X higher.

What does this mean for marketing effectiveness? Since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives, businesses have been rethinking the way they communicate with customers. As the recent DMA awards highlighted, being able to use high quality customer data to implement these shifts authentically and credibly is vital. The additional breadth and depth of customer data CDP users have unquestionably put them in pole position when dealing with this challenge.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our next webinar, when we’ll consider the rise of the CDP, plus many other fascinating data quality insights, with expert guests Tim Bond (Data & Marketing Association) and Kate Barrett (eFocus Marketing).