5 Customer Data Platforms that Nearshore Developers Understand
Customer data has never been more important to sales and marketing than it is today, and it stands to be even more important going forward into 2021 and beyond. Every time someone visits a website, a blog, an e-commerce site, or an app, they leave behind information -- and this information can be useful to businesses or marketers interested in landing these users as clients or selling them products.
However, because internet users today spend so much time online -- and that online experience is often spread across multiple devices (phone, tablet, laptop), interfaces (social media, websites, email) and is defined by many purposes (work, pleasure, social life), brands need to understand and use a variety of technological solutions to track, process, and respond to this data.
Today, because of their broad position within the software space, many nearshore development teams specialize in the creation of solutions for customer data. In this article, we’ll outline a variety of solutions for customer data platforms, and some advice from nearshore developers on where to turn for customer data platform optimization if you’re a marketer or salesperson seeking to integrate customer data analysis into your workflow.
Different Software for Tracking Different Customer Data
The systems that track and respond to this data autonomously are called Customer Data Platforms (CDP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, or Data Management Platforms (DMP).
What are the key differences between these three systems? While CRM tracks a customer’s intentional interactions within your brand’s internet properties -- like when they sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product on offer -- CDP tracks all online “moves” a customer makes whether intentional or not, and unifies this information automatically, creating a powerful customer profile which your sales or marketing team can actualize to optimize their work. DMPs do this similarly but track this information without linking it to individual human identities.
Which system is best for which set of needs? We break it down this way:
- CRMs are best for in-house marketing: for knowing who your customers are, ensuring they return, and understand their behavior once they exist as customers.
- DMPs, however, can be best for understanding trends, behaviors, and marketing data at large -- since there is no explicit link to names and contact information, and therefore no one your team can reach out to directly to act on that data.
- Finally, CDPs are your best bet if you're seeking to understand and connect with potential clients: these systems track a variety of information (name, email, address) and supply that information to marketers and sales teams, giving them something concrete to follow up with to make sales.
What Customer Data Should You Track?
Potential customers interact constantly with various internet properties. (Google alone receives 6 trillion searches a day!). What data are CDP systems tracing, and what data is essential for your marketing team? This will vary based on company and need. However, there are four general categories of data that CDPs track and organize:
- Identity (name, location, income),
- Description (career, lifestyle, family),
- Quantitative (transactions, online and email interactions, customer service info)
- Qualitative (motivation, opinion, attitude).
In combination, the developers who construct customer data platforms intend for the data collected to become a comprehensive combination and to have the power to guide sales and marketing decisions cumulatively. For this reason, the information you collect, and how that information is housed, processed, and organized, and displayed will determine what you -- as a salesperson or marketer -- can do with it. Such choices will determine which CDP is best for you.
5 Top CDP Solutions For 2021
While hundreds of software companies provide solutions for customer data today, only a small number of these platforms are built with a standard that nearshore developers and software experts stand behind. And while a software developer shouldn’t be necessary to run and understand a CDP (they are built with marketers and sales teams as the intended user), the following five choices are the top 5 endorsed by the nearshore development community:
- RudderStack: RudderStack is a CDP build with developers in mind. It collects every customer touchpoint and transmits the data included to over 50 cloud-based destinations and data warehouses fluidly and efficiently. It’s noted for its privacy and security.
- Segment: One of the biggest names in the CDP space, Segment was recently acquired by Twilio for $3.2 Billion, which will give you a sense of how valuable investors see their potential to be. It's already the chosen solution for businesses like Instacart, Peloton, Bonobos, Levi’s, Intuit, and FOX. Segment stands to be dominant in the industry going forward.
- Adobe Experience Platform: There’s an advantage in using the CDP solution provided by one of the most trusted names in digital design. This platform is also part of the Adobe Experience Cloud and integrates fluidly with the entire Adobe software solutions suite.
- Insider: Branded a “Growth Management Platform,” this CDP is used by brands as broad as UNIQLO, New Balance, Nissan, Newsweek, and Domino’s, and advertises its unique use of “deep artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.” It promises to use these technologies to power the customer journey from acquisition through revenue.
- Optimove: Working with companies like Staples, Dollar Shave Club, and Family Dollar, this CDP suite promises to autonomously tell marketers which customer engagement opportunities exist based on the data present, without users having to seek out those engagements themselves. They call this a premier part of their “relationship marketing hub.”
What’s Next for Customer Data Platforms?
As nearshore development teams engage in improving the software used to build more adept and nuanced CDP systems, such systems will likely outpace the need for CRMs and DMPs, eventually leading to a fully integrated CDP that houses the capabilities of all three.
The greatest challenge these nearshore teams will face is in breaking down silos: failures of integration across the many components of data flow pose the greatest risk to these kinds of technology. Solutions to interrupt this challenge are already in development, and nearshore developers are poised to be at the forefront of these changes. For now, the five CDPs above are the premier solutions we stand behind for sales and marketers seeking the best systems going into 2021.
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