How clean, organized and actionable is your data?

Getting the most from your CDP depends on data hygiene.

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A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a 360-degree view of each consumer. But the accuracy of the 360-degree views is only as good as the data that’s in their records.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance.

Data quality

The quality of data in a CDP depends on the accuracy of its contributing sources. Organizations using CDPs must consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to populate the records.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

If your customer records are updated frequently, they’re likely out of date. For instance, identity resolution often depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If those reference files are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau, they might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members to own the accuracy of third-party data sources.

Dig deeper: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of reference files and other sources varies. Consistently inaccurate data erodes the confidence that marketers have in creating and deploying audience segments.

Decisions on the trustworthiness of data need to be made for each contributing source.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Using rules instead of lists

Unifying data is the purpose of a CDP. Those data are being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, use rules to define segments that reach prospects or customers that have engaged recently, or whose records have been updated recently.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Using inaccurate or out-of-date data can negatively affect campaign performance, particularly in fields such as healthcare. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.

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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining quality data in your CDP can also help an organization manage privacy.

Team members need to know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are always high. Privacy and compliance requirements raise the bar even higher.

Some CDP vendors offer features that aid in complying with regulations.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “We implement a PII (personally identifiable information) vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.

About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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