When it comes to marketing, data is king. With in-depth data, marketers can personalize interactions with customers, market to them at the right times, create a more enjoyable experience, and overall, close more sales.
However, capturing all of this data, organizing it in one place, and making use of that data has been a struggle using traditional tools such as web analytics, CRMs, and marketing automation.
You typically have to spend a lot of time combining all of this data to get a complete picture of your customer. Even then, this process is limited and you can’t fully take advantage of this data to completely personalize your marketing campaigns.
This is where Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) come in.
In this article, we’ll discuss what CDPs are, the difference between them and traditional marketing tools, their benefits, and compare over a dozen CDP options.
Read on or use the links below to “jump” to the section you’d like to read:
The Customer Data Platform Institute defines a Customer Data Platform (CDP) as “a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems”.
In essence, a CDP is a system that pulls together all the data you have on a customer in one place. With it, you can create a unified view of that customer and see every action they’ve taken since first interacting with your company.
How many times they’ve visited a specific page on your website
When they opened one of your emails
When they clicked a link inside that email
How many times they opened your emails
Information on mobile app sessions, social media comments, purchase orders, and chat history
Customer Data Platforms vs. CRM vs. Marketing Automation: How Are They Different?
You may be thinking, “Don’t CRM or email marketing platforms such as Hubspot and MailChimp already do this?” Not exactly.
The data that CRMs and email marketing platforms offer is limited. CRMs typically offer basic information and allow you to store customer information such as addresses, emails, etc. Some may even track interactions like email opens and live chat or email conversations.
The same goes for email marketing platforms such as MailChimp. These platforms will store a customer’s email and track email activity but they miss other key areas such as web activity, mobile app activity, and so on.
However, CDPs aim to combine all of this data into one place and try to capture a customer’s entire interaction with a company. A true CDP would have data on a customer’s chat history, email history, website visits, mobile app sessions, purchases, social media interactions, and anything else that would involve an interaction between them and your company.
Some CDPs also allow you to leverage that data to send emails, run marketing automation, optimize advertising, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Customer Data Platform?
CDPs can expand your marketing capabilities with less manpower, saving you time and money. Specific benefits include:
1. Having a Single View of Your Customers
The most obvious reason to use a CDP is that you can get a “single view” of the customer. You can see their entire interaction with your company in one place, rather than trying to somehow manage and collect this data from multiple tools.
2. Being Able to Personalize Customer Interactions
Having all of this information in one place can allow you to personalize a customer’s entire experience with your company.
You can personalize names in emails, send out a coupon directly after a customer has visited a specific page on your website, enter them into a marketing automation process when they’ve had a chat with your company, or send them an email when they logged onto your app.
With CDPs, the possible personalized experiences you can craft for your customers are endless.
3. Being Able to Create Highly-Targeted Campaigns
With all of this information at your disposal, you can now create specific targeted campaigns, and in some cases, one-on-one experiences.
Do you want to target customers who have visited your pricing page within the past month, have opened up and clicked in your last three emails, downloaded your mobile app and have been actively using it for the past two weeks, and have also contacted your company via email or your live chat widget?
With CDPs, you can do that.
Customer Data Platform Software Options
CDPs are becoming increasingly common. Different CDP platforms work best for different industries, and each offers unique features that set it apart from competitors. Here are the top-rated tools in the field:
LeadBoxer collects information about your customers throughout their entire customer journey. We collect and give you information such as:
When a customer visited your website, what pages they visited, and how long they spent on that page
What emails a customer has opened from you, when they opened it, and what links they clicked
Get notifications when leads or customers are ready-to-buy or show buyer intent
All of this information is then organized into your “LeadBoard” and each of your different customers or leads are given a score to gauge how engaged they are with your company:
The score gives you an idea of which prospects are most worth your sales team’s time and effort.
Each of these customers or leads can be viewed on a micro level to see every bit of that person’s activity:
Schedule a free demo here and learn how LeadBoxer can help you understand your customers better and make better marketing decisions.
What sets it apart: Instead of manually integrating all of your tools, Segment has a single API that allows you to integrate your entire marketing stack at once. There are also tools for validating and protecting all of your customer data.
Who it’s for: Segment serves a variety of customers, from enterprise-level companies like IBM and Petco to retail like Peloton and SaaS like Zendesk.
Pricing: Segment is free for tracking 1,000 visitors or less per month. The mid-range option for teams, which tracks 10,000 visitors per month, starts at $120 per month. For the enterprise-level option, contact Segment for a quote.
What sets it apart: With the power of AI, Blueshift predicts how likely customers are to purchase, engage, churn, and more. Customer scores and segments automatically update with each interaction, and the predictive affinities function ensures you’re targeting them with the most relevant content.
Who it’s for: Plenty of personal finance companies like ClearScore, LendingTree, and GOBankingRates use Blueshift, as well as B2C companies like Skillshare, Tuft & Needle, and Artifact Uprising.
Pricing: Blueshift doesn’t list their prices, but their solutions range from simple email automation to cross-channel marketing and AI for enterprises.
What sets it apart: In addition to tracking cross-channel data on individual customers, Exponea has experiment capabilities that allow you to tweak and test your website’s appearance so that you can always be improving customer experiences.
Who it’s for: B2C brands will get the most out of Exponea’s tools. The top customers tend to be clothing and accessory brands like Topshop, Missguided, and FitFlop.
Pricing: Fill out a form to receive a custom pricing plan based on the needs of your company.
What sets it apart: QuanticMind unifies all your customer data to help you enhance your advertising and customer experiences. If you want to get more out of your advertising spend, QuanticMind can do it with automated bid optimization.
Who it’s for: QuanticMind is primarily geared toward large enterprises like WP Engine and Rosetta Stone, but it also serves leading B2B and SaaS brands like MOZ.
Pricing: QuanticMind doesn’t list pricing or product tiers on their website. Schedule a demo to learn which solution and pricing plan best fits your business.
What sets it apart: WithCustomerLabs CDP, you can select specific elements on your website to instantly create trackable events. The friendly interface erases the need to write any code, making it possible to start tracking all the website events you want within minutes.
Who it’s for: CustomerLabs has solutions for e-commerce, B2B, and SaaS companies.
Pricing: Personal plans start at $0 per month but tracks only 2,500 customer events. Business plans start at $49 per month and track 0.5 million events per month.
What sets it apart: The CDP is only one capability of Emarsys, a B2C marketing automation platform. With Emarsys, businesses can create personalized customer experiences at scale and show you where to focus on your next marketing steps.
Who it’s for: Emarsys is primarily a solution for B2C brands like Tupperware and Char-Broil.
Pricing: Emarsys doesn’t openly list its pricing on its website. Get in touch for a demo and pricing plans.
What sets it apart: Tealium AudienceStream CDP is one aspect of Tealium’s Universal Data Hub platform. It claims the biggest integration marketplace in the industry, offering the end all be all way to unify your marketing stack.
Who it’s for: Tealium countslarge, diverse organizations like Providence St. Joseph Health and the Utah Jazz basketball team among their customers.
Pricing: Telium’s product tiers and prices aren’t listed on the website. To learn which features and pricing plans fit your business, schedule a demo.
What sets it apart: Boxever is CDP that collects data on web visits, mobile activity, email activity, calls, ads, and more. It combines all of this data into one place and allows you to personalize your marketing and deliver predictive offers.
Who it’s for: Boxever’s largest customers tend to be airlines like Jetstar, Emirates, and Ryanair.
Pricing: Pricing is crafted on a per business basis.
What sets it apart: AgilOne is CDP specifically for B2C companies. The platform offers a “360 profile” where you can view customer interaction. The platform automatically cleanses, standardizes, and enriches customer profiles to help you deliver consistent experiences.
Who it’s for: B2C companies Lululemon Athletica and Tumi are among AgilOne’s customers.
Pricing: Pricing is offered on a per business basis and you will need to contact the company for a quote.
Customer Data Platforms are the Next Level of Marketing Automation
Having a customer’s data all in one place rather than cobbling together a suite of separate tools saves marketers and salespeople time and money. With a unified view of customers, you can create personalized marketing campaigns that maximize your spend, increase conversions, and create delighted customers for life.
Imagine knowing your leads’ level of engagement with your brand, the likelihood that they’ll buy your product, and even the best strategies for communicating with them. With that kind of information, you could increase the effectiveness of your prospecting and win more deals. Lead intelligence is what makes it possible.
But what is lead intelligence, and how do you start using it in your business? This guide covers the basics, including the most useful types of lead intelligence and the best tools available today. Once you learn how to leverage lead intelligence, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to make sales without it.
Lead intelligence is a form of data that significantly elevates your understanding of your prospects so you can better address their pain points, communicate effectively with them, and win their business. When it comes to B2B sales, lead intelligence is invaluable.
Given how effective lead intelligence is for prospecting, chances are that if your competitor isn’t already taking advantage of this sales strategy, they will be soon. All the more reason why you should start incorporating this form of data into your company’s sales process today.
There are several different types of lead intelligence. Which ones you should focus on depends on the needs of your business.
Types of Lead Intelligence
Knowing your lead’s name, email address, and phone number is just the beginning of lead intelligence. The following data points tell you just how interested prospects are in your product, what their pain points are, and how you can better connect with them.
Who’s visiting your website that isn’t already on your radar? Some lead intelligence software can unveil a visitor’s name, contact information, and company before they ever fill out a form.
A Chrome extension such as this one from Lusha or a contact database like ZoomInfo both make it simple to find up-to-date info for all of your prospects.
If a company has recently received a big investment or has launched a new project, you should know about it. This information can give you insight into whether or not now is the right time to reach out with your offer. Updates about new hires or job changes also let you know if you’re contacting the right person.
Study your company’s ideal customer profile, then make sure your lead intelligence software is gathering any details you need about a prospect’s age, job role, and geographic location. Knowing that a prospect has the essential characteristics of your ideal customer ensures that you spend time reaching out to the best leads.
Social media profiles
There are more ways than ever to connect with prospects. Knowing their LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, or other social media profiles gives you more opportunities to engage with prospects outside their inbox and earn their trust. It also helps you come up with talking points based on the content they’ve recently posted.
Knowing the number of pages a prospect visited on your site can help you gauge their level of interest in your product. Lead intelligence can take it one step further and show you exactly which pages they’ve visited and how long they spent on that page, shedding light on what problems they need help solving.
Ideally, you also want lead intelligence software that can integrate with your email marketing platform to show you which emails a prospect opened, how long they spent reading the email, and if they clicked through on any links.
Does a prospect often return to your site? This can signal a greater level of interest in your product. Some lead intelligence software will alert you at the moment of a site revisit so that you can reach out while your at the top of a prospect’s mind.
Knowing if a prospect prefers to communicate by email or phone is sometimes the difference between making or losing a sale. Some lead intelligence software can also clue you into their negotiation style, mannerisms, and questions that are most likely to prompt a desirable response.
Now that you have all this lead intelligence, how do you make sense of it quickly enough to take action? A lead score takes all the data you’ve gathered on a prospect and turns it into a number that indicates the likelihood that they’ll buy. There are formulas out there for calculating this yourself, but it can be a tedious process. Luckily, some lead intelligence software will make this calculation for you.
The Best Lead Intelligence Software
There are several different types of lead intelligence tools available that can find and help you interpret the best data on your prospects.
LeadBoxer is a solid all-in-one lead intelligence option that integrates with your CRM and marketing tools of choice. Not only does it help you identify and track website visitors and email behaviour, but it also assigns them a leadscore based on their engagement with your brand across multiple channels and mediums. With LeadBoxer, not only do you know what kind of content prospects are most interested in, but you immediately know which prospects are most worth pursuing.
CRM heavyweight HubSpot offers sales tools that anyone can start using for free. The paid version of the platform comes equipped with features that identify prospective companies and their level of engagement. It can also track page views, pages visited, and the number of visitors from each company. However, HubSpot Sales doesn’t identify individual or anonymous visitors to the degree that LeadBoxer does.
In addition to identifying and tracking anonymous website visitors, VisitorTrack offers intent data about a business. Intent data indicates that a prospect has been actively researching topics relevant to your business at other locations around the web. For instance, if you sell a marketing automation solution and a visitor to your site has been researching similar tools or topics on other websites, VisitorTrack will let you know.
Like HubSpot Sales, Albacross identifies companies that are visiting your website and shows you how engaged they are. It also goes into stats like the company’s revenue, the number of employees, exactly which pages they visited, and how long they spent on the site.
Albacross doesn’t identify individual visitors, but it does offer a list of GDPR compliant email addresses for decision-makers at the companies visiting your site. With this tool, you can have a better idea of whether or not the person you’re contacting has the authority to make a purchase.
Buzz from LeadSift tracks what’s going on at a prospective company, such as if they found new sources of funding or launched a new product, eliminating the need to do that research yourself. In addition to curating all this news for you, Buzz offers guidance about what to do with that information, taking the guesswork out of conversation starters or talking points.
Crystal sets itself apart from other tools in this list by focusing on intelligence about a lead’s personality. This is especially useful for when you’re ready to contact a lead, deliver a proposal, or negotiate a contract. Few other tools can offer the same level of insight about a lead’s personality that Crystal can, but it doesn’t track their level of engagement with your brand or tell you how likely they are to buy.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator leverages a platform that both you and your prospects are already using. Sales Navigator comes with advanced search functions that make it easier than ever to find leads that match your ideal customer profile and can even recommend leads that you wouldn’t have thought of.
Lusha is one of the highest-ranked lead intelligence tools on G2. Its Chrome extension provides B2B contact enrichment based on profiles from places like LinkedIn or Twitter, making it easy to build up your list of prospects while you browse.
Use Lead Intelligence to Find and Engage With Qualified Prospects
If you’ve ever felt like you’re engaging with too many prospects and have not enough to show for your efforts, it’s time to integrate lead intelligence into your sales process. With lead intelligence, you’ll know exactly which prospects you should focus your attention on, plus which talking points you should use with them and how to engage with them in a way that earns their trust.
When it comes to choosing a lead intelligence tool, you can’t go wrong with an option that gathers data about anonymous visitors from a variety of sites and platforms, then interprets it into an actionable lead score. That way, you’ll spend more time on prospects who intend to buy and win more deals.
Why LeadBoxer Is The Best Choice For Automating Lead Generation
Q: As briefly as possible, what has LeadBoxer done that is so valuable for business websites? A: Developed a way of applying Search Engine technology to qualify leads.
We started with visitor website tracking a number of years ago, and have evolved into a system which uses big data technology to identify interesting leads. Currently we’re working towards full automation of the process of lead identification.
Lead Tags (competitor, customer, partner, prospect)
Identity Fields (Email
Letting smart algorithms do the heavy lifting
In conclusion, in order to succeed, a software product needs to add value. The value we are adding is machine learning. You tell our machine what a valuable lead looks like, and we use algorithms to find these leads for you. Our goal is to automate the process, so that letting LeadBoxer loose on a website will provide a list of all activity, prioritized by lead score. To increase the efficiency of the system, and reduce the burden of logging in to (another) software product, we push email Notifications to your team’s mailboxes.
Because Web Analytics is part of our core solution we have spent a lot of time pondering over and perfecting our use of Big Data. LeadBoxer has been in the industry for more than 15 years (both directly and indirectly) and we can say with fair certainty that we have learnt several things during our cumulative “service”. But we will be lying to ourselves if we don’t admit that sometimes Big Data can fail you. With that in mind, we wanted to write this piece on how to make sure that your company is using it the right way and it doesn’t lose touch with the individuals that make-up the data sets. In the spirit of honesty, I have to give credit to Martin Lindstrom’s book “Small Data”, because it is what gave me the inspiration for this article. In it, he makes a point that nowadays the corporate world has become blinded by Big Data and this happens because it is incredibly hard to describe emotions using data.
Data does not reflect emotions.
Martin starts his book with the famous example of LEGO. In 2002-2003 the company was going bankrupt so they used Big Data to determine that Millennials have short attention spans and get easily bored. This led LEGO to make their small, iconic bricks into huge, simplistic building blocks. This change only accelerated their decline so out of desperation, the company decided to go into consumers’ homes to try and reconnect with their once loyal customers. I am not going to reveal much from the book, but in a few words, after meeting with an 11-year-old German boy, they discovered that for children, playing and showing mastery in something was more valuable than receiving instant gratification. This made LEGO pivot again and after their successful movie in 2014 they surpassed Mattel to become the world’s largest toy maker. Now, of course there is much more to the story that is hidden in the background, but the bottom line is that patterns and trends can sometimes be misleading.
Correlation is not causation.
Big Data is all about finding correlation and patterns in human behaviour, but that is not always the whole truth. Take as an example Google; back in 2008 they believed they could use Big Data to predict flu outbreaks and launched a program called Google Flu Trends (GFT). The algorithm analysed search queries with the word “flu” to follow patterns but it did not take into account unrelated searches. And then in 2013 it failed dramatically by missing the flu season peak of 140 percent. This is not necessarily a failure of Big Data as much as it is a failure of people using it. Call it hubris or simple error of judgement. But the fact of the matter is that correlation is not always causation and sometimes Big Data is simply just too big and not all relevant.
Not all data is useful.
The problem with Big Data is that you are looking at the data you have collected and not necessarily the data that you need. Sometimes the numbers you have are not interesting or insightful. Or even worse, they are just a vanity metric. Like thinking that a lot of Twitter followers translates into actual real-life influence or that a lot of website traffic leads to high conversion. You only need to take a look at the Big Data Industry Report for 2016 by Prompt Cloud to see that the biggest issue for companies is how to get value out of the data they have collected.
What is the take-home?
Data has become so rooted in our work that we sometimes use it almost exclusively. But the examples that I mentioned and all of the others that didn’t make the cut to be included in the article, show that it takes something more than data. Organisations need to keep in mind that data does not reflect emotions. Correlation does not always equate causation. And just because you have a lot of information it does not mean that it is useful or actionable.