As the commercial rollout of 5G begins in earnest this year, connectivity will undoubtedly increase, with more than 80% of residents owning a smartphone, and internet users spending more than three hours per day on mobile devices. The volume of data produced will also continue to escalate. These devices continually generate masses of transactional, demographic and behavioural data, which – if gathered and used correctly – can be harnessed by businesses to generate insight, get to know consumers, and deliver an enhanced customer experience.
As the production of data increases, robust data privacy laws have followed and businesses are struggling to comply. Between January and August 2019, 26 companies were fined a total of $1.28m for breaching the regulations, the highest level since the current Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) came into effect in 2016. In addition to the sheer volume of data, businesses are battling against fragmentation caused by poorly integrated systems and disparate data stores.
To cope with the data deluge and ensure they are making the most of the available data whilst maintaining customer privacy, businesses are exploring a range of data management tools, but confusion still remains high on the different platforms available, their capabilities and how they differ from one another.
Making sense of available platforms
It’s fair to say that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are the most established of data platforms. They are effective at storing and analysing transactional data, but they have limited integration capabilities and don’t generally deliver insight into anonymous user behaviour before a transaction occurs.
Another frequently used data tool is the Data Management Platform (DMP), whose primary purpose is to create audience segments for digital advertising. DMPs are cookie based and specifically used to collate and analyse website interactions. Whilst it is possible to use DMPs to feed various advertising technology solutions such as demand-side platforms (DSPs) they don’t necessarily integrate with other systems used throughout the rest of the customer journey.
The most recent addition to the data management market is the Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP centralises first-party customer data from all sources, channels and devices, including historical transactions, connected device interactions, call centres conversations and point of sale purchases, and then makes that data available across the organisation. By creating a clean, central data foundation that delivers a single customer view, these platforms provide the most effective solution for businesses looking to manage the data explosion – and they can be used alongside CRM systems and DMPs.
Bridging the data gap
One of the key benefits of a CDP is its ability to create highly detailed, real-time customer profiles. Using precise identity resolution, a CDP can bring together data about a customer from all channels, systems and devices, both online and offline, creating a complete view of their interactions. These persistent profiles are accessible to all systems and departments, sharing the value of data across the business and enabling the delivery of seamless and consistent customer experiences.
In addition to supporting outstanding customer experiences, CDPs also allow businesses to see all the information that flows through the organisation, bridging multiple data sources to increase operational efficiency and agility. New technologies such as wearable tech, which is due to become a $21m industry in Singapore by 2024, means consumer needs are continuing to change and marketers have access to a larger pool of data. The features of a CDP allow companies to build a flexible and agile technology stack that can adapt to these changing consumer shopping habits quickly. Business rules can be set centrally and applied across the stack, meaning a great deal of duplicated effort is saved and privacy measures can be implemented uniformly.
As information overload intensifies, Singapore businesses need to ensure they can harness and manage valuable customer data, using it to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Whilst there are a variety of tools available, CDPs offer the secret to good data management, providing the most effective means of centralising data from all systems and departments and sharing it throughout the organisation.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Mark is an experienced, data-driven marketer, passionate about everything digital and data. He is currently Regional Vice President of Sales Asia at Tealium, where he leads Tealium’s team of consultants in the South East Asia and North Asia markets to support businesses looking to leverage the value of a customer data platform (CDP). Prior to Tealium, Mark held positions at Oracle Marketing Cloud, CBS Interactive, and Dynamic Yield.