A few years back, Forbes and Forrester contributor, Melissa Parrish, heralded people-based marketing as the next “gold standard” for marketing practices – and she was right.

Now, people-based marketing is here and enabling brands to focus their attention on what matters most: real people; the actual individuals that purchase and use the services and merchandise companies provide. Not segments, proxies or personas.

With more organizations moving towards people-based marketing and Parrish’s prediction coming true, it’s important to touch on the critical elements that make this approach work. Before you and your marketing team can get going with a people-based marketing strategy, there is one absolutely crucial solution you need first: A customer data platform (CDP).

Today, we’re delving into the advantages of a managed CDP vs. a dedicated CDP, how this can make all the difference for your company’s strategy and how it enables you and your team to understand and focus on your highest value customers and prospects.

First things first: What’s a CDP?

Before we dig too far into the benefits and the whole managed vs. dedicated CDP thing, we need to set our foundation with a definition. This can be a bit tricky, though, since nearly every provider of this technology seems to have their own explanation for what it means.

For our purposes here, we’re drawing on definitions from HubSpot and the CDP Institute: A customer data platform (CDP) is software that helps collect and organize customer data from an array of different sources and touchpoints across the channels, platforms, systems and marketing efforts consumers leverage during their journey or lifecycle.

That was a bit of a mouthful. Let’s try this again: More simply, a CDP is a place to integrate customer data from your company’s sources, as well as other second- and third-party sources. There, that’s better. 🙂

In a traditional sense, users put their data and other sources into the CDP, where it is then anonymized to help protect customers’ privacy and ensure company compliance. These handy platforms can then perform identity resolution to identify customers across different channels and touchpoints. After data is aggregated and anonymized, users can enter specific queries to dig deeper into their target audience and the brand messaging and marketing that resonates with them.

We’ll get into this more below, but a managed CDP helps eliminate the middleman and the often confusing process of entering queries, enabling companies to get to customer data results much faster and more efficiently than ever before. 

What can it tell you 

In a general sense, a CDP provides a way for companies to deal with and get a better sense of their known and anonymous audiences, from the perspective of real-life customers who purchase and use their products or services. This includes the channels they use to interact with the brand (both online and offline), the individual value of a customer, the exact promotion or messaging that made them convert, and more.

A CDP shows brands who their customers are, all of the marketing activity tied to each actual customer, and which marketing campaigns worked well and which didn’t. With this information, marketers can then attract the high-value consumers that mirror their existing customers – or, in other words, successfully get more customers that look like the brand’s current top customers.

How a managed CDP makes the difference

With a dedicated CDP, users are in charge of all the necessary steps to gather, integrate, aggregate and anonymize the data. Once this time-intensive process is done, users must punch in just the right queries to get the answers they need – any mistakes or miswording in the queries could mean a wrong analysis of the customer data and inaccurate results.

That’s a lot of time and complexity transferred to the user, not to mention risk pertaining to data privacy and security.

A managed CDP, on the other hand, eliminates these issues and helps marketing teams get directly to the answers they need, without having to fumble around with the data or necessary queries.

With a managed CDP, the provider runs the platform for you, or on behalf of you and your team. This means that all the complications related to gathering first-, second- and third-party data sources fall to the provider. This also means that you and your team don’t even have to worry about data security or privacy – your managed CDP provider handles all of this, so you’re perfectly compliant and your customer data is secure.

But fear not: Managed does not mean the use or CDP experience is completely hands-off for you and your team. An industry-leading CDP provider will have experience will all types of advertisers, and will know the top questions that you’ll need answered. In this way, your CDP vendor can provide you access to dashboards that align with these questions so you can dig into the data. And with the help of the provider’s managed team behind you, your data digging is focused.

You need not waste any time figuring out the CDP’s data structures, or how to properly formulate queries to get to the answers you want. A managed CDP provider handles all of this for you, so your time and effort goes where it’s needed – your people-based marketing strategy.  

Target Data’s proprietary CDP enables brands to cut directly to the data that means the most and execute paid media to your highest value customer and prospects. To start using your customer data as a strategic asset, connect with us today.