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Get the Most Value Out of Your CDP

August 26, 2022

Author: Lindsey Daley, Relationship Marketing Strategist, Merkle

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) grant easy access to centralized customer data that enables marketers to identify and segment customers for better and more relevant brand experiences. However, this data is often inaccessible to the marketing department without requests to IT or data analytics teams and implementing a CDP is a big step that requires collaborations across departments to set it up properly. An action plan for managing the tool post-implementation is key to getting the most value out of your investment.

Make Sure Your Data Streams Have Actionable Data

CDPs work best when the data streams are complete and actionable. For example, if a brand wants to implement an upsell strategy, they must have easy access to historical purchase data, which will drive next-best offer decisioning in line with its business goals. Leveraging data is the most successful when brands are serving up personalized content based on information given by the customer, creating a true one-to-one relationship. The two most important components to complete and actionable data streams are a priority hierarchy and data segmentation.

Think through a priority hierarchy before implementation

It’s normal for data sources to have repeat or similar data such as first name, last name, email address, and maybe a mailing address or phone number. When implementing a CDP there will be rules for which source data should be prioritized when updating records in the CDP. Auditing sources that have duplicate data fields before the implementation begins will simplify the next step which is the ruling process. This ruling process is often defined in two parts:, identity and reconciliation. Identity focuses on which data fields should be used to help identify records when creating the wholistic view. Reconciliation handles prioritizing which source should be used in cases of repeating data.

Segment your data thoughtfully

With centralized data now available to marketers and analytics teams, you are empowered to implement a top-level segmentation strategy. Depending on your industry, you may consider implementing segmentation models based on life stage, defined user personas, RFM (recency, frequency, and monetary value) scores, or custom propensity or churn models. In addition to the top-level strategies, keen marketers will also identify “micro-segments” to work in tandem with their macro-segments. This will help drive more defined message decisioning. For example, a retailer is known for their leggings, a CDP can help the marketing team segment out customers who buy only leggings so that they receive messaging around the other great products that go with those leggings. As we’ll talk about next, this hyper-segmentation will prove to be crucial for personalized messaging.

Personalize the Message Content

After you have ingested source data and implemented a segmentation strategy, you should align on a messaging strategy to activate your centralized and segmented customer data. CDPs provide unified views of your customers, so catering your content to data that is this specifc is key. The content can be hyper-personalized to include total loyalty points and first name or as broad as sending a general coupon to lapsed customers. Content is a step in the planning process that can slow down campaigns, so structuring the timeline around multiple versions or increased technical effort will ensure your personalized messages hit their deadline. A large part of delivering personalized messages to your audiences includes meeting customers where they’re at with an omnichannel strategy.

Enable your omnichannel messaging strategy

With well-executed omnichannel marketing as a key differentiator in 2022, CDPs are a critical component for marketers to effectively and efficiently execute omnichannel campaigns. A thoughtfully implemented CDP can push segments for activation across multiple channels. The value proposition of a CDP is to tear down data silos and view customers on a holistic level. Use your CDP to drive cross-channel messaging strategies. This means whether someone is reading an email, seeing a social ad or receiving a push notification, the messaging is consistent.

A CDP is a big investment that can have a bigger return when stood up and utilized properly. The planning process will be a team effort of planning data sources, rules and use cases. Implementation is where the hard work starts to come together and once you start sending highly personalized messages to your custom segments, the pay-off starts. If you feel like your marketing team is working in silos, a CDP may be a step to help you reach omnichannel marketing.


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