3 Steps to Solving the Challenge of Personalization with a CDP

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Yili Huang, Senior Product Manager, Treasure Data

Imagine you could increase every transaction your business does by 20%. How much business value would that bring in? It’s a compelling calculation that’s even more important in times of economic uncertainty.

No doubt, the rewards of personalization can be high. However, on a daily basis it can pose significant challenges—especially when marketing teams are spread across the globe and data is splintered across multiple silos. If personalization was easy, wouldn’t everyone use it?

While a path toward improving your bottom line may not seem clear, one marketing strategy can yield impressive returns. According to a survey of marketing executives from 200 global firms, 40% of executives reported that marketing personalization efforts directly impacted sales, basket size, and profits. Moreover, studies show that personalization can also reduce customer acquisition costs by 50% and increase marketing spend efficiency by 30%. Personalization can also reduce churn, improve customer engagement, and increase cross-sell of relevant products.

Personalization Is Complex

Today’s customers have come to expect hyper-personalization based on their needs and desires—a staggering 80% are more likely to buy from brands that meet this expectation.

However, coordinating and tracking highly personalized experiences can be next to impossible. Here’s why:

Customer data is siloed. Data lives in various sources across the organization; stitching it back together is difficult. Without connecting the dots, how can you identify interested customers? If you don’t know your customers, how can you effectively segment your audiences or send them relevant messages?

Who individuals are and where they are in their journey isn’t transparent. It’s impossible to know exactly where each customer is on their journey, especially when you haven’t first resolved each customer’s identity into a single customer view. How can you determine where customers should go next in the funnel when the same customer is using multiple devices and identities without your knowledge?

Messaging isn’t comprehensively tracked. Tracking how many messages customers receive from disconnected platforms is time-consuming and impractical. If you can’t track your messaging, then how do you know when you should reach out again and when you should stop?

3 Steps to Solving the Challenge of Personalization

A CDP helps you deliver real-time personalized experiences by unifying all of your customer data into a single profile database. Then, using the Audience management tools, you can explore and segment audiences based on common behaviors, create unique customer journeys, and activate messages to multiple channels. You can also apply machine learning to derive insights like next-best action and content affinity, and then segment your audiences based on those results. In this article, we will take a deeper dive into each of the following steps.

Step 1: Audience Management. Combine customer data to ensure you’re targeting the right customers at the right time with the right messaging.

Step 2: Customer Journey Orchestration. Make sure marketing campaigns are effective at moving customers towards a conversion.

Step 3: Multi-channel Messaging. Deliver messages across digital, social, display, email, and more to targeted audience segments.

Step 1: Audience Management, Segmentation, and Targeting

Before you can deliver personalized experiences, the first step is to understand your customers. Essentially, the purpose of audience management is to aggregate all available customer data and sift through it to find common demographics, attributes, and behaviours. Depending on the size of your organization, your parent segment might include tens of millions of users. Such an enormous dataset can be overwhelming, so where do you start? You begin by identifying your business goals.

To do that, you need to stitch together data from all of your silos to create the most complete user dataset possible. Once you’ve created this parent segment (your entire customer base), you can explore customer data more easily with audience management tools dashboard and create audience segments in the dashboard.

Exploring data helps you:

  • Identify key attributes of both high lifetime value customers and customers that churn.
  • Better inform customer acquisition efforts by finding lookalike audiences.
  • Discover common behaviors and attributes that can be grouped into smaller audience segments for activation.

Audience Exploration

Perhaps your business goal is to increase revenue. Or, maybe it’s brand awareness. Think of your goals as you explore your data, including geographic location, products, user commonalities, product purchase history, and usage patterns. Generally, you’re aiming to understand where your consumers are today and where you want them and your business to be in the future. 

Segment Exploration

Exploring your data by audience segments is another way to achieve your goals. Audience management tools are powered by machine learning, which can cluster user data together from your parent segment into smaller digestible content. Enriched with third-party data, these segments can help you better understand common user interests and how user behavior represents important business trends.

Step 2: Orchestrating Customer Experiences and Journeys

After you’ve explored your audiences, it’s time to design paths for your users and segments. Using customer journey orchestration, you’re solving the problem of knowing where users are in the funnel, and then designing where you want them to go next. That way, you can make sure users are receiving relevant content at every step.

Customer journey orchestration features within the audience management tools enable marketers to deliver personalization at scale and design the best customer journey stages (based on complete customer profiles).

Typically, customers move closer to a purchase through these stages: awareness > interest > intent > purchase > retention. Frequently, designing customer journeys and customer experiences means mapping out all the combinations of behaviors a customer may take, creating hundreds of micro-journeys that look like this: “If a user clicks this link, then send this email,” or “if a user opens this email, then send this coupon.” Such a highly detailed approach requires considerable time and effort to build on a granular level. In comparison, Audience management tools enable you to design macro journeys depending on where the customer is in their journey.

Segmenting Out the Journey

Customer journey orchestration features provide the ability to mark critical stages in the journey to trigger messaging that helps users move from awareness to intent, and from interest towards purchase. For additional customer journey insights, machine learning such as next-best-action modeling can be used to identify the most marketing activation to deliver next and influence your users.

Customer journey orchestration helps marketers see whether their marketing efforts are working and moving customers closer towards a purchase. This enables marketers to plan the best possible journey to progress a customer towards a purchase.

Step 3: Multi-channel Messaging

Now, you’re ready to push out messages to users at every stage in the journey across digital ad channels. Using audience management tools you can:

  • Deliver personalized messaging to specific customers or segments
  • Track and score user behavior to identify the best time for action
  • Activate messaging to multiple channels at the same time
  • Multi-channel messaging is intrinsically connected to the customer journey. During each stage of the journey, there might be a different activation. For example, in the awareness stage you might want to activate to your social channel and use lookalike modeling to reach a wider audience, while in the interest stage an email activation might work best since you’ve already collected their personally identifiable information (PII).

Multi-Channel Activation

You can also activate to multiple channels at once, which means you can send users an email marketing campaign as well as an ad on social media. Then wait and see if they move to the end of the funnel and make a purchase. If they don’t, you can send another. Treasure Data is partner agnostic, offering 170+ connectors across 15 technology categories to ensure your possibilities are extensive. It’s Audience Studio tracks how often you reach out to users.


This concludes a three-step process where it manages the audience, examines the customer journey and determines multi-channel messaging.  Discover the insights that a CDP platform can yield with unexpected outcomes for the marketer!