Why CDP + PII = The Ultimate Dynamic Duo

When Gartner began evangelizing the promises of the customer data platform (CDP) in early 2018, it made an important point: “CDP is not a system of record, it’s a system of innovation.” 

This would help explain why for all of the value CDPs have introduced for customer profile management, 2.5% – 3.5% of the data in these files churns every month. This means that by the end of one year, fully one-third of the information brands rely on to drive campaigns is already useless. 

Holy dated data, Batman!

This looks like a job for…PII!

CDPs help brands manage deep, detailed info on the customers with which they already have a relationship. 

Recognizing the opportunity to reach beyond these customer bases, we’ve seen attempts made to establish cooperatives for sharing data and permissioning between CDPs. With cookies going the way of the fruit cake, even the anonymized data providers are trying to get in on the action. 

Here’s the thing, though. Brands are actually quite protective of this data. Yes, they want more of it. Yes, they want to improve it. But they’re not about to trade it or attempt to monetize it in a way that would negatively impact their customer relationships. 

At the same time, it can be completely detrimental to the brand and customer engagement when promotions are sent based on bad data. Think about how annoyed you get when your dealership sends offers for a car you haven’t owned in years. Or when you get ads for a city you long moved away from. 

So how do they keep files timely, accurate, and complete while carefully expanding data sets to keep pace with growth and campaign targets? By teaming with PII providers that meticulously maintain a single, accurate version of the truth for tens of millions of consumers. 

PII companies can provide unquestionable value to CDPs with the ability to:

  • Clean dirty data. Hygiene…it’s not just for humans! Continuously cleaning data by matching profiles stored in a CDP against a single, accurate version of the truth maintained by a PII provider is the best way to keep data up to date and, most importantly, useful. Amassing buyer data takes time and effort. And it has to stay fresh or it’s no good to anyone. 
  • Find lookalikes. The detailed profiles CDPs maintain lend well to finding additional consumer targets with similar interests or buying behaviors. PII providers have algorithms to help uncover these matches and intelligently expand CDP data sets. 
  • Help improve targeting. PII companies can provide data overlays for existing brand data to support customized campaigns that stand a better chance to move the performance needle. For instance, learning that an existing customer is also a sports or music fan allows the creation of themed content that may better resonate and drive action. 

An inflection point for data

Brands want to target more thoughtfully. Data privacy has become paramount. Cookies are going away

The emergence of the CDP has been a positive development for ad-tech. But the trends all point to a major opportunity to improve on this approach. PII will be at the heart of these improvements. 

In the end, it’s all about better understanding the customer and preserving massive investments made to amass proprietary consumer data in the first place. 

Steve Horne

Author Steve Horne

More posts by Steve Horne