What's a CDP? Customer Data Platforms and the Next Evolution of Healthcare Marketing

04/03/2019 in Blog

If you've missed the customer data platform (CDP) buzz, this article will get you caught up and ready to figure out where a new technology fits into the future of your organization.

How is a CDP different?
We're going to explain what a CDP is, but since it can seem very similar to other martech solutions on the surface, let's start by explaining what it isn't.

First off, even though they both deal with customer data, CDPs and customer relationship management systems (CRMs) are different beasts altogether.

CRMs are transactional in nature, built to help marketing teams with consumer engagement. They do a great job of this, but CRM systems define the sources of data that you can integrate, and they require you to collect it within a predefined identity structure. It can take some time to format the data before it can be integrated and used with a CRM system.

CDP systems, on the other hand, work across the enterprise because they accept a wider range of data including fast changing anonymous consumer data; there are fewer limits or parameters to set, allowing you to store unstructured data, which is immediately available and accessible when needed for analysis. CDPs are made for all sources of consumer data – including diagnosis, procedure, engagement, and interaction data – and are designed for ease of integration.  They're also built to link your first-party data and third-party data (unlike data management platforms [DMPs], which focus on third-party data based on cookies) and dedicated to analyzing your known consumers.

CDPs go well beyond yesterday's promises of being a “single customer view." They consolidate all the data you deal with and make it useful for marketers, clinicians, data officers, billing specialists, executives, and more in a unified database that other technology systems can access.

What is a CDP?
Yes, CDPs are the packaged software platforms that finally bring martech up to date with the modern, data-focused approach to customer insights, but what are they really?

They're consolidated
Many of the features you'll find in a CDP aren't new. You'll probably be familiar with quite a few, but novelty isn't the point. What sets a CDP apart is that they consolidate existing functionality that used to be inconveniently distributed, effectively eliminating silos between data sources. They do this to create a new synergy between the old ways we use data and package them into a new product that opens the door to new worlds in consumer insight and technology.

They can deal with a lot of data
We've already talked about how CDPs stand out in managing first-party data, but that's just the beginning. CDPs are built to process large amounts of information and often leverage data lakes to give you the virtually unlimited data storage and processing capabilities today's data-driven consumer behavior marketing demands. This same unstructured data storage capability means teams across your organization can benefit from analyzing and sorting this data for a variety of systems and use cases, from more effective care management to understanding which services would impact the health of your population most effectively.

They simplify your life
If you're jumping between systems and dealing with integration headaches, a CDP might just be your new best friend. CDPs are designed to consolidate multiple functions and disparate consumer information, so instead of having endless integrations, now you have just one.

They unify your customers
Are your current solutions processing consumer data at the person level? If not, a CDP is the answer you've been looking for.

CDPs centralize your customer profiles, connecting attributes to identities. They can link multiple devices under a single individual and clean up any duplication issues you have. Some can even complete a person's record historically after they've had contact with your call center, self-identified through a form, or accessed another touchpoint. What this means is that you have improved functionality for your CRM system, other martech, and other programs across your organization.

They answer important questions
The real value of a CDP is that they enhance other technology solutions' capabilities and can start tapping into relationship-building moments to answer real questions that you need to solve, like:

• What healthcare service did a consumer access before their last visit?
• What patient population segments do they belong to?
• What hospital services have they been interested in lately?
• Where are they in their customer and patient journey?
• What pages on our website have they visited?
• What ads have they interacted with previously?

You probably have a few questions of your own, which means you understand just how powerful a CDP can be.

With real-time access to the full spectrum of a consumer's data, you can support use cases like bringing together anonymous web browsing history and a form fill from a Facebook ad. Putting this data together, when this consumer finally calls to schedule that knee pain evaluation they've been thinking about, your call center knows who they are and what activities have led them to this moment. All of this means their interaction is more personal for the consumer.

Want to learn more about what the first CDP purpose-built for healthcare means for your organization? Read on