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Replay of the live "CDP and Marketing Automation: where is the border?"

On many occasions, I have seen how confused some advertisers are when faced with publishers' names marketing campaign management tools. Some call themselves CDP (for Customer Data Platform) and other tools for Marketing Automation. Yet they seem to promise the same thing: to collect and reconcile customer data and activate marketing campaigns.

Finally, what is the difference between a CDP and a Marketing Automation tool?

Through this live, we wanted to answer this question as clearly as possible!
For this, I invited Eugenie Tholometcurrently in charge of business development at Commanders Act in France. Commanders Act publishes several solutions including a CDP. Previously, Eugénie worked for other tools including a Marketing Automation tool (the late Cabestan). She is therefore well placed to try to answer this question with me.

For those who missed the live, here is the replay:

Below is a summary of what was said.

In the end, how to define a CDP vs. a marketing automation tool?

A "true" COP, in its literal sense, allows for 4 things:

Data collection

  • A CDP allows first and foremost the collection of all types of data. We can collect CRM data, store transactions, call center data, loyalty card data, product catalog data, but the major difference will be in the NAVIGATION DATA... all this data in one place and ESPECIALLY in REAL TIME but REALLY real. The collection is in real time and the work on the data is also in real time (we come back to this just below). The collection of all these data can quickly reach hundreds of millions of lines. The data is collected in a raw, unstructured way. You have to imagine that in a CDP, navigation data are collected "in bulk".
  • Whereas in a marketing automation tool, you will have structured data, compiled and well arranged in different tables. The volume of data is reasonable (a few million rows) and the update of the database is often delayed.

Unification or reconciliation of data around a known identifier

  • Once the raw data is received in a CDP, it must be processed, organized and reconciled in order to identify the person behind the data. The recognition is done through one or several identifiers (generally the cookies). We can do cross device recognition: a person can come with his smartphone to visit a site online, the next day with his professional desktop, the day after with his personal desktop. In a CDP, we can know that it is the same person. We can reconcile according to the channel and the device.
  • Whereas in a marketing automation tool, the data is, by default, associated with a known contact in the database. (in the vast majority of cases, the email address)

Data processing (here the segmentation engine)

  • A CDP has a segmentation engine VERY VERY VERY POWERFUL which can request a very large volume of raw data IN REAL TIME and VERY QUICKLYThis requires a very high computing power. It is necessary to have a "Big data" type technical architecture to handle this volume.
  • Whereas a marketing automation tool has a segmentation engine that cannot run on such a large volume of data (or you risk waiting a very long time for the result). The technical architecture of marketing automation tools is not designed to handle such large volumes.

Finally, activation! Is activating a router?

  • By definition, a CDP does not route messages.
    So, when a CDP talks about data activation, it means that it creates contact segments and sends them to partners who route messages (thus to a marketing automation tool...) or who display messages (social networks, display, RTB, website personalization...) or refer to a call center.
  • While the DNA of a marketing automation tool is precisely to route emails. Every marketing automation tool has a sending engine. It is via the marketing automation tool that the messages will be personalized to the smallest detail.

The table that sums it all up 😉

CDPMarketing Automation
DNACollection of all types of dataEmail campaign routing
Sources of data collectionswallows all types of data with a strong focus on navigation data of all pages of one or more websitesmainly email data, purchases, product catalog, data from some web pages (mainly for shopping cart abandonment)
The collection formatraw (unstructured) format, in real timein data tables (structured), in batch, slightly delayed
Data unificationmostly around a cookie, cross channel reconciliation, cross devicemostly around an email ID (or customer ID)
The segmentation engineable to query hundreds of millions of unstructured data in real time and very quickly capable of querying a few million at most of structured data
Email routingNone, the CDP is connected to marketing automation tools. It sends the contact segments to these tools, which then route them.It's on the road! It's his DNA. At least emails, and it goes through a partner for the SMS. Then, like a CDP, it can send segments of contacts to a paper router, call center, etc...

Some marketing automation tools say they can collect browsing data via an "onboarding" module. What can you really do with this type of functionality?

The few marketing automation tools that offer this, will not query on all raw browsing data. They will query on the browsing data they will be able to recognize (so those whose email address they have). So, right away, it puts aside a big part of the volume, so it's easier for them to calculate. For example, to do a cart abandonment campaign, the marketing automation tools will place a tracking tag that will record the cart abandonments of those they recognize. They will send them a cart abandonment email. But they will leave out all those who do not recognize them, whereas a CDP will also take into account the unknowns and reach them via another channel such as social networks, website personalization by pushing a pop-in to relaunch their cart, display, etc.. Once again, we are talking about volume.

If I want to collect the centers of interest of the visited pages, how does it happen?

In the CDP a mega tracking tag will be deposited which will allow to collect all the navigation data of all the pages of the website(s). This tag will deposit a cookie, which has a lifespan of 13 months and which will bring back several information.
First of all, it will give us all the data from the data layer such as the url of the page, the name of the page visited, the category of the product, the price of the product, etc... So, if the data layer is well done, we can get the information of the category of the product or the page visited.

Sometimes CIOs are reluctant to put in additional tracking tags. How does it work at that level?

You need to choose a good TMS (tag management system) that will help you to install the tags.

(For your information: there are 2 methods to put tags.

  • Either we put them on all the pages of the website (but it is more and more rare, too complex, almost nobody does that anymore).
  • Either via a TMS, like Tag commander, which is French and paying, or via GTM, Google tag manager which is American and free (for the moment ;-). But be careful, the data belong to Google which reuses them and the data are not necessarily hosted in France...)

So in a TMS, there are tag libraries. In a few clicks, the tag is placed on all the pages of the website. The marketing teams can put the tag in total autonomy. The TMS (vs GTM, and let's put a layer on it 😉 ensures security, reduced page loading time and a customer support service.

What about the security of data transfers?

Via a TMS like tag commander, the data is hosted in France, the advertisers' data is not reused. They are the only owners of their data. (third layer 😉
At the data transfer level, email addresses can be hashed, MD5 encrypted (basically it means that they are anonymized during the transfer so that there is no impact if there is a leak).

How do advertisers establish their contact or audience segments? Are they accompanied by an agency specialized in marketing research for example?

There is a whole series of use cases that we see quite frequently with our customers. There are 35 of them in our catalog, and we make them available to our clients. We accompany them on this.

  • ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline): if someone has already bought in a store but has not bought online and this person is browsing the site and over the last 10 days has seen the same product page 3 times, then I will be able to push an email with the recommendation of this product.
  • or if a person has visited a product page several times and is identified in the store, then the salesperson's tablet will talk to them about that product.
  • push product categories via display, adwords

In general, the client arrives with his hypotheses that are translated into the tool.

What types of customers are equipped with a CDP?

Mostly, it is the advertisers who have several sales networks and therefore sources of data and several channels to activate. So, the retail/ecommerce sector (because store networks + merchant site) and also, the banking/insurance sector because (branch networks + online site).

Should you get a marketing automation tool first or a CDP first?

Equip yourself with the 2 tools in parallel 😉 In reality, when an advertiser reaches the end of his marketing automation tool, that he wants to go further in his shopping cart abandonment scenario for example (like retargeting anonymous visitors to increase his conversion), then he will equip himself with a CDP.

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