One thing that probably every small business owner can agree upon is that there is a wealth of information available about customers. Whenever a customer interacts with your company by phone, in person, or over the internet, they are creating a data profile that tells a company who they are. One problem that small businesses often face is that this data can come from several different places, is not necessarily compatible with each other, and often does not tell the whole story of a customer’s experience across all of the various ways in which they can interact with your company.
As potential users pose the question what is a customer data platform, they will soon learn that this software from huge developers such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and Adobe, that can serve as a single reference point for customer information. They allow a small business to gather information from all the different ways a customer contacts a company and then create databases and reports that give a small business insight into their customer’s minds.
Understanding if a Customer Data Platform Is Right for Your Small Business
While the benefits of a customer data platform seem evident for most companies, they aren’t necessarily suitable for every company. For example, suppose you are a small business that does not do much marketing, or you don’t have products or services that lend themselves very well to personalization. In that case, you may not need a customer data platform.
The reason for this is that the value of a customer data platform comes from the software being able to distill hugely complex and large amounts of information. If your small business does not work across several channels that need to need somehow get blended into one idea or report, you may not need a customer data platform.
If you are a company with customer resource management software already, you may think that a customer data platform is unnecessary. While this may be true, it is probably fair to say that a customer data platform is like customer resource management taken to a new level.
A customer data platform is not going to help a company engage customers. A customer data platform can help you engage customers in a more meaningful and targeted way.
Is a Customer Data Platform Only Valuable for a Marketing Team?
Indeed, the most obvious value for a small business using a customer data platform is in their marketing efforts and how the system can help a marketing team and their endeavors. This can be true in a small business, no matter how small or large that marketing team may be.
What is interesting about a customer data platform is that small business owners may find that they can use this type of software in various aspects of their company. For example, it may allow a finance team to make smarter and quicker decisions about the products and services they offer and other investments the company may be making.
IT teams within a small company may find they can streamline their operations using a customer data platform because it allows marketing teams to access and utilize data independently without having to draw on IT resources. Development teams may find that having more data that offers valuable information will enable them to choose when and where to produce various products.
Debunking Some of the Common Misconceptions About a Customer Data Platform
As customer data platforms grow in popularity, there are quite a few misconceptions about what this kind of technology offers. Some of the misconceptions include being locked into one vendor, taking forever to set the software up, or having to replace any of your existing applications.
For the most part, none of these misconceptions are true. The fact of the matter is a customer data platform can blend seamlessly into everything your company already does. The true benefit of a customer data platform is that it can drastically improve your endeavors and make you a more efficient and profitable company.
While a customer data platform is not for everyone, most businesses can undoubtedly find value in what the software offers. The trick for any small business is to understand the cost upfront and decide whether this investment is worthwhile for your company.