What’s the Difference Between a Personalization Engine and a CDP?

Generic, ‘one-size-fits-all’ offers are failing to increase loyalty and motivate additional purchases. For marketers, executing personalized outreach to customers to drive incremental revenue, frequency and loyalty has become top of mind. But why aren’t more brands sharing relevant and personalized offers to all customers? The challenge is the lack of ability to leverage customer data to power these personalized experiences across channels like the web, SMS, email, point of sale, etc.

The good news: even though it’s scattered throughout various sources, customer data is abundant, and with the right tools can be unified and leveraged for a much more successful marketing and loyalty program.

But what is the right solution?

Customer Data Platforms and Personalization Engines are two solutions which both claim to personalize data and experiences. Choosing a solution specific for your brands needs can be confusing for a busy marketer who needs to solve specific problems, and fast.

Here are the main differences between a customer data platform and a personalization engine and how they can help your business deliver more personalized experiences for deeper customer loyalty:

Customer Data Platforms (CDP)

Gartner defines a CDP as: “a marketing system that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing and other channels to enable customer modeling, and optimize the timing and targeting of messages and offers”.

Customer data platforms excel at the known user level. Further defined as, tracking and unifying customer data as actions are taken, with one unified view of each customer. A unique advantage for some CDPs like SessionM is the direct integration with POS systems, to liberate transaction data — a powerful channel when a marketer wants to capture every aspect of a customer’s activity.

Sophisticated data ingest, matching and enrichment models are applied as data enters a CDP. The worry of duplicate and mismatched profiles is eliminated when using a CDP and marketers gain control and access to data while earning the ability to dive deeper into analysis. Real-time decisioning through a CDP enables marketers to build highly targeted segments based on customer behavior, which translates into a hybrid combined approach of marketer’s expertise and continuous machine learning from the system.

CDPs also provide a consistent view of the customer across the organization. Marketers are not the only teams who can benefit from quick, efficient access to data. Loyalty, customer support, and experience teams can also easily reference the most accurate and up to date picture for each customer. For a CDP with loyalty capabilities like SessionM, customer support representatives can even issue offers to customers on the spot if needed. A snapshot of each customer’s loyalty status, frequency, spend, and recent purchases can serve as a helpful guide post when a service representative has a customer on the phone.


Personalization Engines

Gartner defines a personalization engine as: “a means to apply context about individual users and their circumstances to select, tailor and deliver messaging such as content, offers and other interactions through digital channels in support of three use cases – marketing, digital commerce and customer experience”.

For brands looking to improve a web experience for customers, a personalization engine is a great way to serve up personalized offers throughout a website. Personalization engines can assist marketers in navigating anonymous data, serving up offers or ads to prospects based on previous activity or as part of an audience with similar habits, with the ability to test and optimize what is working and what isn’t.

Personalization engines and customer data platforms are both powerful tools for a marketer looking to increase conversion and drive direct revenue. Use cases for each system are slightly different, but a marketer could take advantage of both and have a powerful customer marketing strategy for anonymous and known customers in every channel: throughout the website, point of sale transactions, SMS and email, customer service, and loyalty programs.

Ready to take the next step? Get a free assessment of what makes sense for your organization at https://www.sessionm.com/.