Managing data to support personalisation efforts with CDP and CIAM Solutions

Russell Loarridge
22 November, 21

Brands, particularly retailers, need to make every effort to differentiate themselves within an ever-growing competitive market using focused content and targeted messaging. But having various marketing platforms and fragmented buying pathways only makes this more challenging. The key to success is having access to the necessary customer data in order to drive effective and personalised marketing campaigns. However, this information is often divided across silos, making it challenging for brands to have true insight of the consumer.

The Acquia CX Report 2020 found that 83% of marketers recognise this issue  and admit that customer data is dispersed across different areas of their business, completely disconnected from one another. To worsen this situation, this information  is generally unusable, compartmentalised and becomes outdated very quickly.  This may be obvious,, but brands, therefore, need to support personalisation efforts more effectively by bettering  how they manage their data.

However, brands shouldn’t just be prioritising this because it’s best practice; customers  are making it clear that they want this kind of  targeted marketing to take place. After one bad marketing experience, 72% of consumers say they are ready to change brands, demonstrating why precise and effective personalisation is vital. But, how can brands keep customer loyalty and improve personalisation? Russell Loarridge, Director UK, ReachFive emphasises  the crucial part  that Customer Data Platforms (CDP) and Customer Identity and Access Management  (CIAM)have to play, together.

Centralising Data with CDP

A key requirement for marketing innovation is the need to develop  a clear and shared vision of customer data across all marketing channels. But, the real challenge is reconciling this customer user data and activating it across the many marketing channels available. This is particularly  problematic when you consider that data needs to be collected  and analysed from approximately 28 different data sources in order to create effective customer engagement.

Additionally, the fact that a great number of consumers buy products for people other than themselves, such as their family members and friends will mean that they approach different product purchases with different motivations. What does your siloed, inaccessible data tell you about these scenarios? Is the identity of the shopper the same as the recipient? How is your website collecting, storing and using data effectively in these situations? 

To overcome this challenge, brands are increasingly equipping themselves with Customer Data Platform (CDP) solutions to support capturing and arranging  data from both online and offline contact points in order to utilise it intelligently. However, for this technology to succeed,  it must enable marketers to consolidate data, remove copies and adapt it effectively in order to strengthen knowledge about their customers. This is only possible if there is a coherent and shared vision for data management within the organisation – one that joins up data silos to make insights truly actionable.

Silos and Chaos

When attempting to execute this vision, many brands face a ‘silos and chaos’ scenario. This is because most data processing within systems  is based on probabilistic reconciliation. Blocked by poor data quality, data warehousing and integration systems cannot reconcile brand data without a lot of preparation work upstream, which often requires substantial technological investments and only ensures an average reconciliation of 25% – 50% of the data.

On the other hand, deterministic matching, based on secure, verified and rich, identity-based data can achieve 100% matching that supports marketing more effectively; it also enhances  the quality of the data that feeds the personalisation algorithms. The customer data collection, cleansing and integration functions  supported by advanced CIAM enable companies to move to an optimal ‘silos and identity’ configuration for data management that helps marketers better understand who they market to.

Complementing CDP with CIAM

Going back to the example of who is really visiting a brand’s website – if that retailer had CIAM in place, they’d be able to gain insight into who is visiting their website, for whom and why they are shopping, and gather appropriate data to deliver personalised marketing effectively. During online shopping, a brand’s CDP typically centralises and keeps transactional data from ecommerce and point-of-sale systems. Yet, it does not bring up information connected with customer identity. Without this absent piece of information, it can only deliver a proportion of the value that data promises. Identity information – phone, email, social identity – is the pivotal variable for success.

One of the main challenges CDPs face is to be able to attach anonymous, cookie-based data to a known customer from the moment they create an account. CIAM, in comparison, collects zero- and first-party customer profile data, including communication preferences and consent. CIAM also reconciles all available data points for marketers to an identity, including those collected in first- and second-party scenarios, from mobile phones, tablets to connected TVs, following the consumer wherever they go.

CIAM is a true complement to CDP. It makes it possible to manage identity and treat it as a data source. Working together, it links all the data and allows the CDP to achieve its full potential by ensuring that all interactions are correctly linked to a customer’s identity. Together they deliver and drive personalisation.


CDP and CIAM technologies accompany each other to help brands identify the customer across all touchpoints; and collect and leverage useful data associated with their identity. This combined approach to data management ensures better recommendations; contributes to the development of relevant products; and provides real prerequisites for true personalisation.

This  data-driven strategy is the key component across the marketer’s entire business because it helps organisations to support and manage online and offline customer relationship building,enhancing engagement, building long-term loyalty and – ultimately – profitability.

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