Do You Need a CDP? | The Sterling Woods Group

As marketers collect more and more data, managing and integrating it all has become increasingly difficult. The need to streamline all the pieces and parts to make informed decisions based on all data points, rather than a select few, is clear. Enter CDPs.

Customer Data Platforms collect user data from multiple channels and match it all together. They can follow and identify a single person and track how they interact with your brand both online and offline.

CDPs see detailed browsing history on both web and mobile, interaction with social channels, phone calls, emails, and chats. Those details are then stored in a single database for your team’s use. CDPs make it easier to track your customer’s entire journey, rather than focusing on just one segment of it.

CDPs can empower you to do a lot of good for your business. These are six areas where CDPs can be especially helpful. If you’re trying to do any of the following within your organization, a CDP might be the right solution for you.

1. You Want to Launch New Products

Here’s an easy formula for successful new product development: Find out what they want, go out and get it, then give it to them!

The main benefit to CDP implementation is that it allows you to better “find out what they want,”  i.e., understand your best customer’s true needs. 

To that end, the first step to take with this data is to identify your whales and learn more about their behavior. Whales are your most enthusiastic customers, so you’ll want to understand how they interact with your brand. Find the channels they prefer, the email campaigns they most respond to, and the on-site offers they engage with, and lean into that. 

CDPs also provide you the opportunity to really hone in on what value proposition would best resonate with your whales—again, discover what they truly want. Once you understand what it is about your business that gets your whales really excited, you can fine tune your products and services as well as the messaging around them. Create a clear call to action that articulates what it is you do, and keep an eye on the data coming from the CDP to see how users are reacting to the way you present that value proposition.

2. You Want to Find New Prospects More Efficiently

One of the key advantages of a CDP over older data collection tools, like client relationship management or data management platforms, is that the information you collect is highly personalized to each user and owned by your marketing team. CDP data is first party data. This means your marketers have full access to detailed information about current users, and they can put that information to work in addressing specific prospects.

If you have granular data on your current users, you can plan your advertising approach to seek out similar prospects. The big players in online advertising, like Google and Facebook, allow you to target your ads at specific users based on attributes like their age, location, interests, and behaviors. With that technology, you can direct your ad spend at the segments of the population most similar to your existing customer base.

3. You Want to Convert More Prospects

Which channels are most effective in reaching your current user base? Which call to action on your website resulted in the most conversions? How do prospects move across your channels?

When you understand this kind of information, you can use it to tailor your approach to converting prospects. All of this information can help you to formulate the content of your marketing campaigns and the associated user journeys. Once the campaigns are up and running, you can track performance across various channels and apply your own attribution rules.

4. You Want to Enhance the Customer Experience (and Improve Retention)

Once you’ve acquired a new customer, your job is far from over. You need to continue to prove your value to maintain that relationship.

According to a survey from, 87 percent of all users in the U.S. compare every brand interaction to the treatment they receive from the best and biggest brands around, like Netflix, Starbucks, and Amazon. This means that they won’t tolerate general messaging, misunderstandings regarding how they’ve interacted with your brand in the past, or content that is repetitive.

The information you gather through a CDP allows you to personalize each user’s experience. You can present landing pages with different content to different users based on their traits or prior brand interaction. You can also send highly segmented emails to customers based on subscription status (basic versus premium, active versus lapsed) or send targeted offers to those who have exhibited specific behavior.

5. You Want to Move Your Customers Up the Pyramid

So, you’ve identified your potential whales and have hooked them with a compelling value proposition. Now it’s your job to move them up to the top of your product pyramid. You can do this by analyzing the data on your current product offerings at each level of the pyramid.

Maybe you’ve noticed there’s a specific level of your pyramid where customers drop off. Go back and see what you can learn about those users. If they’re interacting with your company through your mobile app, but you’re targeting them with pop-up offers on your website, they might not even be seeing this messaging. You must meet your customers where they are in order to ensure the highest possible success rate for yourself.

6. You Want to Spend Time and Budgets More Effectively

Just as valuable as finding prospects and nurturing customers is knowing where you shouldn’t spend your time and energy. Some people will never convert, and some customers will never move beyond the basic subscription model. Having detailed information on these users’ attributes and behaviors will allow you to avoid focusing your efforts on similar people in the future, who are unlikely to generate any real revenue for your business.

As CDPs gather more information on your user base, they can provide information about the likelihood of a given individual to engage, buy, churn, and convert. They can also supply insight into a customer’s lifetime value. That makes you better equipped to understand if they’re a potential whale or just a regular old fish.

The sheer amount of data collected across analytics platforms would be overwhelming for a human to analyze on their own. CDPs empower marketers to gather the data in one place and easily understand information about their users.

This wealth of data helps marketers find new customers and enhance their relationships with existing ones. Having this information at their fingertips means marketers can be smart about where they spend their time and money. From there, they can generate the greatest revenue with little wasted effort.

If this all sounds good to you, check out our article on selecting the right CDP for your business and the five moves that make or break CDP implementation to learn more about what it would take to bring a CDP on board at your organization.

About The Sterling Woods Group, LLC

The Sterling Woods Group’s mission is to help clients make sense of their data to predictably grow sales. We apply data science to help you optimize your sales funnel, improve your marketing ROI, launch new products successfully, and enter new markets profitably.

We use a hypothesis-driven, data-supported methodology to discover insights that no one else is paying attention to. Then, we help you assemble the right sales strategies, marketing plans, technologies, and resources to seize this opportunity.

About the Author

Rob Ristagno, founder and CEO of the Sterling Woods Group, previously served as a senior executive at several digital media and e-commerce businesses, including as COO of America’s Test Kitchen. Starting his career at McKinsey, his focus has always been on embracing digital technology and data science to spur strategic growth.

Rob is the author of A Member is Worth a Thousand Visitors and is a regular keynote speaker at conferences around the world. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Digiday.

He holds degrees from the Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College and has taught at both Harvard and Boston College.

Rob lives outside Boston, MA with his wife, Kate; daughter, Leni; and black lab, Royce.

Receive our Research Alerts


Starting with segmentation leads to better products, better marketing, better growth, and better businesses. Sign up to receive our customer segmentation series of blog posts, as well as periodic Research Alerts on segmentation-related topics.

* indicates required

By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to receive emails from us. We promise not to spam you, and we don’t sell the list. Here’s our privacy policy.