What is a customer data hub?
A customer data hub (CDH) is a unified, persistent database for storing your customer data. Customer data can be identity data (such as name, email address), behavioral data (such as email sign-ups, page views, or user actions), transactional data (such as purchase history), or qualitative data (like customer reviews or feedback). The idea is to centralize all data in a single place, so you can get a 360-degree holistic view of your customers.
A CDH is built to handle fragmented information across multiple production systems, monitor customer behaviors across different products, and make smart decisions based on each customer journey. To have an instant, unified view of a customer before or after he/she purchases a product is pivotal for a marketer to identify high-value prospects, optimize campaigns, and predict revenue.
In summary, a CDH can help you
- Improve efficiency in operations
- Breakdown data silos, so data can be accessed by everyone
- Analyze customer journey and get a 360-degree view of your customers
- Build lookalike models to find potential customers
What are the CDHs on the market?
Spreadsheets, such as Excel or Google Sheets, are a simple and convenient way to store your customer data. However, they are not scalable. An Excel sheet, for example, can only store at most 1 million records. Additionally, data in spreadsheets can only be updated manually. This can be problematic when your business data grows in size and frequencies. Supporting dashboards and applications on spreadsheets can be difficult.
CRM software, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho, focus on business relationships and sales records. They are primarily used for storing non-anonymous customer data and supporting sales activities. Being an interface that supports salespeople, they can lack critical functions in data processing and modeling. When it comes to large data feeds that update in real-time, CRM software can be very restricting.
Customer Data Platforms (CDP)
CDP, such as Segment, can connect to various third-party apps and incorporate data into a unified format. Unlike CRM software, it can store anonymous customer data. However, these platforms generally do not host a server, so you need a database to store the integrated data. Moreover, their pricing is usually based on the number of customers. That is, if the size of your customer base is large, the billing can be costly.
Cloud data management platforms
Cloud data management platforms, such as Acho, can store data from various sources and process large amounts of data blazingly fast with cloud computing. This is particularly helpful when your records are larger data files or they frequently update every day.
Like a CDP, a Cloud-based data management platform can connect to many different databases and third-party apps, but they can also store other data types, such as financial or inventory data. Since a data management platform is designed to manage data, it will offer a lineup of data cleaning and data analysis functionalities. This is very helpful when your data is raw and needs transformations prior to supporting any business applications.
In addition, many database management systems such as Acho have feature-based pricing plans that do not charge against usage. If your business has millions of records, it would make a lot more economic sense to go with a feature-based pricing subscription as opposed to usage-based plans.
How to build a CDH?
Now, I will use Acho to demonstrate how to build a CDH within a few minutes.
1. Connect to your customer data
First, connect your existing data. In this example, I connect to a MySQL database, HubSpot, and Stripe to obtain user behavior data, CRM data, transactional data. Each integration comes with a different set of tables. To see what's different, you can go to the integration page to check it out.
2. Combine data from different sources
Once you have data connected to Acho Studio, you can start building your CDP in an Acho project. You can access tables from different sources within the project and combine them through the Join action. To combine tables, you have to define the key columns that are used to identify individual customers across various data sources. They can be customer IDs, names, email addresses, or anything helpful to recognize identity.
* Small tips: once you combine all tables into a single table, you can hide those unnecessary tables to make your project cleaner.
3. Set up a scheduler to retrieve the latest data
If your data is from databases or third-party apps, you can set up Data Sync to update data automatically.
What can you do once you have a CDH?
Create a real-time report table
When exploring your datasets, you can use the built-in actions, such as filter, pivot table, SQL editor, to perform analysis and track numbers in real-time. For example, you can use the CDP to create a daily summary report to examine customer acquisition performance.
Inspect the behavior of an individual customer
Businesses make efforts to customize marketing content or services for each customer. Sometimes they have to take a close look at an individual customer’s behavior to grasp deeper insights. For example, how often does the customer come back? What kind of product does he/she buy? How much does he/her spend on average? You can answer these questions by using Visual Panel to create a dashboard and use a filter action to search for a specific customer.
Share the data or report with others
One of the advantages that Customer Data Hub brings is to break down the data silos. CDP centralizes all data sources in a single place, and thus data is not held by a few people anymore. You can share your data with others and allow them to do their analysis.
Hope this article helps. Contact us in the chatbox if you have any questions.