In recent weeks, the customer loyalty space has generated a lot of buzz around customer data platforms. Some vendors that may not be constructed around customer data have begun to call themselves CDPs, which has caused significant confusion in the industry. However, in a recent discussion with an executive at Winterberry Group, Loyalty360 learned that, at their core, CDPs offer customer data management. Companies that don’t offer this as their core service probably shouldn’t call themselves CDPs.
 
We also spoke with Abhi Yadav, CEO of Zylotech, to get his take on the CDP confusion. First, though, he wanted to set the record straight on what Zylotech actually does. He said, “We call ourselves AI-powered customer intelligence, a native, automated, data and decision platform, which primarily means that we ask how someone can automate the entire customer lifecycle. How can we do this in a bottom-up way while resolving IDs, getting information, saving both internal and external data, and generating analytic scores and metrics? We offer this all in real-time on a truly self-learning site.”
 
He continued, “We help you do better cross-sell, up-sell, and retention marketing. Helping you power your martech with real-time customer intelligence, which means the right data and decisions to power activation and your martech platform. We don’t do anything in the activation area, sending out email and some of that stuff, but we basically help you perform the next best action on a dynamic level.”
 
He also described some of the specifics of the Zylotech platform. “Once we deploy our system,” he said, “it keeps getting your data and your integrations and ties back to that relevant ID. So, for example, Mark Johnson is an ID, and you might have integrated with three data siloes, and more in the future. Our platform helps match information to that ID and enrich it further. So, there’s machine learning and an ID resolution part to our platform.”
 
These capabilities seem to put Zylotech squarely in the CDP category, but Yadav wanted to make it clear that his company differentiates itself in a number of ways. “The biggest value we add is more around helping clients with real-time contextual offers, right time, right place,” he said. “We help them do better cross-selling and upselling and increasing the lift. That’s our biggest buck for the money. We’ve seen the average revenue per customer go up, how the retention score gets better.”
 
He continued, “We measure churn score, which means the churn metrics. So, before Zylotech, it was X, and after that it was a bump of 10 percent, 20 percent, whatever. That’s one key KPI. The second one is the most usual, very common, the overall lift on the customer lifetime value. The third is the average revenue per customer going up. These are our top three KPIs, and besides that we have a data decay calculation. So, how much revenue are you losing if your data is stale? We created some frameworks around that too.”
 
When asked specifically how confusion around CDPs could be cleared up, Yadav said, “Anyone who touches customer data now is calling themselves CDP. It’s more and more important to educate and do subcategorization. It’s tricky. It’s challenging. You know, you have a tag management company who calls themselves a CDP and progressing that way, pivoting that way, is both good and bad. But, if there’s a way we could educate better, that would be great. I think that customers are getting mature really fast. I’ve never seen in my career customers graduating about CDP knowledge from zero to 70 in one year. So, the whole noise and overhypedness of CDPs is in some ways good, but it’s a frenzied category. So, more education is the only way we can solve this problem, even though it’s a little bit tricky because everyone’s definition of CDP is a little bit different.”
 
Yadav offered some happy news as a closing note. “We just closed with Amazon last week in an advanced-level partnership,” he said. “This is the first time they’re launching in their marketplace in CDP tracking and we’re one of their highlighted partners there. So, we’re trying to get there. Some of these major platforms are also now including some traditional as well as futuristic CDPs like us. So, we’re really excited about the partnership as a whole.”
 
Hopefully, Yadav’s thoughts on CDPs can help clear up the misunderstandings that are currently happening in the customer loyalty space. While it might not seem that important to know exactly what a CDP is, quite the opposite is in fact true. If a brand doesn’t know what capabilities a true CDP has, then it might decide to purchase services from a company that doesn’t specialize in customer data. This wouldn’t be a positive thing for anyone involved, so knowing what CDPs are is a necessity.   
 

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