When it comes to handling customer data, the list of acronyms for what analysts, product specialists and marketers need is growing—CDP, DMP, CDI … the list goes on. While each tool and category differs, they all have one thing in common: they integrate customer data. 

    That means, instead of using tools ad hoc, there's a formal plan—and the right infrastructure—for the centralization and distribution of customer data to various teams and tools. 

    The Case for Integrating Customer Data

    When using a tool (you know, like MetaRouter) to integrate customer data, the platform collects user events from your website or app and routes them to one or multiple third-party tools, which often includes aggregating data in a data warehouse for storage and in-depth analysis. The platform can be set up with a single snippet (using analytics.js) for all event tracking in conjunction with setting up standard event calls. After that initial setup, analysts can add and remove tools through a UI, without requiring additional dev time or losing data.

    In other words, a great CDI takes care of the difficult and time-consuming marketing/analytics integration and tracking process for you, so you and your team can spend more time actioning your data and less time wrangling it.

    So how does a CDI work with third-party MarTech tools?

    For the sake of example, we’re going to walk through the advantage of using the tool we know best, MetaRouter, to integrate with your third-party marketing tech tools. For analysts who set up MetaRouter, one UI becomes the pipeline through which all the data flows, making it much easier to extract data from a website and mobile apps and push that customer data into third-party tools.

    Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 1.51.30 PM

    *Visualize total event volume in real time within the UI

    Normally, each new analytics tool requires hours of engineering work to set up in order to make sure it’s extracting the right data. With MetaRouter, marketers can accomplish the connection in seconds. Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 1.51.43 PM-1

    *Point and click connections to see events in real time and configure pipelines

    By setting up MetaRouter one time, the data flows through a single pipeline that enables teams to plug, play, test, and switch any tool—all in one place.

    The need for portability and historical data

    Besides having the option to try new tools quickly, a CDI offers transportable data. This mobility of first-party customer data is critical for marketing analysts because when the time comes to test or switch tools, marketers often find out the hard way that their historical data is stuck within a previous tool, and switching means losing it all.

    With continual event tracking, including data warehousing, that problem disappears. Say you're using Amazon S3. As data flows through a tool like MetaRouter, it gets syndicated to other tools like Mixpanel AND it gets sent to S3. From there, you can easily import historical data into Mixpanel or anywhere else. Each team can stay up to date with the newest best-in-class technology and feel confident that they’re making insightful decisions based on a full customer understanding. 

    The ability for marketers to import historical data into new tools and test them also decreases the cost of implementation. This is a savings can only be realized if your data is accessible via a unified spec/structure that can be used across multiple tools (like analytics.js).

    Let's drill this down to benefits: 

    In case you're skimming, here are three good reasons to integrate your customer data with a tool like a CDI:

    • A unified spec allows marketers to send any data to multiple destinations, with accuracy. If/when you eventually want to switch or add tools, you don’t have to rewrite code or add new browser tags.
    • While a CDI is not comparable to a tag manager, it does act as an agnostic tag manager that allows your marketing team to install pixels in a few clicks without technical support.
    • A CDI enables you to build a history of data that you control.

    It's difficult to select best-in-class BI and analytics tools out of the gate. It's difficult to foresee the events that you'll want to have tracked for a new tool. And, over time, some tools you choose may become obsolete, so you'll add more and regularly test. Even if you only have a tool or two right now, implementing the right infrastructural framework will mean you’re poised to grow. 

    In a nutshell, a CDI is a proper foundation for a long-term, scalable, flexible, and proven customer data tracking plan. 

    Ready to see for yourself if integrating customer data makes sense for your business? Try MetaRouter Cloud, a simple SaaS solution, free for 30 days. 

    Photo by Jonas Svidras on Unsplash

    Preston Ketchum

    Written by Preston Ketchum