Customer engagement is essential for business success. But in an era where audiences are spread across more channels than ever before, how do you boost engagement with your customers in an efficient and effective way?

Technology plays a key role in helping you understand and communicate with your customers in the right way, at the right time. CRM, CEM, CDP, DMP and many others – there seems to be a myriad of abbreviations. Solutions often represent a combination and varied flavor of these generic categories – and it’s no different with BD4. But how do you cut through the noise and find the right one for your business? We reviewed the top terms you need to know to create an effective customer engagement strategy, including:

CRM – Customer Relationship Management
CEM – Customer Experience Manager
CDP – Customer Data Platform
DMP – Data Management Platform

What does CRM stand for?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a process – often software – that helps a business or an organization engage with customers.

CRM systems compile, store and analyze data from a variety of sources. These sources are usually communication channels such as a company’s website, email, social media, live chat and telephone calls. In the majority of cases CRM systems store, provide and analyze purchasing data. Examples of CRM systems include Hubspot and Salesforce.

Suitable for prospecting potential leads and customers, engaging with present customers and reactivating past customers, CRM helps businesses learn more about their audiences.

According to Gartner, Customer Relationship Management is “a business strategy that optimizes revenue and profitability, while promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty…CRM software provides functionality to companies in four segments: sales, marketing, customer service and digital commerce.”

CRMs can facilitate deeper customer relationships by helping companies devise meaningful direct contact with customers. It’s a strategic approach that utilizes information from your customers to understand consumer patterns and trends, and guide you on how best to apply learnings to engage with customers. However, this can be a time-consuming process: CRMs usually offer past – not real-time or live – information, and aren’t able to provide automated behavioral data analysis. This means they’re not able to drive real-time personalization, and miss connecting with anonymous users.

What does CEM mean and how can it boost engagement with customers?

CEM – sometimes known as CXM – stands for Customer Experience Management. It is not the same as CRM; in fact, the two can work in tandem if both systems allow.

CEM is best defined as the process that companies use to oversee and track all interactions with a customer during their relationship. It can be said that CEM takes a more proactive approach to customers – its focus is on improving their experience, whilst CRM focuses more on managing data about your customers. CEM involves “deploying strategic plans that improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

While CRM is commonly used as a short-hand for customer database style software, CEM is very much about the experience – how a company can build consumer experiences using technology, brand management, staff and other resources.

For CEM to be successful, companies need to take a holistic approach to their customers, managing interactions and transactions with a view to creating a long term customer journey. Presenting the most relevant content and messaging for each customer, at the right time, is the most productive way to do this.

Customer Experience Management helps companies anticipate customer needs, boosting engagement with customers. It should be led by the customer’s voice – listened to via staff observations and engagements, behavioral user data from technology touchpoints, customer surveys or other research.

Whilst benefiting the customer through an enhanced experience and creating a sense of alliance with the brand, CEM is a powerful tool to drive business growth, and customer acquisition and retention as it straddles customer service and sales objectives.

What does a Data Management Platform (DMP) do?

A DMP – or Data Management Platform – is software used for collecting and managing data. It allows businesses to identify and work with segments within a wider audience, providing context for advertising campaigns.

A CRM will hold the information and, depending on software capabilities, it should set actionable reminders and tasks to engage with customers. A DMP goes beyond a CRM; it doesn’t just collect and store data, but organizes it in a way that provides businesses a deep view of their customers. It can provide a holistic overview of each customer’s interactions with your brand; these insights can be used to create more meaningful interactions in the future.

Powerful DMPs call upon big data and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to process and analyze large data sets, pulled from multiple sources. Data stored on a DMP may have been gathered from first- or third-party details, and is usually used by marketing and sales professionals to target communications.

DMPs are essential for creating segments and targeting specific audiences. They can be used in a number of ways:

  • Advertising: allowing contextual advertising, targeted to interests
  • User profiling: manual or automated user profiles can be created and used to understand commonalities amongst a company’s customers
  • Look-alike modeling: identifying new clients who behave in similar ways or share similar traits to current customers
  • Business insights: analysis within a DMP – as well as supplementing CRM systems – provides deep understanding of customers
  • Content and product recommendations: a DMP allows businesses to provide tailored recommendations, bespoke to each online user. This provides a personalized experience, a pillar of any good CEM strategy.


Is a CDP the same as a DMP?

A CDP – or Customer Data Platform – takes a DMP to another level. They’re a great asset to drive your CEM strategy. While both CDPs and DMPs use data, they use different types of data.

DMPs often use third-party data and also collect anonymous digital data, while CDPs primarily use first-party data that can be tied to an identifiable individual. CDPs allow businesses to deliver more personalized content to users.

Customer Data Platforms work with data gathered from:

  • Behavioral user data: browsing and actions on a website or an app
  • Transactions: purchases and returns, including data from an instore POS terminal
  • Customer attributes: age, gender, birthday, purchase history and more combine for more accurate customer predictions
  • Campaigns: engagement with marketing campaigns
  • Customer service history: interactions with customer service teams, surveys and chatbots

CDPs use sophisticated cleansing and matching algorithms to create a unified customer database. They are continuously updating and can use artificial intelligence to predict customer needs. By producing a single view of each individual anonymous and known user, CDPs allow customers to be treated as individuals, not segments.

Creating engagement with customers doesn’t need to be a time consuming activity for sales and marketing teams. Using technology to assist with a CEM strategy – such as an intuitive CDP – allows businesses to utilize the myriad of data available to them and connect with customers in an automated and meaningful way.

How AI solutions help your business improve customer engagement

Created specifically for travel and retail companies, BD4’s AI-driven real-time profiling and decisioning platform harnesses the best practices from a variety of platform categories to provide our clients’ users with a uniquely personalized experience.

With our advanced AI technology, we enable ecommerce businesses to communicate with digital users in real-time – optimizing content (including products, offers, imagery and text) to form meaningful connections and enhance customer loyalty.

Discover how BD4 can help your business engage with customers by booking a demo with our team.

Get a demo here