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CRM vs CDP - Benefits and Use Cases

Updated: Apr 2

Why Sports and Entertainment Brands Must Implement a CDP - All You Need to Know

A Customer Data Platform, or CDP, is a software solution that collates user data from multiple channels (website, transactions, social etc.) and tools (Google Analytics, cookies, etc.) to create a unified, single customer view.

The CDP acts as a centralized customer database that stores the information of all the touch-points and interactions a customer has had with a brand and then generates business insights from this data. These insights can then be used to create hyper-personalised marketing campaigns for each user.

A sports fan, for example, is going to actively interact with the brand multiple times over time. They will check their website for tickets, watch match highlights on their YouTube channel, chat via Facebook messenger for merchandise, attend a live match, like their Instagram posts, and so on.

These interactions are happening between the same user and brand but on different platforms. Without a CDP, this data is stored in standalone silos within the analytics system of each individual platform. A CDP integrates with all of these channels and collates the user's data (demographics, product interactions, customer support data, marketing data, app interactions, behavior, etc.) onto one centralised location. The marketing and sales teams then have a complete customer profile of their fan that they can use to create personalised marketing campaigns to increase engagement and sales when they run campaigns for the club.

How is a CDP Different from a CRM?

A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a solution for managing all of a brand's customer relationships and interactions in one location. The purpose of a CRM is to improve business-customer relationships.

This sounds familiar to a CDP, and businesses often get confused about which one to implement.

CDP and Sports CRM

In simple words, a CRM collects user data and stores them in one place to help improve internal processes that affect customer relationships. For example, a CRM will maintain all email transaction data in one place, so the sales team knows what conversations have occurred and how to proceed nurturing the client. The primary focus here is the sales and support team - to give them the data needed to better serve customers.

A CDP, on the other hand, collates analytics, data like website pages visited, product clicks, tickets purchased, events attended, Instagram posts engaged with, and so on. This data helps the marketing team create more personalized content to increase engagement.

While there is definitely an overlap - marketing teams also use CRMs, and sales teams also use CDPs. In a generalised sense, CRMs are more aligned towards sales, and CDPs are more aligned towards marketing.

The Benefits of a CDP for Sports and Entertainment Brands

Puts fans at the center of decision making

Sports Marketing

72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are personalized to their interests. This makes sense considering the volume of brand messages a person is bombarded with in today's digital age. In fact, a clinical test found that an average person sees 4000 to 10,000 brand messages every single day!

For a brand to make an impact, they have to deliver personalized experiences, and for that, customer-specific data is required.

For example, when Swedish football club AIK decided to run a campaign to target supporters who purchased season tickets in 2018 but had not yet purchased them in 2019, they turned to their CDP to create personalised campaigns.

They decided to segment their audience and create specific content for each with a more personal tone of communication. A fan watching the game from the ultra-sector attends for the crowd experience - to chant and scream and celebrate. However, a supporter watching from the family section is probably looking to have a family moment and watch with their children. The way to convince these two supporters to buy a ticket is different, and a general email or ad will not work.

This is where a CDP and marketing automation together come into the picture. AIK was able to segment its audience based on which part of the stadium they preferred and then automate the process of running personalized emails for each. They managed to generate over €100,000 through this single campaign.

Identifies cross-sell and upsell opportunities

Sports Marketing

Knowing what products a customer has purchased or which events they have attended helps brands make better decisions when positioning other products and events. But what about the products and events customers are interested in but haven't yet purchased? It's important to analyse both sets of data - past purchases and current interests to predict future potential purchases.

And that's where a CDP comes in. A CDP does not just track conversions (like conventional analytics systems or a CRM) but also tracks real-time interactions to understand a user's interests. This allows it to create more focused segments, and these segments can be used for cross-selling and upsell campaigns. This data also improves the output of the recommendation engine making suggestions.

This is especially important for sporting brands. Since live events have a deadline and customers' interest in merchandise also peaks during the on-season, brands have to make the most of the limited window of opportunity and not just sell core products but also push cross-sells and upsells.

A CDP gives sporting brands the customer information they need to recognize high-quality buyers quickly so that upsell and cross-sell campaigns can be created and run on autopilot. Similar to a recommender system, a CDP analyses the products a customer has previously purchased and the products they have shown interest in (by viewing a sports event, visiting an online merchandise shop, checking the price of tickets, etc.), and helps the brand target the user with specific suggestions that they are most likely to purchase.

Helps nurture loyalty and increases repeat engagement

Fan Loyalty

A report by SmalBizGenius stated that 65% of a company's business comes from existing customers. The impact of loyalty is magnified for sporting brands. Emotions drive most purchases, and fans loyal to a sport or a team do not hesitate to make purchases, whether it is tickets to an event or for merchandise.

The challenge, however, is differentiating between four groups:

  • Loyal fans

  • Casual fans

  • Loyal fans losing interest

  • Casual fans gaining interest

It's evident that each group will not respond the same way to the same message. A loyal fan does not need much coaxing; an ad that says 'see you there' will sometimes do the job. However, a casual fan may need some push and discounts before they commit. A loyal fan turning casual needs to be engaged and nurtured so as to retain loyalty. And so on.

CDPs track user interactions at all times and, based on the frequency and level of engagement, can segment users into one of the four categories. Companies can then use this data to create personalized campaigns which generate much better ROI than running common campaigns for all users.

Helps increase operational efficiency and revenue

Sports Marketing

Implementing a CDP streamlines marketing and sales activities by giving each team a unified view of every single customer.

Without a CDP, customer interaction data is stored on standalone analytics solutions provided by different platforms. Web interactions are tracked by Google Analytics, Facebook interactions are tracked by Facebook analytics, and so on.

This results in teams moving back and forth between platforms when creating sales or marketing campaigns.

The availability of insights on one platform also helps teams collaborate in a more efficient way, saving time. The marketing team can use insights from sales activities to refine their ad campaigns, and vice versa.


Personalisation of service is extremely important for any brand doing business online. People have a plethora of options to get the products and services they want, and they always gravitate towards the brand that 'understands them.'

CDPs help sporting brands get the data they need to not only increase sales and revenue but also increase loyalty and engagement. Contact us for a free demo and see first-hand the impact a CDP can have on your business.


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