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40 Customer Data Management Terms

40 Customer Data Management Terms

When diving into the realm of customer data management (CDM), one can feel like they’ve been thrown into a jargon labyrinth without a map. If you’re new to this arena, acronyms, and technical vernacular might leave you bewildered. But here’s the thing—the more you immerse yourself, the more these terms will shape your understanding, opening new avenues in your knowledge of customer-centric strategies. Let’s break down these terms and grow your command over the data language that drives modern business similar to business analytics terms.

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As you journey through this glossary, you’ll realize that each term weaves into the rich tapestry of data collection, analysis, and application. Together, we’ll decipher how they meld to create a customer experience that’s not just personalized but anticipatory, responsive, and focused—just what your audience craves.

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The Language of Customer Data: 40 Essential Terms

Ready to decipher the data dialect? Let’s get started with our list of 40 indispensable terms in the world of CDM:

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1. Big Data

‘Big’ does not do justice to the colossal amounts of data we currently deal with. This includes all structured and unstructured data that flows into a business daily. Think purchase data, customer reviews, social media footprints, and more.

2. Data Mining

Akin to finding diamonds, data mining is the process of sifting through large datasets to unearth patterns and correlations that can inform business strategy and decision-making.

3. Data Aggregator

A tool or company that collects and compiles data from various sources for analysis. This can help in getting a holistic view of customer preferences and behaviors.

4. Data Cleansing

Like giving data a long-overdue bath, this is the process of detecting and correcting corrupt or inaccurate records to ensure data integrity.

5. Data Enrichment

This involves enhancing a dataset with new, valuable attributes. For instance, adding demographic data to make customer profiles richer.

6. Data Governance

The overall management of data availability, usability, integrity, and security in an enterprise.

7. Data Integration

Merging data from multiple sources into a single, unified view. This is pivotal for businesses that house data across different platforms.

8. Data Lake

A repository for raw, unstructured data that is waiting to be processed and utilized. The key is its flexibility and scalability.

9. Data Mart

A structured data repository designed to facilitate business analytics. It’s more focused and can serve specific groups or departments within an organization.



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10. Data Masking

A method of creating a structurally similar but inauthentic version of an organization’s data that can be used for purposes such as software testing and user training.

11. Data Quality

Assessment and measurement of the fitness of data for its intended use in operations, decision-making, and planning.

12. Data Silo

A standalone database or data set that isn’t connected to other systems or accessible by multiple departments. Silos hinder information sharing and collaboration.

13. Data Steward

An individual accountable for the overseeing of specific data and its lifecycle within the organization.

14. Data Warehouse

A central repository of integrated data from one or more disparate sources. It serves as a storage and access point for large datasets used for reporting and analysis.

15. Customer Information File (CIF)

A central resource that consolidates a customer’s data and history in a single location.

16. Data Modelling

Creating a data model that either represents the content of data (semantic), the mapping process, or the way data flows within a system (physical).

17. Data Retention

A data management policy dictating the duration for which data should be stored, and how frequently it’s accessed or used.

18. Data Discovery

The initial phase of data analysis wherein understanding the type, style and potential use of the data occurs.

19. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A strategy and technology for managing a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. It analyses data about customers’ history with a company to improve business relationships, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.

20. Entity

A single person or unit about which data is stored. In CDM, ‘entity’ refers to anything with an independent existence.

21. ETL (Extract, Transform, Load)

A process in database usage and especially in data warehousing that combines data from multiple sources, reforms, cleanses, and then loads them into the data warehouse.

22. Normalization

Organizing data elements in a way that reduces data redundancy and improves data integrity, thus simplifying database management.

23. Denormalization

An optimization technique for relational databases to increase performance by adding redundant data.

24. Master Data Management (MDM)

A method of managing the entire data of an organization such as customer, product, employee, at the enterprise level, aggregating across all business applications.



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25. Data Pipeline

A series of data processing elements in which output of one element is the input of the next.  Moreover, sales pipelines are invaluable for handling large batches and stream processing.

26. Data Visualisation

The representation of data in a way that it can be easily understood at a glance. Tools like graphs, charts, maps, and infographics make it easier to spot trends and patterns.

27. In-Memory Database

A database management system that primarily relies on main memory to perform operations.

28. NoSQL

Databases that can handle a variety of data models, and which are schema-less or have relaxed schemas.

29. OLAP (Online Analytical Processing)

Computing that enables a user to easily and selectively extract and view data from different points of view.

30. Overfitting

A modeling error where the model is too complex and fits the training data too well, but does not generalize well to new data.

31. Persistent Object

An object that is able to survive the execution of the program during which it was created.

32. Query Language

A language used to make queries or requests for information from a database or API.

33. Record

A collection of fields, possibly of different data types similar to data mining, typically in a fixed number and sequence.

34. Schema

The description of the structure of a database, independent of the actual data stored in the database.

35. Swagger

An open-source software framework backed by a large ecosystem of tools that helps developers design, build, document, and consume RESTful web services.

36. Transaction

A unit of work performed within a database management system against a database.

37. Unstructured Data

Data that does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a pre-defined manner.

38. API (Application Programming Interface)

A set of rules and protocols for building and interacting with software applications.

39. Delta Lake

An open-source storage layer that brings reliability to data lakes.

40. Customer Data Platform (CDP)

A marketing system that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing and other channels to provide a persistent, unified view of the consumer across all touchpoints.

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Conclusion: The Power of CDM

Incorporating these terms into your CDM vocabulary is not just about speaking the language of data; it’s about harnessing the power that understanding brings. Each term represents a building block in the construction of a customer-centric business. When utilized effectively, they can pave the way for deeper insights, stronger customer connections, and ultimately, business growth.

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Embrace the learning journey that CDM offers. With each new term, you’re one step closer to unlocking the potential of your customer data and translating it into strategies that resonate with real people. The dedication to continuous learning will ensure that you remain at the forefront of the data revolution, shaping your industry and cultivating a brand that truly understands and serves its customers.

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