How to Choose the Right CDP for You

How To Choose The Right CDP For You
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To choose the right CDP, you should:

  1. Establish a working team
  2. Define your needs
  3. Gather requirements
  4. Know vendor’s DNA
  5. Roles, skills and processes

Why Do Marketers Need CDPs?

Customer data platforms (CDPs) are quickly becoming the gold standard in centralized customer data management for the enterprise. They are much broader in application than data management platforms (DMPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. CDPs allow organizations to ingest, combine and unify customer data from multiple disparate silos so it can be activated for use in omnichannel marketing campaigns.

Deploying a CDP is not as simple as installing a personalization package to work with your content management system (CMS) or setting-up a niche SaaS application. Customer data platforms are infrastructure, like your CMS. Picking the right CDP for your industry, organization and applications is critical to achieving success and recognizing ROI from the effort.

The right customer data platform can improve the efficacy and efficiency of your data-driven marketing campaigns, and its benefits can be leveraged across the enterprise and beyond marketing with groups like sales and customer service. If you rush into the decision and choose the wrong platform for your needs, or one that doesn’t scale, replacing a technology infrastructure decision is no small undertaking. We recommend taking the time to make sure the vendors you are talking to have experience in your industry and that their platform is right for your distinct applications.

With the right CDP, your company can get an in-depth, 360-degree view of your customers across all touchpoints. You can create higher-performing data-driven marketing campaigns and target your customers with personalized messaging and communications to improve loyalty and retention. CDPs help companies deliver a superior customer experience (CX). Since customer data platforms manage first-party data centrally, they enable you to stay in compliance with emerging data privacy regulations, as well as improve the efficiency of your marketing operations.

Five Things to Consider When Choosing the Right CDP

  1. Establishing a Working Team

Who are your stakeholders? A CDP ingests data from across the organization, so engage the teams that already collect customer data. You will probably need data from a CRM system, maybe even a DMP. So, ensure you have stakeholders from the sales and advertising teams. Of course, you will be working with your internal IT team in some capacity, and most likely your customer service team has some data you will need too. Keep in mind many of these groups, like your call center, will benefit from a CDP, so it’s important to communicate the CDP’s value across your organization.

  1. Defining Your Needs

What are your primary use cases? What are you really looking for a CDP to accomplish? Talk to your stakeholders and make sure you address their needs as well as yours. Delivering value across the organization will make getting compliance much easier. It’s always a good idea to model against simple use cases, maybe two to three to start with, so you don’t get overwhelmed by trying to boil the ocean. Are you primarily looking to personalize the digital customer experience to drive higher loyalty? Or is data privacy management your main concern?

More: Top 6 CDP Use Cases and How to Develop Them

  1. Gathering Requirements

Your use cases will lead you towards the features and functionality you need in a CDP to meet your goals and objectives. During this process you want to define prioritization of requirements, to ensure you can address your primary use cases out of the box without extensive modifications. Make sure you engage your stakeholders to gather their specific needs as well. It is smart when working on any cross-organizational project, like infrastructure software installation, to make all relevant groups feel they are being heard in the process.  

  1. What Is the Vendor’s DNA?

Your CDP use cases and requirements will help provide a roadmap to what types of vendors you will be looking at. It’s important to know that not all CDPs, or CDP vendors, are native, meaning they are not all purpose-built for use as a central data management platform. As you think about your needs, it’s important to realize that some CDPs were purpose-built for enterprise-grade use cases and global omnichannel campaigns, while others evolved out of tag management solutions or portals and have more limited functionality. To future-proof your CDP as much as possible and ensure it evolves along with your tech stack, a CDP should be built from the ground up.

  1. Roles, Skills and Processes

You don’t have to wait until your CDP deployment is complete to identify the right people, skills, and processes you’ll need to ensure you can leverage the CDP for ROI. First you will need digital marketing and marketing technology professionals to run the CDP and use its insights to optimize campaigns. Next, you need data scientist and data analyst roles to evaluate, integrate and manage data. Finally IT professionals will not only help to do the initial set up and integrations, but continue to support the platform on an ongoing basis for further integrations and campaign customization.  

Next Steps

Spending time to do a thorough due-diligence on your potential customer data platform and its corresponding vendor will save you many headaches down the road if you choose the wrong fit. Starting with use cases and requirements is a necessary step, but they don’t tell you about the more intangible qualities of what support a vendor can provide. Really look at the clients, executions, and the history of the CDP vendor you are reviewing. Finally when you have done your research, the best place to start is with a pilot program. Look for low-hanging fruit opportunities of simple use-cases to model against, like an outbound email marketing campaign. 

Find out more about the CDP Industry on our CDP Industry Studies page.

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