Customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged as a revolutionary technology to empower and expedite the digital transformation of enterprises.
If done right; it can be leveraged as the heart of the company's entire marketing technology stack.
This blog helps enterprises choose the right CDP to ensure success and boost revenue.
Types of CDPs
As CDPs continue to mark its successful presence in real-world applications, the CDP Institute has created a new grouping for overall CDP packages.
It might be possible that some CDPs may not fall into one category only but into several others also. Currently, it is classified into three categories-
- Access CDP
Access CDPs consist of the minimum qualities of a CDP. it absorbs customer data from several different sources followed by its integration & link to customer profiles.
The integrated data and profiles saved in a persistent database are readily available to external martech systems.
These CDPs emphasize data management and unification; thereby organizations looking typically for data management and not advanced non-data functionality can implement Access CDPs as an adequate solution.
- Analytic CDP
The second type of CDP is Analytic CDP. it encompasses data management functionality and profile unification capabilities like Access CDPs but with additional analytical and visualization features.
Analytic CDPs are capable of doing advanced customer segmentation as well as utilizing machine learning to perform predictive segmentation.
- Campaign CDP
Campaign CDPs are all-inclusive systems that provide fundamental, intermediate, and advanced features as well ranging from data management, expanded analytical & visualization features, to built-in orchestration and activation capabilities.
Other additional features of Campaign CDPs include content management and orchestration for personalized messaging, real-time interactions, or product recommendations.
Factors to Consider While Choosing the Right CDP
Here are some of the factors to consider when determining the CDP for your business-
- Track people & cookies across all devices
CDPs should ensure that you learn about both anonymous and loyal customers through it. Ensure that they contain web and mobile SDKs to collect event data and maintain identity-based (email, user names, etc.) and cookie-based (browser cookies, IDFA, etc.) tracking.
- All your customer journeys in one place
Customer records and information should help you give insights on your campaigns’ success or failure. CDPs should be able to obtain and retain data from many sources, no matter how you expand.
It should be flexible enough to allow data unification, segmentation, and activation.
- Integrate customer data across platforms
CDPs create Master Audience Profiles (MAP) by unifying data from multiple sources for smooth cross-channel campaign management (CCCM).
That’s why it’s of great importance to ask each vendor if they integrate the apps and marketing automation platforms you already use or want to use.
- Secure & compliant
If your customers trust you with their data, it is your responsibility to take security as your top priority while choosing CDPs. Make sure the vendors are certified by relevant institutions and implement the latest best practices.
- Manage cross-channel campaigns
Managing marketing programs on several touchpoints across multiple platforms is a new normal for modern marketers to gain valuable insights on customers.
Make sure your CDP is scalable enough to support increasingly complex customer journeys.
- Reduce or eliminate IT dependence
The IT team is always occupied with loads of work already. Instead of being dependent on them for getting access to the data you need, own, and act on your data today. An authorized user in the enterprise should be capable of accessing and managing customer data without IT.
- Access raw & unfiltered data
To unveil key moments in your customer journeys, you should have access to raw, unfiltered data.
CDPs should support raw data access through GUI, API, or SQL.
Steps to Follow For Choosing the Right CDP
Finding the right CDP for your enterprise is not as simple as it sounds. Besides, there are multiple options to choose from! That’s why we have put together this guide to help you easily identify the best CDP for your company.
- Bring stakeholders into the process
Even before you decide to evaluate various options for CDPs, get your internal stakeholders as active participants in the process. The CDP that you’ll shortlist will fetch data from different departments within the organization, thus everyone should be involved in it.
Having said so, the question is that who else will collect data that your CDP will handle?
Well, there is a high possibility that your sales team’s CRM data will be needed by CDP for accessing it and using it for multiple purposes. Also, your customer success team uses tools that handle customer data.
Given this, stakeholders from sales and customer success teams must be part of this process.
Though you don’t need each stakeholder individually evaluating every CDP option, you should, however, consider their inputs on various parts of the buying process. Say the least, talk to each stakeholder, and let them know why you are interested in purchasing a CDP and what you are hoping to get out of it.
- Define use cases
What are the objectives that you want to achieve through CDP? Are you looking for unifying customer data for better user experience, smarter marketing campaigns driven by real user behavior? A centralized hub where your MarTech tools can fetch from and feed into one unified data source?
Research CDPs by keeping your goals in mind and accordingly prepare a list of vendors you think will be the best fit for your organization.
If you are not sure of your requirements, spend some time on web research and you’ll be able to compile a list of requirements and descriptions of similar projects that can be used to scan and extract requirements.
At this stage, your requirements need not include specific technical details; you’re just looking for a complete list of functions that the system will be expected to perform.
- Assess vendors
The right way to screen vendors who can meet your needs is to focus on your own specific needs.
When possible, define use cases you want them to demonstrate, such as unifying data across multiple sources, setting up a marketing campaign, and give complete insight on customers’ profiles.
This would provide a clearer picture of what it would be like to work with the system in your situation. It also makes it easier to find and compare relevant differences between systems, as well as compelling vendors to reveal weak spots which otherwise they might skip over.
Utilize this opportunity to enhance your knowledge by having each vendor explain the technical approaches used in each system. This will let you understand the intricacies of the product which may put a big impact ultimately on how well the system works for you.
- Make a choice
Once you have assessed vendors, you will need to make a choice. Don’t rush into this; take as much time you need to gather all necessary information for a sound decision.
While some buyers use a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) and others don’t; either way, you’ll need to create a comprehensive set of questions for the vendors to answer. You’ll also need to give each vendor an accurate picture of your expected implementation so that they can estimate costs and deployment efforts.
Additionally, many buyers today prefer proof of concept or pilot project before signing a contract. You might pay some amount for this but this is a practical option since CDPs are designed for easy deployment. In fact, the inability to deliver a proof of concept rapidly at a reasonable cost should be cause for concern.
- Make it work
Buying a CDP is just the first step of your project. The further steps involve the identification of data sources, processes, applications, and users for your selection process to ensure availability when deployment begins.
Work in stages to experience some early success and gradually expand the use of the system. So, get started to meet your needs.
Though it is a rigorous process to follow, however, understand that a CDP is not just another martech solution but rather an enterprise tool that can improve business processes significantly and help enterprises achieve real-time, hyper-personalized customer engagement to drive revenue.
A carefully-made investment in a CDP with the above guidelines in mind can definitely help businesses successfully operate at the speed of the customer and meet or exceed the business goals swiftly.