Data + Insights

5 Steps for Choosing the Right CDP for Your Business

So, you are thinking about implementing a Customer Data Platform. You have heard about them, done some research on them, and maybe you have even seen a few demos. Now what? The more you look into it, the more questions you have. The more questions you have, the more research you do. But between the countless blogs, articles, and white papers available on the topic, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Where do you even begin?

The good news is that you are not alone. Many organizations just like yours are in the same boat – the S.S. Indecision. Here are five steps to help you along your journey.

Step 1: Think Small

You have a potential list of dozens of use-cases you are looking to solve for. Thinking small sounds contradictory to what you are planning to achieve; after all, the goal is big – to beat your competition and lead the digital marketing space.

Step back and answer this question: what was it that first motivated you to research CDPs? And breaking down data silos is not on the table! It is highly probable that you have data in multiple silos and you are looking to unify that data. Data unification is at the core of any CDP, so that answer is too easy. Think harder.

Was it real-time personalization? Omni-channel orchestration? Maybe machine learning and AI, or identity resolution? Right now, you may be thinking, “it was all of them.” It wasn’t. Subconsciously there was one that was at the forefront.

Did you figure it out? Now, keep it simple; 1-2 sentences that clearly state your goal. For example, “We need to be present where our customer is present, across all channels.”

And there you have it! In this example, omni-channel orchestration is our primary objective.

Step 2: Select a Supporting Cast

Core features across the numerous platforms out there include varying proficiencies in data collection and storage, governance, identity resolution, reporting, machine learning and AI, and omni-channel orchestration. Having identified your primary objective, what are the features most relevant to supporting it? And again, the key is to keep things simple. Do not lose the forest for the trees.

Going back to the example, we have already determined that omni-channel orchestration is at the top of the list. Now we need to determine what will better enable those orchestrations and drive success.

Is it enough to be present? Being relevant seems like it may be important. Our website will be included as a marketing channel in our primary objective. Therefore, real-time personalization will be key, but for determining relevant content we will need machine learning and AI. Let’s add those to our primary objective.

“We need to be present where and when our customer is present with relevant content across all channels.”

Step 3: Know Your Limits

At this point you should be gaining some confidence. You feel like you are ready to start diving back into your research, but wait…we’re forgetting something. Didn’t we have a longer list of use-cases before we decided on a primary objective? Go back to that list and consider which use-cases your core feature list can solve for. Pick several to add as secondary objectives but be sure not to include too many. And definitely do not include use-cases that depend on features that are not in your core feature list.

You have other limits to consider as well, like technical resources. While you are not quite ready to differentiate what work your organization will be able to take on and what work will depend on professional services, you do need to take stock of your capabilities.

Step 4: Research & Demo

Start by refamiliarizing yourself with your data. What all do you have? Where is it? How will it contribute to your primary and secondary objectives?

Next, reflect on your previous research. Was there anything that checked all of the boxes? If not, or if you haven’t done any research yet, utilize resources like G2. Try reaching out to existing providers you are engaged with like Adobe, Salesforce or Bloomreach to see what offerings they already have in market and their integration capabilities with your existing MarTech applications.

Base your decision on the product that best solves your primary and secondary objectives, as well as addresses any technical resource limitations. Weigh your options with confidence knowing that you have prepared yourself to make an informed decision.

Step 5: Prepare for Growth

Sometimes we find it hard to get out of our own way, but if you followed these steps, you should be close to implementing the CDP that is right for you. So, what’s next?

Success is addictive and once you have delivered on your primary and secondary objectives, you’ll want more. Go back to that old list of use-cases and determine which are still relevant to your organization. Write new ones. The adventure continues!

By Mike Moore

Mike serves as a Data Architect with a focus on Customer Data Platform implementations. With his experience in a variety of platforms, he has helped implement solutions for numerous client verticals. He believes that solving the biggest challenges is much like eating an elephant; you do it one bite at a time.