In today’s marketing technology landscape, customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged as a popular solution, offering the promise of a 360-degree view of customers with enriched data. Marketers are drawn to the idea of integrating data from multiple sources to gain insights and enable personalized marketing. Despite the initial appeal, many organizations face significant hurdles when implementing and leveraging CDPs, resulting in poor performance, unmet expectations and confusion on how to successfully manage their CDP.

Organizations Must Invest in Data Analysis

To fully leverage the potential of a CDP, organizations should invest time in thorough data analysis. This involves understanding the available data, identifying gaps, and ensuring data cleanliness and transformation. When developing an overarching strategy that satisfies your key performance indicators (KPIs), it is imperative to understand the data sources, the CDP use cases, and the tools that will connect to the CDP. Without this foundation, CDP implementations lack the groundwork necessary to derive meaningful insights and drive actionable outcomes.

Limiting Your Use Cases Means Missed Opportunities

Despite the vast capabilities, many organizations limit their CDP use cases to basic scenarios, such as cart abandonment emails or audience suppression. Although these are great use cases, opportunities to save on ad spend, and to target cart abandoners, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your CDP’s potential. I would argue that if these are your only CDP use cases, then it isn’t the right tool for you. By limiting yourself to these use cases, you fail to unlock the full potential of the CDP and miss out on opportunities for advanced audience creation and targeting. It is important to explore the various ways a CDP can impact your marketing efforts throughout the entire customer journey.

The Six Key Steps to Ensure Your CDP Project Delivers Expected Results

Allocate Sufficient Time to Analyze and Synthesize Your Data

For most new CDP implementations, I would recommend at least a dedicated month of thorough analysis to gain a deep understanding of your data, identify gaps, and clean and transform it for effective utilization. The analysis should focus on current data sources and the data quality that is found in CDPs, identifying any quality issues before enriching that data. This will prevent issues further down in the data flow.

Understand the Actions and Touchpoints of Your Users

It’s also important to understand the expected actions of users and touchpoints they are currently experiencing, as customization at these points will create a more seamless user experience. At this stage it’s important to do an overall analysis of technologies that you are connecting to your CDP and any potential future tools you are considering. Understanding the data flow from beginning to end allows for a more holistic and robust strategy.

This critical step provides the necessary foundation for your CDP implementation, enabling you to derive actionable insights from the unified data. Without understanding these key points, you will spend more time trying to create CDP use cases that don’t align with your KPI’s and will result in uninspired and ineffective examples.

Get All Teams Involved

If you want to take your CDP use cases beyond just cart abandoners and audience suppression, you must develop a comprehensive strategy and involve members from other teams such as digital media, marketing automation, call center, UX strategy, and AB testing. As a team, brainstorm different use cases that cover all the touchpoints of the customer journey. By involving different teams, you will realize the full potential of a CDP and more effectively tailor the user experience.

Continue to Evolve and Expand Use Cases

While it’s important to prioritize achievable CDP use cases, don’t settle for mediocrity. Keep pushing forward with development and improvement. By continuing to expand your use cases, you will be able to focus on each customer’s unique needs and behaviors. Using your CDP to aid in A/B tests, tailor user flows according to specific user characteristics, and deliver targeted marketing messages at the right moments are some of the potential CDP use cases that can be achieved.By embracing a comprehensive strategy and continuously exploring new possibilities and use cases, you can leverage your CDP to its full potential. Be innovative, listen to your customers, and keep refining your CDP use cases to provide a personalized and exceptional experience that sets your brand apart.

Establish a CDP Champion

It is recommended to enlist a dedicated CDP champion who can devote about 60% of their time to your CDP. This individual should possess a deep understanding of marketing technology, data management, and business objectives. Their role is to ensure alignment across teams, drive adoption, and advocate for the value of the CDP within the organization. A strong CDP champion can significantly contribute to the success of your implementation. Too often, the responsibility of managing a CDP falls on a Marketing Manager who already has a lot on their plate, or the Chief Technology Officer who handles various tasks ranging from IT to finance. Without someone who can fully dedicate themselves to learning the intricacies of the CDP, promoting its use, and developing a comprehensive strategy, the CDP may be neglected in favor of other projects, leading to disorganization and unusable data.

The champion will work across multiple teams and be able to recognize individual skills and ideas, and work to implement them within the CDP. Think of them as the conductor of your orchestra, making sure that the woodwinds have everything they need, and that the percussion is working well with the brass. Their job is to keep everything orchestrated and moving forward. Without this role you will continue to see a flat performance from your CDP, only being second fiddle to other work that your team does.

Encourage Team Collaboration

Invest in training your team members and equip them with the necessary knowledge to effectively utilize the CDP. Encourage collaboration between teams, such as marketing, analytics, and IT, to streamline data integration and campaign execution. Regular meetings and knowledge-sharing sessions can break down silos and foster a collaborative environment that maximizes the benefits of your CDP implementation.

Implementing a CDP is just the beginning of your journey. It’s important to understand that a CDP is not a “set it and forget it” tool. Once your CDP is up and running, the real work begins. Collaboration with different teams becomes essential to identify future CDP use cases and activations that can be explored.

Iterate and Learn to Optimize Results

Consistent iteration and learning are key to optimizing your CDP’s performance. Regularly evaluate and analyze the results, making necessary changes to the setup to ensure that your CDP is running effectively and efficiently. This iterative approach allows you to fine-tune your strategies, refine your targeting, and deliver more accurate results.

By actively managing your CDP and continuously optimizing its usage, you can expect to see a greater return on investment (ROI). It’s an ongoing process that requires dedication and a commitment to staying ahead of the curve. Embrace the potential of your CDP and harness its capabilities to drive long-term success.

Reap The Benefits from A Well-Implemented CDP

CDPs hold tremendous potential for marketers looking to unlock data-driven personalization and customer insights. However, to ensure successful implementation and utilization, it is crucial to address the challenges that may arise. By prioritizing data analysis, understanding actions and touchpoints, expanding CDP use cases, appointing a champion, fostering collaboration and continuing to iterate, you can bridge the gap between expectation and execution and keep your CDP project on track to reap the rewards of a comprehensive 360-degree view of your customer.