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How Companies Can Determine the Right CDP for Them

You know a customer data platform (CDP) can help but with all the options available, how do you determine which one is right for your company?
customer data platform

It’s time to get a better handle on your customer data and create that 360-degree view of the customer that will help you improve experiences across the customer lifecycle. You know a customer data platform (CDP) can help but with all the options available, how do you determine which one is right for your company?

We’re Awash With CDP Options

The marketing technology landscape and the CDP industry, in particular, are growing like dandelions in summer. Companies have never had more options in selecting the right CDP technology to support their requirements. 

The 2022 Marketing Technology Landscape report lists 9,932 marketing technologies across 49 categories. That’s an increase of 24 percent over the last two years and a whopping 5,233 percent over the last ten years. It’s no wonder companies feel overwhelmed when trying to select any marketing technology.

The CDP industry itself has grown significantly. According to the CDP Institute, the CDP market has increased 19 percent from 2021, with projected revenue expected to reach $1.9 billion. Knowing you have to select a CDP from 152 vendors may make you question how you could choose and choose well.

In a space where there’s more choice than ever, companies must make sure they’re making the best investments possible. There are a lot of CDP vendors out there, but they aren’t all identical. 

To make the right decision, you need to understand: 

  • Your overall goals and objectives, including key use cases
  • The types of CDPs you can choose from and what use cases they support
  • The capabilities you need to achieve these goals and objectives

Let’s look at each one.

Define Your Overall Goals and Objectives

To know what type of customer data platform you need, you must define your goals and objectives clearly. Start with defining your short-term and long-term strategies for delivering customer experiences. What types of experiences do you want to provide, and what types of data and content are required? Where does the data you need currently reside? How can a CDP help you create these experiences, and what technologies will it need to integrate with to do that? 

One of the easiest ways to help clarify the right CDP is to define a series of use cases that outline how you will use the CDP and the value you expect to receive from it. For example, you have a lot of customer data spread across different systems with no unified view of that data for each customer. So, one of your use cases would be to build that unified customer view. 

Another use case could relate to your requirement to comply with data privacy laws or regulations. In this example, you would want a CDP that helps you track customer data and ensures it’s stored in compliance with regulatory requirements. You may also want the CDP to help track customer privacy permissions.

Many use cases demonstrate the value a CDP can bring to your marketing and support activities. The key is to identify and prioritize the important ones to your company, putting as much detail as possible into the use case, so everyone is clear about what you expect the CDP to provide. 

When defining your use cases, select one as a pilot use case to test a narrowed down set of CDPs or the one CDP you determine is suitable for your company. This use case should be intrinsic to your company’s needs and can show ROI and value. It also needs to be a use case that can bring both departments and executives on board. 

Understanding the Types of CDPs Available

With 152 CDP options to choose from, it’s essential to understand the different types of customer data platforms and what each type offers in terms of features and functionality. Customer data platforms are not all the same, but some capabilities are essential. Keep an eye out for CDPs with these capabilities:

Other capabilities to look for include the ability to scale storage and processing as your data grows and support for customer data privacy and security to adhere to enterprise compliance and privacy regulations. 

Putting It All Together

You’ve identified your goals, objectives and key use cases, learned the types of CDPs available, and the key capabilities you need to consider. Now you need to put it all together. 

Looking at your requirements and use cases, you can quickly start to narrow down the field of options and create a shortlist of vendors. 

Then, perform an in-depth analysis and test your pilot use case with the top 2-3 vendors on your shortlist. Once the pilot is completed, you’ll be able to choose the CDP that works best for your company. 

And if you’re still not completely sure, ask yourself these questions of each CDP to help narrow the options further:

  • Do you have to run a lengthy IT project to unify all your data?
  • Can the CDP adapt to your business as it changes?
  • Does the CDP support all of your use cases now and planned in the future?
  • What type of support does the vendor provide during implementation and once you are up and running?

By following a defined selection process that involves mapping your requirements, resources, and processes to use cases, you’ll be in a position to find the right CDP for your company.

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Zack Wenthe Present. Promote. Entertain | CDP Evangelist @ Treasure Data
Zack Wenthe is the CDP Product Evangelist for Treasure Data. As a marketer and strategist, Zack is passionate about helping marketing teams break down silos, operate more efficiently, and develop a true understanding of their customers.

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