Enabling Customer CDP Success & Planning For The Future

Enabling Customer CDP Success & Planning For The Future

Pascal Hakim
28 August 2022
Pexels Canva Studio 3194521
Pexels Canva Studio 3194521

Enabling Customer CDP Success & Planning For The Future

Pascal Hakim
28 August 2022

The Challenge: Marketers want a “single view of the customer”

Whenever I talk to customers, prospects and implementation experts in our industry, I always hear the same reasons for wanting a CDP. Somebody always wants a “single view of the customer”.

This is really putting the cart before the horse. Success for a marketer is typically measured in increased brand awareness, leads or sales.

A single view of the customer is a tool to help meet that KPI, but not an objective in and of itself.

When marketers start thinking about a CDP as an objective, they start finding it harder to meet their actual business goals.

Many marketers fixate on this ‘single view’ as they struggle to load data into their marketing systems. To have all of their data aggregated in one place, accessible by customer is a challenge yet a key goal for many.

Marketers are spending a lot of time and effort trying to solve a problem that really shouldn’t exist in the first place: marketing data aggregation.

If we could solve this problem, marketers could spend more time focusing on how to drive their business towards its overall goals and less time trying to work with or replicate the work of an IT department.

The Solution: The rise of the CDP

We can address this problem by considering how we set up and future-proof CDP implementations.

Too often, a short or rushed CDP implementation means that it’s too hard to deal with unexpected or new data sources. It can often be ‘too hard’ for marketers to keep their data sources updated, particularly if they don’t have an IT department to help with this.

This is why the independent CDP was created. CDPs want to take the challenge of data upload and maintenance from IT and place it into the hands of marketing.

There are two common scenarios for marketing technology stacks right now:

1. A single-vendor marketing software stack

2. ‘Best of breed’ marketing software stacks where multiple vendor solutions are combined based on business requirements

Both come with their challenges.

The single-vendor approach often doesn’t let marketers load the rich data they have captured and want to use to improve their marketing efforts. The ‘best of breed’ approach requires marketers to work with IT or get extremely technical to work out how to run their campaign data flow across the multiple systems (or silos) they are using.

We are currently in a new era for CDPs, and I believe that the top CDPs in three years’ time will have additional functionality that is not available now.

Any marketers wanting to avoid getting stuck on a dead-end in their implementation journey should consider this, and its implications when implementing a CDP.

The three areas of functionality are:

1. Repeatable Data Mapping

Marketers need to be able to decide which data the CDP ingests, how it processes this data, and where it is made available for segmentation and activation.

It’s one thing for someone with “architect” in their job title to do the initial implementation, but once they have set up the system, marketers and other business users must be able to add data sources or change how data is being processed.

To enable this, CDP implementations will need to split data ingestion into two separate processes.

One process is an initial data ingestion used to save any information the system receives. This information is stored with as little data loss as possible.

The second process then maps the data to a format usable by the marketer in a segment builder or similar.
Crucially, marketers must be able to re-run the second process on already processed data to deal with changes in requirements and any mistakes they may have made.

This concept is what “schema-on-read” was meant to be back in the DMP days, even if no vendor ever quite got there.

2. Cross Channel Activation

Marketers need to be able to sequence activations across different channels.

It’s not enough for your CDP to simply send a segment to an activation platform and then hope for the best. Most data-driven marketers activate their campaigns across multiple channels, which means all the channels need to be kept in sync. The promise of omnichannel marketing requires this to work seamlessly.

Currently, many marketers are concerned about breaking down silos on the data ingestion side. However, those same marketers will soon find that unless they also worry about the activation side, they will simply have moved the bottleneck from data ingestion to data activation. And this doesn’t resolve the problem in any real way.

Marketing stack vendors who already have a cross-channel orchestration tool can probably deal with this challenge, but it’s complicated for independent CDP vendors to resolve right now. As a result, I suspect we will see many of the smaller CDPs launching tools to handle cross-channel activation in the future.

3. Fast Queryable Data Store

Marketers also want to use systems that can query a CDP for an individual record rather than creating segments that are pushed to other systems.

Currently, the workflow generally consists of a marketer creating a segment on a CDP which they then send to an activation channel. In some instances, this push contains additional attributes used to build the message (e.g. text to put in an email).

From an engineering and vendor cost control perspective, this makes sense. It’s cheaper to build this way and easier to get it right. But this is not what marketers want or need.

In the email example above, marketers would prefer the email system to call out to the CDP for all the records they are messaging and the appropriate attributes to be returned at that time (preferably as close as possible to send time).

This means that they can use the freshest and most relevant data set possible, so they’re less likely to send the wrong message at the wrong time.

Conclusion

I believe that the above points are useful to keep in mind as your customers build their marketing stack and implement a CDP. It’s always a great idea to start any implementation with the end in mind.

If you would like to discuss a CDP implementation or you have any questions, please email me at pasc@doublehmarketing.com.au.

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