How to prepare for your CDP journey
Years ago, the term “mobile first” was the hot internet phrase. Then we moved onto “API first” as our favorite catchphrase. Now, we’re entering the incredibly important “consent first” wave of the internet. With the days of anonymous tracking without permission fading, the importance of having authenticated customer data all in one place for activation is becoming increasingly more important.
Companies are rapidly adopting technology like Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform, gaining real-time data processing and incredibly powerful new applications, and readying themselves for the new consent-first approach to the internet.
Bringing your data together and activating on it in real time are complete game-changers. It’s big, it’s exciting, and it’s important to be prepared.
Adobe Professional Services has been helping customers stand-up Real-Time CDP for the last few years and we know the best approach to prepare for a CDP journey. Here are six ways to get your business ready.
1. Take your business requirements beyond a unified profile
Those who know me will have heard me use the phrase “360 profile is not a use case” more than once. When onboarding technology, particularly a CDP that orchestrates customer activation, it is critical to understand what that unified profile is meant to power.
A CDP is a marketing ecosystem, which means that desired business outcomes are what drive your activities. Having a firm perspective on the capabilities you’re looking for and the customer journeys they will power will not only make your implementation smoother and more focused, it will help you quantify the value and align it to the business outcomes you’re trying to drive.
2. Identify datasets and sources
Now that you know what you’re trying to accomplish, you can start to understand what data you have available and how it will be used.
While data sources are the systems you’re pulling from, your datasets are the different types of data you have within them — customers, transactions, loyalty, consent and subscriptions, analytics, and more. These datasets are often represented by projects, folders or tables within your master data storage.
When modeling your data for a CDP, your focus should be identifying the data you need for segmentation and activation, versus trying to bring in everything you have access to. For example, a sports organization would bring in data like fan profiles, ticket purchases, and scans, but they would likely not have a customer use case related to partners and sponsorships that would warrant bringing that data into CDP.
You don’t need to model your data at this point — a simple list of sources and what data lives there is a great start. If you have a data dictionary, or any sort of documentation that gives more detail around various fields, that’s even better.
3. Connect your data with common identifiers
Now that you know what data you’re bringing in and why, it’s time to make sure you can stitch it all together once it lands in a CDP.
In Adobe Real-Time CDP the Identity Graph will help you bring multiple identifiers together into a single customer profile, so having a mapping of where specific IDs exist will get your implementation off to a strong start. Where possible, I always recommend having a single, unified customer identifier across as many of your own systems as possible to keep things clean. It’s not a requirement for Adobe Real-Time CDP by any means, the features exist to do the stitching. However, one identifier makes your data model extra clean and, in some cases, provides better performance overall when it comes time to evaluate segments and power journeys.
Just like the data sources and datasets, it’s important to simply understand what you have available when it comes to identifiers across your systems.
4. Get real-time ready with APIs
APIs are a big part of what power real-time data flowing in and out of any platform. When you make your list of data sources, be sure to include whether they have APIs available and collect any relevant documentation. You will want to understand whether that source can be used as an external data source to bring data in or if it would act as a destination for you to send segments to.
For example, your product information system may have APIs available for you to fetch more product details to enrich email communication, whereas your email solution is going to be a destination for you to send real-time messaging to your customers.
5. Define your destinations
Destinations answer two simple questions: Where is the data going and why? For example, are you sending segments to Facebook, Google, email, and more? Make a list of all your destinations and the people in your organization who manage them. When the time comes to connect your destinations, you’ll need to work with the admins of each platform to provide the credentials in order to make that connection. This process is usually very simple. If you have identified the right people, you’re off to a great start.
Here's a list of common destinations to help you brainstorm:
- Google Ads
- Email solution
- Journey optimizer or orchestration tool
- Adobe Target
6. Get your organization ready
I typically see organizations focus on the consolidation of technology before they bring their teams together. While eliminating the number of point solutions in favor of a CDP will necessitate bringing teams together, it’s critical that each organization prepare to bring their teams together on a parallel path.
To start this process, consider how workflows and their supporting roles might change as you dramatically reduce duplicated efforts across solutions. You don’t have to make changes overnight, but it’s good to have an understanding of how roles may come together along with any new roles that might be needed.
I see the role of marketing data architect to be particularly important. This role typically sits in the marketing org and is the liaison between the marketing and technical teams. They are responsible for understanding the marketing needs, designing and leading new data onboarding, and acting as the bridge between your data engineers in IT and your marketers. They also support the rest of the team as the resident experts in how the data is structured and how it can be activated on in segments and journeys.
As the world embarks on this wave of change toward a “consent-first” internet, and as you prepare for your CDP journey, Adobe Professional Services is here to help. Following these six steps will get you ahead of the curve when it comes time to kicking off your CDP project. The more information you can gather around your business goals, customer journeys, and data, the smoother your kickoff and transition will be. And, of course, the more you can align within your business about what you’re trying to achieve and why, the more prepared you will be for the organization change that may come as a result of bringing your marketing technology together.
Contact Adobe Professional Services to start your CDP journey.
As a principal enterprise architect, Chris provides strategic technology leadership to deliver efficiency, scale & growth. With over 20 years' experience in digital as a Customer, Partner and Adobe Consultant, he has a wide breadth of knowledge across all Adobe Creative and Experience Cloud solutions.