The Five Steps to CDP Success

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For many marketing leaders, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is core to their first party data plans. This blog outlines the key considerations in successfully implementing this software into your organization.

With data privacy legislation placing limits on third party data and the cookieless world almost upon us, all marketing organizations should be planning their first party data strategies. For many of them, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) will be one of the primary mechanisms for delivering on their data strategies.

If you are among this group, then you should be asking yourself what you should be doing to maximize the ROI from your CDP investments. This blog looks at the key steps you need to take to ensure that both the software and the strategy pay off as anticipated.

  1. Create your project team

One of the main benefits of a CDP is the ability to break down information siloes acres the organization. You therefore need to assemble a project team that includes stakeholders from all the different departments that currently store customer data. You will also need technical support, whether that is from your marketing operations or IT teams.

At the core of this team will be your data-first marketers – these are the data analytics experts with foundational skills in data orchestration, automation, and workflow building. These people that will ensure that you are embedding data at the heart of decision-making. This team can take many forms: from an ad-hoc group in smaller companies to Centers of Excellence in Fortune 500 corporations.

  1. Formulate use cases

A strong digital strategy should serve as a long-term roadmap for the entire organization. As such, your plans for a CDP may overlap with a strategic plan or similar document already in use by your organization. These plans should be focused on business goals and growth, not just the impact on technology.

Work with stakeholders to define the uses cases the CDP is best able to support – whether this is identifying high value customers or enhancing personalization – and identify where these relate to a marketing activity or customer interaction. Provide clear objectives for each uses case and put in place the metrics that will allow you to measure progress against these aims.

  1. Determine your segments and de-dupe data

It is best to clearly defined your target audiences early in the process of your CDP initiative: this will help determine the overall scope of the project. There are myriad ways of segmenting an audience – whether that is industry, geography, business role or any other criteria. In a large organization with multiple databases, it is likely that there will be multiple instances of some individuals in your records: you need to ensure that you have de-duped your data, so you have a clear and accurate audience set to work with.

  1. Define your implementation plan

By this point, you should have a good idea of how your teams, tools, and strategies will be impacted by the deployment of a Customer Data Platform. But that impact isn’t going to be felt overnight – particularly if you are taking a phased approach to its implementation.

Your CDP stakeholders need to come together and set expectations about what can be achieved – and by when. The simplest approach is to assess the impact of each prospective strategy against the effort required to implement it. In most cases, it is best to prioritize the projects and use cases that have the highest short-term impact – and offer the least resistance in terms of their implementation.

Staying focused on the business objectives determined in step two will help determine the timing of your projects. Work alongside your CDP vendor or a trusted agency partner to create a timeline for your company’s initiative.

  1. Monitor progress

Assessing the progress of your CDP against the original objectives is essential in maintaining the support of your stakeholders. Have you fallen below or exceeded their expectations? What lessons have been learned? Have different audiences responded differently to your CDP-based initiatives? Along with the correct resource allocation and periodic check-ins, adjusting your roadmap and timing will be critical to delivering optimal ROI from your CDP investments.

Some marketing leaders will have turned to a CDP as a tactical fix for an urgent problem – the need to implement an effective first-party data strategy. However, the CDP is not simply a tool but a strategic asset: its ability to break down siloes to unify customer information creates a platform for success that can be applied to almost any marketing activity. The use cases you will have identified at the start of this process are likely to be enhanced and added to over time; so the deployment of the CDP is not so much an event as the start of a long – and profitable – journey.