Choosing the Right Customer Data Platform: What’s The Right Flavour For You? 

Much like ice cream flavours, CDPs come in a range of options, offering a variety of features and capabilities. But despite the maturity of the technology and the clear benefits, many businesses remain hesitant to commit fully. Past market conditions and recent economic headwinds have left a lingering taste of caution. Furthermore, failed implementations, lack of hands-on experience and concrete understanding of which CDP might be the best fit for you only adds to the hesitation. 

So, what should you look for in a CDP? Just like any good scoop of ice cream, a quality CDP should include a few key elements: 

Unified Data Collection: A good CDP should be able to gather data from various sources, whether it’s online interactions, offline transactions, or third-party data sources. Think of this as the milk that forms the foundation of your sundae. It should be open to all. 

Identity Stitching and Data Integration: Like the swirls of caramel or fudge in your ice cream, a CDP should seamlessly integrate and unify your data, providing a single view of each customer across touchpoints and channels. 

Customer Segmentation and Profiling: Much like choosing between vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, a CDP should allow you to segment your customers based on their behaviour, preferences, and demographics, helping you create personalised experiences. This information should also be accessible throughout the business, to ensure seamless CX management at every point of engagement and life stage. 

Real-time Data Activation: Just as you might immediately crave a scooped ice cream on a hot sunny day, a CDP should enable real-time customer data activation, allowing you to deliver timely and relevant messages and offers.  

Analytics and Insights: Finally, a good CDP should provide robust analytics and insights, helping you understand customer behaviour, identify trends, and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

Much like choosing between Rocky Road, Mint Chocolate Chip and the myriad of other toppings that are on offer to accompany your ice cream, your decision should be based on your specific business requirements: 

Business Objectives: Are you looking to drive customer acquisition, improve retention, grow share of wallet or enhance overall customer satisfaction? 

Customer Experience Management Needs: How sophisticated is your approach to customer experience management? Are you looking for a CDP that can help you deliver highly personalised experiences across multiple channels? 

Specific Use Cases: What specific challenges or use cases do you need the CDP to address? Whether optimising your marketing campaigns, improving product recommendations, or reducing churn, your CDP should align with your specific goals. 

How big are your needs? Should you go with a well-established vendor or look to compose your own CDP? Does your organisation have the capacity to go it alone? For more on composing your own CDP and the potential pitfalls, click here.

Data Quality and Legal Compliance: How important is data quality and legal compliance to your organisation? Do you need preference centre integration? Ensure the CDP you choose adheres to relevant data protection regulations and maintains high data hygiene standards. 

For example, if you’re a retailer looking to improve customer retention, you might prioritise a CDP that excels at tracking and analysing customer behaviour across multiple touchpoints. On the other hand, if you’re a financial services firm focused on acquiring new customers via online advertising, you might prioritise a CDP that offers unknown-to-know user profile tracking and unification, advanced segmentation and targeting capabilities. 

In the end, much like selecting your favourite flavour of ice cream, choosing the right CDP is a matter of personal preference and individual taste. It’s about finding the perfect balance of features, capabilities, and compatibility with your business needs.  

Establishing a working group(s) and confirming executive sponsorship to drive through the initiative are critical to a successful batch of the yummy stuff. Going deeper, resourcing will quickly become a key consideration, determining how much you need to upskill in-house at the technical and business operations level or to farm out to specialist agencies. Finally, change management delivery will give you the receipt to stay on the right path and ensure successful project delivery and long-term operational success. 

So, take a moment to savour the options, explore the possibilities, and choose the flavour of CDP that’s just right for you. Remember, it’s essential to strike the right balance for your business needs, but once done, you can cherish that ice cream sundae for years to come. 

Written by Andrew Pink. Commercial Director, Anchora. 14.02.2024