Companies aim to achieve many objectives with a customer data platform (CDP).
Regardless of the goal, there are many CDP use cases companies can employ to realize their strategic ambitions, carry out growth initiatives, and improve key programs’ performance.
But planning one’s CDP use case roadmap — and ‘changing directions’ as business conditions, consumer behaviors, and/or goals change — requires complete alignment among all stakeholders who will both implement and utilize a customer data platform.
Here’s how we’ve seen BlueConic customers — from retailers and publishers to CPGs and manufacturers — devise, execute, and modify their CDP use case roadmaps.
Pre-implementation: Building a ‘steering committee’ and aligning on goals/ROI
Deciding which CDP use cases to prioritize should never be made by one person.
Rather, the ideal starting point for companies that invest in a CDP like BlueConic is to build a ‘steering committee,’ which features one representative from each part of the business involved with CDP implementation and utilization.
The specific members of this committee will vary from one company to the next. But it’s ideal to include members of the C-suite, IT, a technologist, and leaders of growth-focused teams (marketing, customer experience, analytics, etc.).
Once this committee is formed, everyone can get on the same page regarding what they want to achieve as an organization, then map that agreed-upon vision to the most applicable CDP use cases that will help them achieve their goals.
Different customer data platform use cases are typically championed by different members of this group, and each member may propose multiple use cases. For example:
- Senior leadership may be concerned with resolving customer identities, mitigating data risk, and/or ensuring compliance with consumer privacy laws.
- A CMO might want to ensure the marketing organization can deliver personalized messaging and experiences to customers across channels.
- The revenue diversification team could ask to build an audience monetization program (e.g., selling consented customer data to advertising partners).
Regardless of the exact use cases suggested, all members must agree on the feasibility of employing each one and determine the desired (and likely) ROI in terms of revenue and/or operational efficiency so they can finalize their initial roadmap.
They can accomplish this by considering eight specific CDP use case dimensions:
- 1) Objective: “What do we want to achieve as an organization?”
- 2) Target audience: “To whom are we trying to market/engage?”
- 3) Existing customer data: “What data can growth teams use today?”
- 4) Customer data gaps: “What data do we currently lack but need?”
- 5) Segment definitions: “How are our segments structured/defined?”
- 6) Program scope: “How will targeting changes (e.g., data privacy laws, browser changes, consent preferences) impact our processes, resources, and planning?”
- 7) Data activation: “Where and how will data be activated with a CDP?”
- 8) Measurement and success: “What specific metrics will we measure (e.g., acquisition, retention, lifetime value)? What exactly does ‘success’ look like?”
By answering these questions and carefully considering their long-term strategic ambitions, companies can narrow in on the types of and how many use cases they want to start with.
Use case workshops with the BlueConic team can also provide clarity around the resources, customer data, goals, and KPIs that will ultimately determine use case success.
Most BlueConic customers start their respective CDP journeys by executing a handful of use cases that address their most pressing organizational pain points and needs.
Mid-implementation: Importing customer data needed for your initial use cases
Once you’ve decided on your initial use cases, it’s time to migrate all first-party data (specifically, the ‘minimum viable data’) from internal systems and sources into your CDP so business technology users can begin executing on them.
At this stage, the steering committee should assign a program or project manager within the group who’s responsible for coordinating CDP setup and adoption, including the data-import phase (which, depending on the use cases and company size, often varies in terms of scope and length of time to complete).
This staff member is ultimately accountable to the leadership team on behalf of the steering committee for ensuring their use case ‘game plan’ is executed accordingly. Tasks include:
- Assisting with and coordinating the CDP implementation and onboarding process (for BlueConic customers, that means working closely with our dedicated team)
- Providing ongoing training to tech users, ensuring they understand best practices around CDP utilization as it relates to key programs and growth initiatives
- Documenting business requirements, issues, and process workflows over time
Implementing a CDP isn’t solely this person’s responsibility.
But they are charged with setting up the BlueConic tenants for their company and ensuring the right data (i.e., the most relevant behavioral, demographic, engagement, and transactional data) is available to growth teams when and where they need it.
BlueConic speeds this process by offering out-of-the-box, pluggable connections with all other business solutions (campaign tools, digital experience platforms, adtech, etc.).
These direct connections simplify the BlueConic onboarding process for businesses and streamline the program/project manager’s ability to unify all relevant first-party data across their technology stack in persistent customer profiles.
Post-implementation: Executing use cases and adjusting the roadmap over time
Your company will inevitably need to revamp its current CDP use cases and/or add new use cases to the mix. For BlueConic customers, this could mean many things:
- Optimizing existing use cases: This can entail a variety of changes: from adjusting the stages featured in a cross-sell/upsell Lifecycle (or adding new ones), to modifying the paywall rules set up for their dynamic content metering strategy, to reevaluating which segments to target with ads (and suppress ads from) based on their engagement scores.
- Implementing new use cases: Even if the initial CDP use cases led to the desired ROI, many BlueConic customers expand their use cases over time to realize better business outcomes (e.g., publishers test new digital products and experiences; retailers develop data-sharing programs with companies that have overlapping audiences).
Following the execution of your initial use cases, in particular, (this could be a month later, a quarter later — whatever ‘wait time’ your leadership team prefers), it’s best for the steering committee to reconvene and revisit the goals for each one and ask:
- “How did the CDP contribute to our agreed-upon strategic objectives and ROI?”
- “Did the CDP help us meet our pre-defined success metrics for each use case?”
- “What tangible improvements did we see for each use case regarding revenue generated and/or operational efficiencies created for our growth teams?”
- “Which specific use case(s) most directly contributed to accelerated business growth and, therefore, are worth continuing with for the foreseeable future?”
- “Conversely, which use case(s) do we need to refine, cease executing, and/or de-prioritize for the time being (i.e., due to changing business conditions or needs)?”
Regardless of your specific objectives, asking these questions is key to gradually improving your use case roadmap and achieving your predetermined desired level of success.
“The most successful [companies] not only carefully plan and prioritize their use cases to guide … implementation, but continue to review those use cases on an ongoing basis,” BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach recently wrote in a guest post for CMSwire.
No two companies’ CDP use case roadmaps will look exactly the same.
But regularly evaluate the output of your use cases over time, and you’ll extract the most value from your customer data platform — and realize the sustainable, scalable business growth you set out to achieve at the onset of your CDP implementation.
Download our new CDP use case eBook to discover 10 real-world examples that show how companies across industries accelerate business growth with BlueConic today.