Investing in a Customer Data Platform: A Guide

CDP|6 Minute Read

Investing in a Customer Data Platform: A Guide

What is a customer data platform? Is a CDP basically like a CRM or DMP? Does it basically do the same thing? What differentiates it from other marketing solutions”

At one point, these were questions you likely had about customer data platforms.

By now, though, you’ve done your research and know the advanced (and increasingly popular) technology is essential not just for marketing, but also your business at large.

You’ve seen many CDP success stories for companies across industries — from publishing and retail to financial services — and know the platform can help your company.

All in all, you’re excited about the prospect of being able to use a customer data platform to deliver relevant, highly personalized experiences to your prospects and customers.

Now, you just have to get buy-in for a customer data platform from leadership.

To build a business case for a pure-play CDP, you’ll need an action plan — one that includes specific use cases for your organization, some hard data, and ample social proof.

How to get buy-in for customer data platform investment from leadership

With that in mind, here’s how you can develop a persuasive pitch to your organization’s principals on why your organization — and marketing team — needs a CDP.

Setting the stage with CDP context

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to convince your team about the value of a pure-play customer data platform. Simply sharing the CDP definition won’t do the trick.

That’s because there isn’t a single, agreed-upon definition of a CDP in the market.

While some CDP features exist in other marketing and business technologies — including but not limited to automation software, data warehouses, and campaign management tools — the value of the modern solution comes from the productization of those features.

In a confusing (and massive) technology landscape, it’s important to level-set your organization. So, start with explaining the basics about CDPs to your C-suite.

Consider the primary questions about customer data platforms you had when you initially researched them. These are likely the same ones your management team will ask:

Knowing these are the first questions management will ask, you can prepare accordingly:

  • Who: “One of the benefits of the CDP is it liberates first-party data for marketing. While IT and analytics have to set it up and connect specific data sources, ultimately, the CDP is built to be marketing-owned and -operated. However, several departments and business users, like customer service and data science, can utilize it in their day-to-day.”
  • Why: “All kinds of companies can benefit from a customer data platform too. It merges first-party customer data from all systems and sources and organizes that data into persistent, dynamically updated customer profiles. This makes it much easier to activate data in targeted lifecycle messaging and campaigns across all marketing channels.”
  • How: “A customer data platform increases our stack’s value by unifying data into a single source of truth, in turn enabling marketing to deliver more effective, personalized lifecycle marketing. It can also increase operational efficiencies by putting crucial data in the hands of marketers. Overall, it can help us improve our most important metrics.”

Your answers, of course, can and should be modified for your own use cases and business needs. (Which will vary even among companies with similar business models.)

Also, keep in mind executives are bound to have (many) more questions and will want to know how other organizations — including competitors — leverage the platform to accelerate their business growth and digitally transform their businesses.

The more context you provide right off the bat in your distinct customer data platform business case, the more likely your leadership team will want to learn more about it.

first-party data

Covering the CDP’s core capabilities

After laying the groundwork for your CDP business case, share the specific capabilities you desire in a CDP and determine which customer data platform companies offer them.

Spell out what distinguishes CDPs from other martech — and even one platform from another — to determine which is right for your organization.

For instance, examine how the underlying architecture of your CDP impacts use cases.

In its CDP market guide, Gartner says it provides a marketer-friendly, web-based interface that enables data collection, profile unification, segmentation, and activation. Which is true.

However, CDPs differentiate in the types of data they can ingest, the speed in which they operate, how segments are updated, and other core features and functionality.

For example, BlueConic offers the ability to:

  • Collect data about leads and customers from various sources, including online and offline channels, adtech solutions, email service providers, and CRMs.
  • Reconcile individuals’ profiles in real time following each new customer engagement: app log-ins, return website visits, cart additions or abandonments, et cetera.
  • Create segments based on individual-level data that update as customers’ behaviors change, then streams those segments to activation channels.

Ultimately, you need to outline all CDP capabilities your eventual customer data platform must have according to the specific use cases you’ll eventually want to implement.

Assuming you get buy-in, include those particular use cases and needs in your CDP RFP.

what is customer data platform

Relaying the business impact and ROI

At the end of the day, your CEO, CMO, CTO, and any other “C_O” responsible for approving vendor relationships wants to know one thing about prospective martech:

“How will this impact our bottom line?”

If your leadership is going to invest in the best customer data platform for your business, they need to know it’s going to have a sizable impact on revenue (and, ideally, right away).

This is where you need to go into Don Draper-mode and bring the pitch home. How do you do that, exactly? By noting the impact of a CDP on you, your team, and the entire company.

As our in-depth customer data platform business case eBook points out:

“A CDP implementation has to potential to give huge gains across the organization, not just in improving KPIs but in gained operational efficiencies.”

The keyword there is “operational efficiencies.”

Explain how a CDP can save you time (putting data in marketers’ hands), money (eliminate redundant tech and get more value from current tools), and energy (a single source of customer truth for growth-focused teams), your odds of leadership approval skyrocket.

customer data platform

The data-driven case for better customer data management — and a CDP

Persuading leadership a pure-play customer data platform is not only an essential element of your martech stack, but also beneficial for the brand as a whole, may take time.

The key, just as with a CDP, is in the data.

Corporate won’t spend a dime on customer data technology like a CDP if they don’t have substantial proof of its efficacy. They need numbers to prove it’s a worthwhile investment.

Prove customer data platforms have generated considerable ROI for other brands similar to yours to convince your executive team it can do the same for your business.

Learn how you can build a business case for a pure-play CDP — and get on your way to accelerating your business growth — in our in-depth eBook.

customer data platform

See what BlueConic can do for you.

Whether you’re looking for operational efficiencies or improved marketing effectiveness through data activation, our customer data platform can help.