From the frontlines: time-tested ways businesses go off-course when implementing a CDP
It’s no secret that the journey to implement a customer data platform (CDP) can be complex. Time-to-value can get prolonged and a quick, clear path to ROI can be elusive for organizations that don’t take proactive steps during implementation to ensure CDP success.
In fact, the CDP Institute’s latest member survey found that just shy of 1 in 4 consumer marketers – the core group of CDP users – have “completed their projects on time and on schedule.”
Companies often find themselves caught in the allure of a "big bang" approach to getting started with a CDP, overlooking the potential benefits of taking a more iterative approach to CDP implementation. By focusing on quick wins, companies can ensure that their CDP investment delivers results sooner rather than later while building internal momentum and support for broader, long-term data-driven transformation initiatives.
In this blog post, we'll explore three common missteps that we’ve seen organizations take repeatedly over the years that inadvertently slow their CDP's time-to-value. Understanding these pitfalls is essential for anyone embarking on a CDP implementation journey, as it empowers you to sidestep challenges, accelerate the CDP’s path to value, and ensure a smooth CDP implementation experience from the outset.
CDP Implementation Misstep #1: Thinking your first use case is a unified profile
A CDP is not a data reporting platform. A CDP is an activation hub — a data ingestion and processing machine that empowers business users to act on customer data points and fuel customer journey orchestration efforts from a centralized, secure, and up-to-date homebase.
While having all this first-party data organized into unified profiles that resolve identities and provide an overview of how individuals react in response to various stimuli — e.g., an email send, ad placement, promo code pop-up, etc. — can help inform marketing efforts, merely leveraging a CDP to note or record customer responses (especially on an individual level) can prevent business users from seeing the forest through the trees. Unlocking the true power of a CDP means leveraging these data points to improve how you engage with customers and drive business outcomes.
Carefully planning and prioritizing your uses cases based on an understanding of what the CDP is intended to achieve not only eliminates ambiguity and ensures that efforts are concentrated on meeting specific business goals, but ultimately results in a more efficient, pragmatic, and successful implementation.
CDP Implementation Misstep #2: Overlooking data & system readiness
Having tight, well-defined use cases doesn’t just provide clarity about what’s important to the business; it also enables you to pinpoint which systems and where within these systems data needs to be extracted for downstream activation in the CDP.
Depending on the complexity of your business and your initial CDP use cases, you may consider conducting an audit of your existing data landscape as part of your technical discovery process. This audit can help you to identify the types of data you have, its sources, locations, quality, and the way it's currently structured. Along the way, you'll be able to uncover any gaps, inconsistencies, or duplicate entries within your datasets. Having this clear understanding of your data's condition before integrating it into the CDP is critical to getting your CDP up and running in as short an amount of time as possible.
As with any technology investment, successful CDP adoption is tied to good change management, and the tried-and-true “people, process, technology” triumvirate holds true for catalyzing the kind of permanent, scalable change that most brands are looking for a CDP to drive. At the end of the day, if you haven’t taken the time to convey the value of your CDP use cases to the people who manage the technology that powers your data sources, individuals across departments will be less inclined to adopt the new processes required to take advantage of your CDP. The resulting lack of teamwork and communication can cause massive delays in getting a CDP stood up.
CDP Implementation Misstep #3: Over-complicating your use cases
If there were a single rule of thumb I could drive home to any person setting up a CDP for the first time, it’d be this: don’t overcomplicate your initial use cases because you want to do something eventually. Eventually is not today.
As we mentioned in misstep #1, a CDP should not be thought of as merely a system of record, but as a tool for achieving new levels of success within a key business initiative — such as DTC diversification or Lifecycle Marketing. The best way to do this is to build on pre-existing efforts or initiatives that are widely understood across your organization and leverage a CDP to take these efforts to the next level.
If you’re not sure where to start, get granular and imagine what could happen if, say, you were able to integrate just a single extra data source into your next marketing campaign. What actions would you want your target recipients to take? Would your targets change? This is a great way to take a walk, crawl, run approach to CDP implementation, and it’s much more effective than implementing net-new, overly complicated use cases that require bringing in years of outdated customer data into your CDP, which can cause processing issues, take up unnecessary system capacity, and breed downstream activation issues.
Think about a CDP as a fresh start: a blank slate from which to re-think customer engagement in an era in which customer data is no longer siloed, unattributable, or mysterious, but is instead actionable, identifiable, and accessible whenever and wherever it’s needed to transform customer relationships and unleash growth.
Ready to get started? Learn more about how to unlock the power of smarter customer engagement with BlueConic.