Choosing the Right CDP
Written by
Mariam Hazrat

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Choosing the Right CDP

Published : September 30, 2020
Choosing the right CDP

If you’re reading this then you’ve already decided that CDP is the right tool for your business. And it’s easy to see why. Having a platform that can track all your customer interactions from multiple touch-points that gives you a full understanding of every customer gives you all the reasons to have CDP in your Martech Stack.

A lot of thought process goes on behind choosing the right CDP for your company.

When you deal with something as important as customer data you need to be extra cautious about the platform you choose for handling that data. While we know that every company has a different requirement to meet while choosing a CDP, there are some particular factors and features that remain common to all Industries.

We’ve prepared a couple of points here that would guide you as you look for options and help you find the best CDP for your company.

  1. Profile creation.  The CDP must meet your company’s specific needs in terms of which systems it can connect to, which data types it can ingest, how it will transform source data into usable formats, what kind of identity matching is available, how profiles will be stored, and how quickly they will be updated.  The more precisely you can define the inputs, processes, and outputs needed for your business, the greater your chances of finding the right system.
  2. Training set preparation.  AI systems rely on properly prepared training sets as inputs.  Details depend on the AI system but, in general, cleaner training data is likely to yield better results.  Also bear in mind that the trained system will be expecting comparable inputs during operation, so ensure that any processes used to prepare sample inputs in the training set can also be applied to operational inputs. 
  3. Operational access.  Data needed for dynamic personalization must be readily available.  This often requires real-time access to profiles and real-time or near-real-time updates to profiles using data from source systems.  Be sure to consider the time to execute complex update processes, which can range from seconds to minutes or hours.  Running the AI-based models themselves may also add time to execution.
  4. Deployment effort.  Setting up and operating your CDP is a major task. Build a clear understanding of the resources you will need and assess the tools provided by each system.  Features such as visual process flows, seamless data ingestion, and prebuilt connectors to source and delivery systems can substantially reduce support workload and enable faster response to new needs. 
  5. End-user capabilities.  The more end-users can do for themselves, the less work they require from CDP support staff.  Look for interfaces that let non-technical users create customer segments, capture events on Website or in a data stream, derive calculated variables from existing inputs, build and deploy predictive models, and define customer journey flows.   Be realistic in how much you can expect end-users to do and consider creating a core of expert users who can execute complex tasks for others with minimal help from technical staff.
  6. Vendor considerations.  System features are not the only factor in picking a CDP vendor.  You’ll also want to consider cost, support services, industry expertise, and results at similar companies, financial stability, and product direction.  If AI-based dynamic personalization is your goal, pay special attention to development plans in that area.
  7. Non-CDP issues.  Your CDP plans should also take into account other factors that impact what’s possible. Dynamic personalization may require cooperation across organizational boundaries, expanded content creation, new integrations with data sources and delivery systems, innovative measurement techniques, and larger budgets. If this is your company’s first major AI project, you’ll want to make special efforts to ensure people understand how it works and that you deploy it properly.

After considering all these factors, you’re ready to make your decision. The factors listed, form the heart of the requirements section in a CDP Request for Proposal.  A complete RFP would include:

  • Proposal instructions including project schedule and contact information
  • Background information on your company’s business and project objectives
  • Requirements the CDP must meet
  • Cost estimate and delivery schedule
  • Vendor background including history, financial status, and reference clients

Visit the CDP Institute Library for several papers describing RFP creation in more depth.

Technology is only a piece of the puzzle while choosing a CDP. There’s much more to it. It takes a lot of Strategic thinking to lock the CDP that best meets your needs. And choosing the right CDP for your business is essential to unlocking the potential business value that it can deliver.

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