Today’s businesses are constantly striving to stay ahead of the curve and meet the ever-evolving demands of their customers. As a result, developing a comprehensive roadmap for a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and Customer Experience (CX) transformation has become not just a choice, but a necessity for any forward-thinking organization. In this blog, we’ll explore an eight-step organizational roadmap to CDP and CX transformation.

Let’s dive into some key elements of the CDP and CX transformation roadmap that Zion & Zion implements with clients that deploy CDPs such as Tealium.
Step 1: It Starts With The Top
To gain alignment, it will help to have an ally that sits at a high level at your company. Organizations will need an executive sponsor for their CDP transformation that is at or above the Vice President level. The sponsor needs to have the clout, and breadth of cross-functional understanding to effectively back the initiative. While the choice of the executive’s background can vary, ideally the chosen executive will have a holistic, CX/marketing-oriented background.
Step 2: Involve Your People
Once you have a champion, you’ll need to increase advocacy amongst your employees. Involving your people is pivotal because they are the ones who translate strategies into actions on the frontlines. At a minimum, we recommend forming a “CDP Center of Excellence” which includes of representatives from: 

  • Digital Media
  • CX 
  • Lifecycle Marketing
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Analytics
  • Data Science
  • Data Engineering
  • Content
  • Creative and Design

Involving key members from various sectors of your business facilitates a well-rounded understanding of the expectations and changes that will occur once the CDP is implemented. 

Step 3: The Adoption Curve
Once you’ve involved key members from your organization, there will likely be a learning and adoption curve for your teams. Organizations need to recognize that very few of their employees are going to understand CDP concepts right off the bat. You should expect that adoption will follow something akin to Roger’s adoption curve, like the below graphic.

Rogers adoption curve

Step 4: Resource Allocation
Organizations must talk about budgets for assets, media, and testing because they will shift due to CDP deployment. You’ll need to establish a plan for integration with testing, personalization tools, digital media, and data warehouse. Unfortunately, this practice is rare… So consider this your reminder! Customers all too often believe, that buying the CDP will solve their problems. I say, “No – buying the CDP creates opportunities for you to solve your problems.”
Step 5: Establish Success Benchmarks
Zion & Zion has seen many clients implement a use case, only to find that a lack of up-front planning provided obstacles to measuring its effectiveness. Recently, the Zion & Zion team went through this with a client. The client executed an offer test in multiple markets but did not involve the Zion & Zion team’s Analytics and Data Engineering people in advance, meaning certain steps were overlooked. Therefore, the test was unable to generate conclusive results. To solve this for your organization, you’ll want to involve stakeholders who can help you facilitate an effective testing strategy, and determine metrics for success.

Step 6: Progress with The “Crawl, Walk, Run” Approach
Let’s talk about The “Crawl, Walk, Run” Approach. A CDP use case can start off as a Crawl use case. Then, through additional segmentation, can become a Walk use case. Through more segmentation, it can become a Run use case.  

The following progressive framework is one that we at Zion & Zion use to help global CDP clients get unstuck.

The Crawl Phase

Let’s start with cart abandonment. It’s OK that this use case is completely generic and will do almost nothing to differentiate your business from your competitors. It isn’t about strategy at this point, it’s about practice. It’s about speed. 

In fact, a cart abandonment use case may simply be a “parity use case,” where your organization already delivers this functionality another way. Don’t worry about that… Just keep going.

The Walk Phase

It’s time to get into segmentation! Segmenting an audience is a key approach to progressing use case complexity through more refined targeting. It helps create more tailored experiences that better align customer and business objectives.

Ask yourself the following question, “I have an audience of cart abandoners, now ‘which abandoners’ would I want to treat one way versus another way?” The answer is that you’d likely want to treat anonymous abandoners differently than known abandoners.

The Run Phase

In the Run phase, we can keep progressing with segmentation and personalization. 

Referring to the diagram below, let’s look at the left branch of the tree. For our cart abandonment use case, we could ask ourselves, “Which anonymous people would I want to treat differently than other anonymous people?” We’d want to segment those who have abandoned their cart before versus those who have not abandoned their cart before. Now, let’s look at the right branch of the tree. We would ask, “Which known people would I want to treat differently than other known people?” In this case, we could segment frequent buyers versus infrequent buyers.

At this point, you can see the pattern, approach, and value. For example, you wouldn’t want to provide the same offer to a frequent buyer who abandoned their cart versus an infrequent buyer.

How to refine a CDP use case

Step 7: Evolve and Prune
It’s untenable for an organization to maintain hundreds of use cases simultaneously because these use cases will inevitably conflict with each other. An “Evolve and Prune“ strategy must be deployed. You can take stock of your use cases, refine them, and weed defunct ones out. Use this strategy to hone in on a  multi-dimensional framework for your organization.
Step 8: Acknowledge and Reward Extreme Collaboration
When you see teams engaging in Value Creation at the intersection of functions, be sure to acknowledge and reward that behavior. This needs to move from being the exception to being the rule.

In conclusion, we hope you’ve enjoyed our eight-step organizational roadmap to CDP and CX transformation. We covered the importance of creating internal CDP champions, resource distribution, the adoption curve, and The “Crawl, Walk, Run” Approach. Plus, we discussed actionable next steps to ensure your CDP provides value beyond implementation. 

For more resources on how Zion & Zion partners with Tealium, watch my panel, Leveraging Customer-Centric Solutions in a Changing Digital Environment.

Post Author

Aric Zion
Aric is CEO at Zion & Zion, a leading Tealium implementation and strategy partner.

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