Why Choosing a CDP is So Confusing

 In Customer Data Platform, Martech

In 2020, many marketing and data organizations will begin choosing a CDP as part of their efforts to improve the customer experience. What they’re likely to find, however, is that the CDP space is one of the more confusing markets to jump into: with dozens of new vendors either repositioning themselves as CDPs or acquiring companies to enable CDP-type capabilities on their platforms, the problem is only going to get worse in the short term.

CDP buyers need to go into the process with the same gusto as a Friday Night Lights locker room pep talk (“Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose!”). Okay, that’s probably too melodramatic, but the reality is that the companies who have clearly defined the role of the CDP in their business and believe in the transformative, strategic value of the technology are the most successful. Companies who prepare for only a single play— err, use case— don’t see the same returns. (Sorry, no more football puns.)

For marketers kicking off a CDP initiative, the driving concern behind a CDP purchase is likely around improving personalized experiences across different marketing channels. Because CDPs (generally) allow you to create audiences and engage with them, whether through your tech stack or natively within the CDP, it enables teams to create a unified marketing approach at the individual level. Thus, CDPs represent a potent part of the personalization engine and have quickly cemented themselves as a foundational part of the MarTech stack for many organizations

But there’s still the issue of choosing a CDP that’s right for your company.

2019 saw a whole host of new CDP providers enter the market. On the one hand, some marketing platforms have adopted CDP-like technology into their ecosystems, potentially creating a multi-tiered approach to the data that lives in that walled garden, separating that proprietary data from the tech vendors and data that live outside the garden. 

On the other hand, more niche solutions are adopting the CDP moniker without addressing all of the customer data companies have. There’s a whole alphabet of companies being tracked in the CDP Institute’s CDP Directory

Why are these things a problem? In our view, the value of the Customer Data Platform has always rested in its ability to bring together the entire customer experience by unifying data from any source. That’s why we built a data-first Customer Data Platform from the ground up all the way back in 2013— and have been working on making it better ever since. We believe that by focusing on creating the best possible customer data for all of your company’s customer-facing technology to work with, companies can work towards the holy grail of CX: a unified, single view of the customer.

That’s why companies that are laser-focused on the future of their customer experience look to CDPs as a transformative technology beyond just the marketing team. Since data is the currency upon which every customer-facing department works with, these companies are prioritizing the ease with which that currency can be exchanged across departments.

But with so many technologies utilizing the same language to describe very different technology solutions (tearing down silos! omnichannel! real-time personalization!), there’s a lot of work to be done when paring down your CDP choices, on top of other options like ETL and Master Data Management pairings or home-grown solutions.

To help you decide whether a CDP is right for your business and whether you’re getting the most out of your CDP project, we’ve provided fifteen crucial questions for you to ask your teams internally and of the vendors you choose to explore, with thoughts on how a data-first CDP like Tealium changes what’s possible for your teams.

Read the questions here for help choosing a CDP for your company.

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