Top 5 criteria to look for when choosing a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

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Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are not new, but their importance has grown significantly over the past few years as organizations have begun to recognize the need to have a 360o view of their customers. By definition, a CDP provides a persistent, unified customer profile by combining and harmonizing data from multiple sources and then makes this data available to other tools and systems.

An effective CDP can drive increased revenues by enabling the delivery of targeted, personalized content and offers to your customers. It will also strengthen your brand through tailored experiences and community-building activities. Finally, it can boost your marketing investment ROI as better data leads to better decisions.

A four step flow showing how a CDP is central to build a solution that can deliver personalized content to a targeted segment by aggregating, unifying and analyzing all customer-related data points.

A CDP plays the core role in enabling the delivery of targeted and personalized content

Choosing the right CDP for your business is essential to unlocking the potential business value that it can deliver. This choice also impacts the length of time it takes to start realizing this technology investment benefits.

There are numerous turnkey or customizable offerings available, and it is also always possible to build your own.

Here are some of the top five factors to consider when evaluating your options:

1. Breadth of pre-built data connectors for ingesting data

The primary purpose of a CDP is to collect and unify customer data from as many different touchpoints (i.e., data sources) as possible. The ease with which you can connect to and pull data from these internal (ERP, CRM, PoS, Customer Loyalty/Support, and other martech tools) and external (social media, public information, third-party tools such as marketing automation ones, etc.) data sources will play a significant role in how fast you’re able to build out holistic and robust customer profiles.

It’s also crucial that the chosen CDP provides you with the flexibility to create custom connectors to so that are no limitations on the types and sources of data that you can integrate.

This ability to create custom connectors will allow you to use existing internal and external data sources to enrich customer profiles by unlocking current customer data already in your systems: loyalty programs, customer support systems, billing, and more.

2. Can be easily managed and maintained by your marketing organization with very little reliance on IT

Once the initial data connections have been configured and tested, the rest of the configuration effort should be something that marketers can perform on their own. It allows them to configure the solution to meet their specific needs while reducing the time and costs associated with the deployment of a new application.

3. Provides a secure and trustworthy customer data environment

Given the nature of the data involved, a CDP must adhere to the highest standards for data security and compliance. Solutions should provide data encryption between integrated systems and data sources while maintaining a secure authentication environment.

4. Data is immediately actionable

If your CDP can take on some of the baseline capabilities like segmenting customers and calculating marketing-defined metrics (such as Number of Purchases higher than $100), the faster and more effectively your marketing team can leverage this data in their campaigns. 

Of course, it’s also crucial that the CDP provides access to the raw data so that you can apply AI and Machine Learning (ML) models for more advanced use cases.

5. Allows easy connection to visualization tools, app development platforms, and workflow automation tools

To enable faster time to value and a lower cost to deploy with less reliance on IT and consultants your CDP should also be able to easily connect to visualization dashboarding tools, such as Microsoft PowerBI or Tableau, be consumed by low to zero code app development platforms such as Microsoft Power Apps or AppSheet, and be integrated into business workflows automation tools such as Microsoft Flow or Zapier.

In addition to these top 5 criteria, CDPs such as Dynamics Customer Insight also allows companies to access data unique to the platform

Want to learn more about CDPs and how Neal Analytics can help?

Contact us or check out our Dynamics Customer Insight Customer Data Platform e-book!