Unlock the Data Vault: The 5 Critical Capabilities Your CDP Should Have


Unlocking the full potential of customer data requires access to compliant, accurate data that can increasingly be investigated easily with GenAI tools.

When it comes to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), the IT department can play a pivotal role by ensuring the selection of a platform that not only meets but exceeds the company’s strategic needs.

As CDPs become indispensable in leveraging customer data for driving marketing strategies, it’s critical that the IT department collaborates closely with marketing to navigate the complex landscape of data privacy concerns and the wide array of available tools and features.

A 2022 survey highlighted the importance of customer data and analytics, with over 80% of customer service and support leaders affirming their critical role in achieving business goals. This underscores the necessity for the IT department to be actively involved in the CDP selection process. By offering technical expertise and an understanding of data management and privacy regulations, IT can guide marketing toward a CDP that not only aligns with the company’s unique requirements but also ensures compliance and data security.

The process of finding the right CDP doesn’t have to be daunting. Through effective collaboration between IT and marketing, companies can efficiently narrow down their options to identify a platform that supports their data-driven marketing strategies, ensuring both departments work synergistically toward the organization’s success.

What Use Cases Are Important

The initial step in assisting the marketing and business analytics team with the selection of a CDP is to facilitate a deep understanding of their specific use cases. Marketing’s use cases might include crafting personalized messages for customers, analyzing their preferences and behaviors, enhancing interactions across various platforms, increasing customer loyalty, predicting future actions, ensuring adherence to privacy laws, or achieving real-time engagement.

By collaborating with marketing and other stakeholders to clearly define these objectives, IT can provide invaluable support in pinpointing the exact requirements. This collaborative approach ensures the selection of a CDP that not only aligns with these team’s strategic goals but also leverages data to its maximum potential, ultimately securing a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What to Consider When Evaluating CDPs

There are a few key questions every IT leader should ask to ensure they select a system that works for their near-term goals as well as their future challenges.

First, consider whether the data you’re starting with is clean. Accurate data is critical for identity resolution. Sophisticated CDPs will be able to link known customer keys but also intuitively fill in the gaps where keys don’t exist, using every available data point to build a complete customer picture.

When shopping for a CDP, look for solutions that integrate AI to enrich customer data and manage ID resolution. Ideally, the platform will be able to manage multiple forms of personally identifiable information (PII) for a given customer and link members within a household together. In addition, it’s worth looking into the CDP’s cost structure, quality assurance mechanisms, and contingency processes to make sure you won’t break the bank while keeping your data spotless.

Lastly, request real-world examples of ROI and value speed. Don’t just take their word for it—ask for the success stories, the case studies, and the hard numbers that show how the CDP performs. By thoroughly evaluating potential CDPs against these factors, you can make a decision that positions your brand for success in the evolving digital marketing landscape.

See also: Decoding the Customer Data Landscape: Addressing Privacy Concerns

The Pillars of an Effective Platform

With any CDP, there are several capabilities that you should look for. In essence, you should look for features that enhance data management and analysis, like advanced segmentation, to fine-tune your marketing campaigns. Or, look for a tool that offers predictive analytics to anticipate customers’ needs. Whatever your objectives are, the goal is to adopt a CDP that empowers you to engage customers and scale your operations as your business grows. Below are the core capabilities your CDP should have.

1) A single source of truth: Creating a unified customer view is the secret sauce of every high-performing marketing campaign. This capability allows you to bring together online and offline data to create a complete profile for every customer. When exploring CDPs, consider how they handle data integration and address challenges like invalid connections. The right CDP will offer comprehensive views that answer critical questions about who your customers are and how they’ve interacted with your brand in the past.

2) Intuitive operation: For a CDP to really prove its value, it must be as user-friendly as your favorite smartphone app. It should break down complex data tasks into simple, intuitive actions that feel second nature to users.

To assist with usability, some CDPs now come with Generative AI that lets users ask natural language questions of their customer data, removing the need-to-know SQL. This opens the door to democratizing customer data and making it accessible to all users in a privacy-safe way.

3) Enabling business impact: Look beyond the shiny features to understand how a CDP can drive real business results. Seek out providers who openly show the impact of their platform with concrete ROI figures and examples from customers they’ve worked with. Real results are possible, but not every platform is made the same.

For example, BECU—a local credit union based in the Seattle area—had accumulated a large amount of customer data but had no way to access it from a single place. Disparate systems kept data siloed, preventing the company from being able to analyze the information to pull its customer profiles into focus.

With the help of a CDP, BECU was able to streamline analytics and reporting processes, saving more than 26 hours a week on email dashboard reporting. Their platform also saved over 50 hours a month on outbound marketing execution. By being able to access insights faster, BECU was able to deliver a higher level of personalization and a better overall member experience.

4) Privacy and compliance: Data privacy is becoming more stringent by the day, meaning that your CDP must adhere to the highest data protection standards. It should have robust governance policies and remain current with evolving regulations, ensuring trust and compliance are always at the forefront.

Since regulations are always changing, it’s not just about having strong governance policies in place but also about ensuring these policies evolve alongside the most recent data privacy laws. This vigilance in data stewardship builds trust with customers and keeps your business on the right side of compliance. A CDP that keeps its pulse on these regulations and adapts accordingly is a CDP that positions your brand as a trusted, forward-thinking leader.

5) Growth-ready performance: As your enterprise grows, so does the data it generates. Your CDP should not just keep up but thrive as it manages larger volumes of data with efficiency and reliability.

It’s about ensuring that your data infrastructure doesn’t just respond to growth but anticipates it, maintaining performance no matter how hefty the data load becomes. This scalability is crucial, guaranteeing that as your business expands, your CDP remains a reliable backbone for all your data-driven decisions.

Navigating Tomorrow’s Marketing Landscape

As third-party cookies are crumbling, choosing the optimal CDP is an important decision. Careful consideration of factors like data integration, user experience, tangible business impact, and the system’s reliability and scalability is the best way to make an informed choice. The right CDP will not only align with strategic goals and comply with regulations but also unlock the full potential of customer data, catalyzing growth and fostering a competitive edge in the digital marketplace.

Derek Slager

About Derek Slager

Derek Slager is the CTO and co-founder of Amperity. He co-founded the company to create a tool that would give marketers and analysts access to accurate, consistent, and comprehensive customer data. As CTO, he leads the company's product, engineering, operations, and information security teams to deliver on Amperity's mission of helping people use data to serve customers. Prior to Amperity, Derek was on the founding team at Appature and held engineering leadership positions at various business and consumer-facing startups, focusing on large-scale distributed systems and security.

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