If you want to get more out of your data then a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is the way to go. But how do you choose the “right” one for you?

The popularity of a system that can break down silos and both centralise and aggregate your customer data from all sources is on the rise. This ability for businesses to track leads and customers across all touchpoints and then deliver an engaging customer experience at the right time on the right channel is important to building the business and maintaining customer loyalty.

For businesses, getting to grips with creating relationships with their customers while managing big data is a challenge. Choosing a CDP can help. But there are so many out there, making the right choice isn't easy.

How do you choose the right Customer Data Platform for your business?

1. Determine your budget

Budgeting for a new system that will integrate with your business can be a minefield. You need to determine how much you're willing to invest in your CDP. Not knowing and going full steam ahead with researching and choosing something that your business can’t afford is a waste of time and resources. Of course, the right CDP will “pay for itself” say the vendors, but there are many factors in play and ambition must be matched to budget. A SaaS solution helps with lower capital outlays.

2. Involve stakeholders

Incorporating a CDP into your business is a large investment of time as well as money. Because of this it's important to involve key stakeholders to ensure team buy in.

Because the CDP will be centralising data from various places within your business, getting the relevant departments and business heads involved in the process is essential to understanding requirements and pain points.

Sales and Marketing Departments have a lot of relevant data, as do Customer Services and Support. And if you run an ecommerce website there's even more data. Maintaining dialogue with your teams and involving stakeholders during the buying process avoids confusion and clarifies requirements.

3. Why do you need a CDP?

What’s the reason you want to invest in a Customer Data Platform? Is it to de-silo your data? Or do you want to make a better connection with your customers and build loyalty?

Asking key stakeholders for case scenarios will help you understand what each department needs to fulfil business objectives. For example, your marketing team may have a real life case scenario of issues relating to email communications. Untimely emails may be being sent that don’t reflect customer journeys and recent experiences. This can erode the customer experience and potentially stutter future marketing campaigns.

Your sales team may report that it finds it difficult using and managing customer data.

Whatever the scenario, asking each department to provide cases will enable you to build a picture of what you want to get out of your CDP as well as prioritise efforts.

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4. What tools does your business currently use?

Do you have a CRM system? If so, is it being used to its fullest potential? What about marketing automation? Is it being managed in-house or by a third party?

Do you have customer interaction tools like web chat and payment processing? Documenting your internal and third party tools, and how effective they are to your business, will go a long way to identifying any gaps that need to be filled.

User cases from your stakeholders will add even more credence to the tools and potential shortcomings, which will aid you in determining the direction you want to go with your CDP.

5. Confirm exact requirements

De-siloing and unifying customer data are fundamental features of Customer Data Platforms. What other requirements do you want from your CDP? If for example, your focus is GDPR then a CDP with the ability to suppress data collection or delete customer data when requested should be high on your wish list. Some examples of requirements are:

  • Single customer view:  CDP with Identity Resolution helps identify customers across various channels
  • Understanding your data:  A CDP which can build a data-tracking plan and tag data
  • Security:  The CDP should have a credible security certificate like ISO 27001 or SOC 2

6. Shop around

When you know what you're looking for and how it can benefit your business it's time to see what's out there. Research potential CDP vendors. Are they serving other businesses similar to yours? Other due diligence factors to consider include:

  • Making sure the CDP can meet all your requirements
  • Can it integrate with your systems?
  • What aftercare support does the vendor provide?
  • Searching for customer reviews
  • Talk to other businesses already using the CDP in question

7. ROI considerations

Consider ROI as a financial measure of success.

The CDP you end up choosing should deliver value against your requirements and meet business objectives. A detailed document outlining costs, including installation, training and testing will enable you to make ROI projections a lot easier. The better the CDP, the greater the likelihood is that those set-up and management costs will be reduced, so do your homework. A CDP should both reduce costs and raise revenue.

Sitecore’s Customer Data Platform, which is part of the Composable DXP, delivers customer intelligence for the digital ecosystem. It will help your business improve data insights and segmentation for effective targeting and personalisation, all in a SaaS platform.

At Codehouse, our fully certified development team has been trained in delivering Sitecore CDP. So whether you're currently using Sitecore, or it's on your radar for a future transformation project, get in touch.