For data-driven marketers, getting your martech stack right is the key that unlocks the door to untold opportunity and transformational customer experiences. In an ideal martech environment, where all platforms are tied together by a unified data framework, the entire business can benefit and take action based on real-time informed insight.
Yet for many marketers, piecing together the martech puzzle remains a challenge. There are many questions to consider:
- What martech platforms do I need within my business?
- How can I ensure platforms are correctly implemented, integrated and optimised?
- What data strategy and frameworks do I need to support an unsiloed, unified environment?
- How can I make the most of existing and new platform investments to drive real value and ROI?
And those questions are just at a top level.
Including a customer data platform (CDP) in their martech stack is (one of many) attractive martech answers, for many marketers who are looking to limit data fragmentation and achieve a unified, omnichannel approach. So what is a CDP? What benefits can CDPs unlock – and how can you tell if a CDP, or another data solution, is the best for your organisation’s tech stack?
Should Marketers Look to Invest in CDPs?
Although CDPs work to centralise data across multiple sources for a unified database, as there’s no one single formula that all CDP solutions follow (and as there are multiple diverse, ever-evolving and maturing data solutions on the market today), it can be complex to understand what each one does, and which is the best fit.
Indeed, CDP confusion is a common challenge that Acxiom helps customers address; the CDP Institute itself recognises over 100+ CDP solutions, and Acxiom is also tracking the landscape to make informed solution recommendations to clients, dependent on their requirements.
Whether marketers are considering a CDP investment, or looking to evolve and optimise their martech stack, a common question is “Is a CDP the right solution to unify my data, and do I need one in my martech stack?”
The answer here is typically dependent on the organisation’s unique position, existing frameworks and technology. And with vendors evolving their positioning and technology, the scope of CDP capability, standard features and support can vary greatly.
What Are The Benefits Of A CDP?
Despite the variety of CDP solutions, support and features available on the market, most CDP vendors say their solutions can address a number of common challenges – to support and solve:
- Marketing Fragmentation – Working to create a single customer view across marketing channels.
- Digital and Offline Integration – Most CDP solutions support standard connections for source systems such as marketing applications and CRMs – a requirement to collect and integrate customer data from digital and offline sources, and support data integration.
- Identity Management – CDP solutions should be able to create universal and persistent consumer views, using identity resolution to create accurate profiles of individual customers visitors or prospects across touchpoints.
- Segmentation – CDP solutions should work to create segments for real-time marketing applications, and enable marketers to make segment data immediately (often instantly) available for use in other marketing applications.
- Data Silos – CDPs help to expose data to other systems, including customer analytics, customer engagement platforms and more.
- Governance and Legislation. Governance and privacy legislation compliance (such as with GDPR and the CCPA) are crucial for any data solution, and help marketers to maintain a transparent, responsible and secure approach to data.
Considering this, investing in a CDP to achieve a centralised, omnichannel solution may seem an obvious choice – and for some organisations they are! – yet it’s important to keep in mind that as capability can vary between vendors, a CDP may still require support from other technologies in the tech stack, and may need advice and consultation from a data and technology expert to be truly optimised for real value.
For this reason, and because different marketers and organisations have differing requirements, data ecosystems and existing martech, it often helps to consult a data partner to identify:
- What platforms or tools can help you meet your goals.
- If a CDP (or another solution such as a Unified Data Framework, or a combination or tools) is the best option for your organisation.
- How you can optimise your existing CDP and martech stack.
- And, how to consider your martech and data strategies together for a unified, effective approach.
How Can You Optimise To Ensure Value From Your CDP?
If you do have a CDP solution, or are looking for one, what can you do to optimise it to ensure it delivers best value, performance and ROI?
As a substantial enterprise solution, it’s important to make sure your CDP is the right martech solution for your business goals – so key considerations may be:
- Can the solution provide a truly unified foundation for closed-loop, omnichannel marketing and advertising ecosystem?
- Does it help to align data across digital and offline channels?
- Can it resolve identity across known and anonymous?
- Does it support optimal marketing stack evolution, and integration needed for scale? (Some CDPs conversely take a “rip and replace” approach).
- Will it support closed-loop measurement and analytics?
- Is the platform (and your team) well supported – through integration, implementation, campaign strategy, analytics and reporting and day-to-day management?
As implementing such a substantial solution across an enterprise can be a complex challenge, with many considerations to ensure ROI, many organisations choose an expert data partner to advise on the best path to drive success for the organisation uniquely.
With many standpoints, most organisations are likely either:
- Looking for solution options, and considering if a CDP is the right fit for their business
- Looking to purchase a CDP solution, and considering how to make their implementation successful
- Reviewing how to optimise and integrate an existing CDP solution with their martech ecosystem – and investigating how to educate the wider team on how to use it to drive value.
- Or, may have invested in a best of breed MarTech stack, and are considering replacing it with a CDP – or investigating alternatives.
Whatever your standpoint on a CDP, Acxiom can help to advise, support and enhance your current martech stack and platforms. With a services framework to help you navigate through the CDP / MarTech landscape, we support clients at all stages, from initial platform decisions (mapped to business requirements etc), through to on-going run & support services.