To CDP or not to CDP? That is the Question

Sam Fonoimoana

August 11, 2021

Shakespeare had it right.

I hear this question from clients and colleagues almost every other day. 10 years ago no one really even knew whether you could achieve a Customer Data Platform success, where all of your customer journey data is in one centralized platform. Sounds like a dream come true for any marketing and sales team, but is it really what you need?


CDP Overview

Centralizing all of your sales and marketing data in a single platform for a single view of the customer and journey. This is the promise of Customer Data Platforms or CDPs. Though the technology is relatively young, tens of thousands of companies have bought into the ‘notion’ of a CDP.

The great hope is that it will give them the insights they need to close more business.

The reality is Forrester and other industry experts are seeing heavy flaws with today’s CDPs. Inability to action off the data in key systems by key players, adding yet another large tool to the already bloated tech stack, and difficulty of implementation due to size and scope are just a few of the challenges you can expect.

Trusted Tools of Choice

Companies want customer journey insights to close more business and most have already secured the key tools in their stack to do that:

– Ad platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook, and LinkedIn

– Marketing Automation platforms such as Marketo, Pardot, and Eloqua

– Web Analytics from either Adobe or Google

– CRMs such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics

These are powerful tools designed to generate demand, qualified leads and close more deals. Practitioners of each tool learn to maximize these platforms, they navigate these systems nimbly and effectively every day and it becomes their tool of choice to build up prospects and sales.

So when someone comes along with another tool for them to use such as a CDP – even if it is extremely powerful – 9 times out of 10 they won’t adopt the new tool. That’s because a CDP takes you outside of the tools you use and trust.

What they need is more customer journey data inside these platforms to power-up their trusted tools of choice.

The Data is Only as Good as the Action it Generates

CDPs can deliver some eye-opening insights such as key content consumed before purchase. So can a spreadsheet that is carefully put together by an analyst. But imagine being able to action upon these insights in your email campaigns or website optimization!! This is like going from a 2D product sketch to a 3D working model.

Action speaks louder than data. The key is getting the data into the systems of action!

Micro Integrations

If CDPs are these large Goliath systems, than Micro Integrations are the David of this story (small, lightweight and very accurate). Micro Integrations send data from system-to-system and at the user level. This powers up every tool in your stack.

To be or not to be (actionable) comes down to having complete, usable data in your tools of choice. This enables you to close more business and beat your competitors.

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