In the present time, as most companies are in various stages of digital transformation one of the most prominent aspects of this large company-wide transformations is particularly focused on improving customer experience or CX by personalizing their experience with the brand, irrespective of the type of interactions or channels they use.
Therefore, while both CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and CDP (Customer Data Platform) tools store customer-related data and have overlap, we can think about an easy to use CRM as the execution arm of a CDP system which primarily acts as a data collector and thereafter acts as an enabler of “downstream execution” of that data, for marketing, sales, customer support and other departments in an organization.
Hence when CDP systems are integrated with easy to use business growth tools like a CRM or any other customer-facing systems, for storing and capturing information about customers such as their location, age, as well as data pertaining to customer events such as clicks, purchases or page views it can be used for advanced customer segmentation and modeling.
Hence when used rightly a CDP can act as the businesses’ entire technology stack for marketing, and help brands to arrange and coordinate customer data and thereby optimize the customer experience.
Nevertheless, as much like cloud-based easy to use CRM, the CDP market is also growing rapidly, however, CDP systems can be confusing for buyers, since just like a CRM, it is necessary to have a pragmatic expectation of budget and time that is required for a successful implementation, and thereafter rollout and subsequent ongoing support of a CDP tool, beyond just license costs.
Hence here are five key categories for evaluating this framework before integrating it with a customer-facing CRM tool.
There are five major categories for evaluation in this framework:
1. The product
2. The use cases
3. The deployment timeline
4. The platform architecture
5. The vendor corporate profile
Robustness and strength
• The ability to provide solutions in the environment of choice like private/public cloud, enterprise-owned on-premise, vendor controlled, and hybrid options
• The ability to handle a very high volume of data sources and complex data-sets from multiple vendors
• The maturity to integrate with enterprise sophistication/capabilities
• Out-of-the-box and strong feature-rich capabilities
• Ability to scale up and support future growth and broader usage
• Governance, security, and self-service features, which includes role-based permissions and activity tracking facilities
• Response time
Core CDP functions
• Data management: Collection, management, processing, compute, storage and transformation
• Data model and architecture: The ability to handle structured and unstructured and online and offline data
• 360-degree customer profile view
• Identifying and matching resolutions
• Audience discovery
• Ability to integrate with fist-second-and-third party data
• Built-in channel orchestration
• Ability to export, extract, feed external systems and vendors
• Speed and ease of adding new data sources
Extended CDP functions
• Ability to make decisions and suggest the next best action
• Built-in Machine Learning and AI
• Integration with existing data environments
• Native integration capabilities and reporting platform
Partnership and activation
• Partnership and robust integration with business tools, like easy to use CRM , and marketing cloud
• Capability to activate with both external and internal systems and platforms
Ease of use
• The ability to transform data while tracking changes
• Quick turnaround and ease of configuration
• Ease of onboarding a new data source or a data vendor
Analytics and reporting
• Out of the box reports and dashboard
• The ability to conduct an analysis of events, customers and interactions
• Support for integration with data science tools, machine learning, and advanced modeling tools
THE USE CASES
The use cases of a CDP platform may extend even beyond marketing experience, customer strategy, and service functions. In fact, the stakeholders in businesses lead this aspect of evaluation. This is because apart from a unified customer view, with an identified and a list of well-defined use cases helps realize improved business outcomes, which might include:
• Identify, define and help visualize and continuously update customer journeys
• By finding model look-alikes provide the ability to identify high-value customers even prior to their acquisitions
• Create segmentations and attributions
• Help in better and smarter targeting
• The ability to support customer look-ups if they are relevant
The speed of implementation is also a deciding factor while installing this tool. In general, this requirement includes an initial high value and high priority use cases and quick deployment in the journey towards an enterprise CDP.
This factor looks into the overall fitness of the platform with its evolving architecture, IT and business needs, which also includes possible complex configurations, on-premise vs. cloud, and customizations required with particular emphasis on the following areas, which are most often undertaken by the enterprise architecture team:
• Data security
CORPORATE PROFILE OF THE VENDOR
Lastly, one must also consider the health of the CDP vendors in terms of their analyst ratings, reputation, size and scale, talent pool available, proven industry experience, and unique patents and value-added intellectual properties, which are mostly scored and evaluated by the procurement teams.
Even though integrating a CDP with business growth technology and solutions is a time consuming and rigorous process, but CDP when integrated with CRM solutions be it Salesforce or any other Salesforce Alternative CRM tools used by SMBs has consistently proven its value as it promises to bring all customer information, from multiple channels, geographies and brands into a single system and therefore provides an opportunity to gain a clear 360-degree view of the customers which helps in driving exceptional CX with a data-driven, flexible approach- which can be priceless for consistent business growth.