Recently, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have become the latest three-letter acronym to enter the marketing glossary. CDPs offer many benefits to those who can successfully adopt and use one to enable their data-driven digital customer experience and marketing initiatives.
Some of the key benefits of a CDP include:
- Consistency of communication across channels
- Removal of the experience/marketing platform integration burden
- A single, fit-for-purpose experience/marketing-optimised customer view
- End-to-end experience/marketing attribution
Despite reports that up to 78% of businesses have or are developing some kind of CDP of those “…only 19% report having a robust set of analytics tools and technology services supporting customer-data-driven decisions and campaigns.” 1
There are two questions your organisation needs to answer before deploying a CDP:
- Does your organisation build your own or buy a CDP?
- What services do you need past the initial deployment of the CDP?
To build or to buy a CDP?
What makes CDPs so special that build becomes a viable option for Enterprises when every other part of their stack is purchased? CDPs are one of the few marketing, experience or enterprise software platforms where a serious discussion about whether to build or buy is being had within enterprises.
The main reason is that many enterprises regard their customer data, which can sometimes include decades of customer data, as an asset with considerable value. In some cases, the customer data may be the main asset that the organisation has. Given that, it is easy to see why putting this asset in a third-party system is something many must prepare to do. This is particularly true of financial services businesses such as banks and insurance companies that, in addition to being reluctant to outsource their customer data, may also have regulatory reasons for needing help to do so.
In these scenarios building your own CDP can seem like the only option despite the cost of not just building it but also maintaining it and keeping it in sync with an enterprise’s data sources and marketing/experience stack. However, it has all of the usual disadvantages that in-house solutions tend to have, such as:
- Increasing cost to maintain the CDP over time
- Detailed knowledge of the system is contained with a few key people, which is lost when they leave the organisation
- A growing reluctance to make changes to the platform over time as the cost to change increases and the detailed knowledge leaks out of the organisation, leading to the organisation fitting itself to the platform’s capabilities
- It takes longer to get new features and integrations as there is no forward-looking roadmap for the platform; it is enhanced reactively as needs arise.
But there is a better way to get all the benefits of an off-the-shelf platform without compromising the ownership of your valuable customer data.
For those enterprises concerned with data ownership and sovereignty but do not want to build their own CDP, the best option is for a packaged CDP that can be installed on your infrastructure. By opting for a non-SaaS CDP, an enterprise can avoid the cost and time that it would take to build and maintain its own without any of the concerns about hosting its most valuable data in another vendor’s environment.
n3 Hub’s CDP is a proven packaged CDP that can be installed in a customer’s infrastructure, which could be either their own cloud infrastructure account or on their own servers. Using a CDP with this characteristic means that the Enterprise can realise the benefits of a CDP sooner than in the build your own scenario and can avoid having to worry about how they are going to get their data back in a range of scenarios. With the n3 Hub CDP on premise customers have full access to the underlying data model and can opt to manage the platform themselves, which is sure to address even the most stringent regulatory objections that might be blocking a SaaS CDP deployment.
How to get the most out of your CDP post deployment
Generally, there are a range of deployment services that will help the customer get their CDP up and running with a set of use cases. However, past this initial set-up, there should be some level of support to help the customer optimise and extend the use of their CDP. Sometimes, the services are too expensive to deploy on an ad hoc basis. This is particularly true when the customer is in a different country or continent to the CDP vendor’s service delivery staff.
What this leads to is either an underutilisation of the CDP or big bang leaps in capability as initiatives get saved up until a big enough business case can be put together to justify the spending. This makes it much harder to bring initiatives live, and in a fast-moving world, delays can mean a significant opportunity cost.
Ongoing Service Model
To address this issue, engage with a CDP vendor with an established service delivery capability in the market that you operate in or purchase a CDP that can extend and be customised independently of its vendor without endangering its support. It is also good practice to engage CDP vendors that offer ongoing support retainers that include some level of consultancy and customisation with short lead times to enable maximum responsiveness to the needs of the deploying organisation. Alternatively, select a customisable CDP with good documentation, training and support to allow the deploying organisation to make changes to maximise their ability to respond to new and changing requirements.
n3 Hub provides a customisable and extensive CDP. Also, it has service capability not just for deployment but specifically to work with its customers to deliver ongoing and increasing benefits from their deployment. For n3 Hub, we need to be able to work closely with our customers to increase benefits from their CDP over a long period.