Using CDPs to their full potential

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At its core, the hopes and dreams of deploying customer data platforms were to create a streamlined interface that would allow robust interactions with customers, at scale and largely without too much oversight or human interaction.

It … did not happen. Many companies still struggle to realize a return on their investment from CDPs.

Yet despite the challenges, experts like Joyce Turner, Managing Director of Industry for Acxiom, still hold onto the promise of CDPs, and believe that with the right approach, CDPs can still deliver on their promise to use data at home. their full potential. We spoke to Turner about the challenges that still exist around the deployment of CDPs and what needs to happen for CDPs to live up to their potential.

Identify the right data

Of course, one of the key components of any customer data platform is its ability to ingest data, from anywhere, anywhere. In 2018 alone, we were creating over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. CDPs are needed to ingest data and produce valuable information at this scale. Turner believes some industries have a harder time identifying the right data to analyze than others, but all industries need to master the data. “Some verticals are data rich and some are not, due to their traditional distance from their customers,” says Turner. “For example, our recent research shows that CPG and MFG are the second largest investor in digital advertising, but CPG / MFG’s number one customer is the retail chain that stocks their product – they don’t. no direct connection to consumers that it might otherwise have. So, are they using customer data? Or do they use the sales data by category and not get the full picture of who is actually buying their product? If you are in a disintermediated environment, you need to determine who your true devotees are.

Build institutional knowledge

Rest assured, the robots are not coming to take your jobs. CDPs can be good at collecting data and identifying patterns in data, but it’s up to data analysts, data scientists, marketers, and other stakeholders to decide if these patterns make sense for your business. “Companies embraced the idea that CDPs were largely self-service and overlooked to account for the level of expertise and data insight needed to optimize CDPs. Businesses need data experts to guide CDP to produce better results with the large amount of data produced at scale. If you are implementing a fully self-service solution, nurturing positive employee experiences and having a strong retention strategy are key to building internal intellectual property and reclaiming the CDP promise, even if not. maybe not quite apparent at first.

For others, a hybrid or outsourced approach may better meet the needs. These models allow companies to tap into critical expertise without needing to develop any technological expertise in-house. But recognize that whatever approach you take, you’ll need human expertise to take advantage of what CDPs do well. “You need experts to drive the engine,” says Turner. “But be careful. The smaller and smaller your team, the more unique failure points you will create.”

Rethink your partnerships

Speaking of partnerships, it’s time to rethink yours. We live in a world where data is interconnected and flows through a number of different pathways, whether through IoT or from consumer to website with intent and consent.

But there may be a time lag between the data you want and the data you get.

Take the example of a CPG company, with milk as a product. Depending on how their data partnerships are structured, the CPG company may not get all the information about who buys their milk and how often – while at the same time, the smart fridge where the milk is stored or the app third party delivery where the milk is ordered may have a better idea of ​​a customer’s milk purchasing habits than the dairy company itself.

“We live in an age where all devices can share data and it’s not a big step for my smart fridge knowing that I like soy milk, half and half and eggs to connect it to brands that are care about that data, ”says Turner. “Think about the connections you could forge and the information you can gather about your customers by thinking sideways about the partnerships you have. “


While CDPs may not have delivered on their original promise, Turner still sees their potential not far away. “This is the most exciting time for someone who loves data,” says Turner. The possibilities are still endless for how CDPs can add value, just with a few tweaks to business strategy. By better identifying the right data to ingest, developing institutional knowledge to analyze that data, and rethinking who and how you partner to collect that data, businesses will be in a better position to take full advantage of their customer data platforms. “Sometimes companies focus too much on the upfront investment rather than the long-term cost,” says Turner. “But recovering the promise of CDPs is a long-term challenge. Companies need to look at the data they use, the partners they have, and their talent management plan to make sure the CDP is performing as well or better than expected.

Find out how Acxiom can relaunch your data at

Tim is the Senior Director of Research and Content for Simpler Media Group. In his role, he writes content, market guides and data-driven research reports for all internal and external clients of SMG.

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