It’s no secret that personalization and data-driven marketing are driving incredible results for the companies that implement them. In fact, companies with data-driven marketing strategies are six times more likely to be profitable year over year. And 75% of those data-centric companies see increased engagement.
Which is why so many companies are currently researching or implementing a Customer Data Platform—a centralized hub where customer data is imported, unified, segmented, and used to personalize your marketing.
But once you know you need a CDP, what comes next? With more and more tools cropping up each year, how do you choose the right one? How do you go about finding the CDP that meets your business’ specific needs?
Step one: Identify your goals and use cases
According to a recent panel of industry leaders, the biggest challenge facing companies today isn’t the technology. It’s the strategy, people, and processes behind it.
Which is why we recommend starting with strategy before you start looking at tech.
What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want a CDP to do for your business? Are you focused on legal compliance with new privacy regulations like the GDPR? Are you committed to better user experiences? Are you frustrated with data that currently lives across 10 or 20 or 50 different tools and you want it all in one place where your team can analyze and use it?
Spend some time identifying your goals and prioritizing them. Which are short-term? Which are long-term? Make sure you consider both up front. It’s easier to choose the right tool for both your short- and long-term goals now than it is to have to pivot to a better tool in a year or two.
Step two: Research
Take your goals and use cases and use them to evaluate the options on the market. Come up with a list of the technologies you think might be the best fit and compile a list of questions before you schedule a demo.
Step three: Schedule demos
Lots of platforms look good on paper, but seeing them live can be another matter. Come armed with your questions and use cases and ask the demo team to show you how you’d use the CDP for your specific needs. If integrating with Facebook is a priority, for example, ask them to walk you through it. Is it easy? Does it require tech assistance? Are you able to do everything you need to do based on your use cases?
Get a general sense of the platform, but also look at it through the lens of your business goals.
Step four: Ask for case studies—and don’t settle for anything less than compelling results
If a tech vendor tells you they can double or triple your ROI or reduce your cost per lead, ask them to prove it. Look for tech partners who are already generating big results for their clients. Don’t be someone’s test case.
(Here are a few of our case studies, by the way.)
Step five: Visit your vendors
If you can, stop by the office. See how your top vendors work. Ask strategic questions. If they have a services team, talk to them. Get a sense of their knowledge and excitement for helping your business succeed.
Step six: Talk to their clients
Case studies are vital, but client references add another level of value. Ask for references and give them a call. How do they feel about their vendor off the record? Are they raving about customer service? Is the tech easy to use? What was their learning curve like?
Questions like these can help you hone in on vendors who are really delivering on their promises.
Step seven: Ask about services
Here’s a truth not many people talk about: Implementing new technology almost always means a learning curve—not just with the tech itself, but in aligning your teams, processes, and mindsets internally to get the most out of the tech. For the fastest and best results, you’ll want a vendor who doesn’t just toss the tech at you and say good luck, but who offers services, learning platforms, workshops, and high-ranking customer service.
Grab your copy of our CDP buyers’ guide
For more details on how to choose a CDP, what questions to ask vendors and how some of the top CDPs stack up against each other, download our CDP Buyers’ Guide.
Or, if you’re ready for a demo, we’d love to hear from you. Schedule one today.