Gartner Xpo 2019: The “Hierarchy of CDP Needs”


Despite the early hour, attendees at the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo 2019 packed into a 7:30am panel discussion entitled “Hierarchy of CDP Needs—How To Achieve Brand Self-Actualization.”

With more than 80 solutions calling themselves CDPs, the presenters—Craig Howard, Chief Solution Architect at the technology-enabled performance marketing agency Merkle, and Justin DeBrabant, ActionIQ’s Head of Product—joined forces to provide guidance in a crowded market.

Their goal: Ensure that, at the end of the day, businesses are able to “turn first-party data from a cost center into a revenue center,” as DeBrabant put it.

The CDP selection process is not simple or straightforward, according to DeBrabant.  Each brand tends to have its own unique constellation of technologies, capabilities and strategic needs—often these are as complex and nuanced as the data they want to wrangle.

“There is no single vendor is who right for every single organization,” said Debrabant.

Nevertheless, Howard and DeBrabant provided a concrete framework to enable any organization determine whether a CDP provider is the right provider for them. Here are some of the key steps they outlined:

  1. Determine strategy and use cases. By defining overall strategy, you can begin to define use cases. And these use cases are vital in determining whether a specific CDP can drive value for your particular organization.
  2. Assess your current stack and its gaps. Once you have identified use cases, you can assess your data and marketing ecosystem and identify specific gaps that you are going to need the CDP to fill.
  3. Prepare for organizational change. Because CDPs centralize data and decision-making, your organization will need to adapt. “You still leverage the same people, but their day-to-day activities will change,” Howard explained.
  4. Seek mature solutions. With many new solutions coming online, not all of them will be able to solve all the complex, nuanced challenges data almost always entails. Ask providers for case studies of customers with similar use cases to your own.
  5. Think short- and long-term. “CDPs are all about speed-to-value,” said Howard. They can provide quick wins. Use them to build momentum for the long-term.

From marketing to service to clienteling, find a CDP that can be “an enabler of first-party data across your entire organization,” concludes DeBrabant.

Watch the full panel session here.

James Meyers
James Meyers
Head of Martech Strategy
James Meyers is Head of Martech Strategy, coming to ActionIQ from a leading research firm where he studied and advised organizations on customer data platforms (CDPs) and customer analytics. James has unique expertise in data management solutions, having built and operationalized a homemade CDP at Lowe’s Home Improvement in addition to implementing an MDM solution there as a data engineer.
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