At last: The starting shot for digitization strategy has been fired, and marketing is meant to be an important component of this strategy. In the course of implementation, a decision was made to use a customer data platform (CDP) to form a 360-degree customer view and automate marketing journeys in a real-time environment. This decision, in addition to an investment which is not small, has significantly influenced marketing processes and areas (online, e-mail, e-commerce and CRM) at an enterprise. In this third and last part of my CDP-series I would like to focus on the appropriate selection and evaluation of the suitable CDP-tool.
How to proceed during evaluation?
At the core of an evaluation are demonstration workshops with selected CDP providers. Like a good project, these workshops should be properly structured and prepared. For this purpose, the process should ideally be divided into four parts:
During the preparatory phase, the following should be borne in mind and allocated sufficient time for preparation:
- Putting together a project team from the participating departments
- Creation of a technical and professional requirement catalogue, including a setting of priorities of your requirements
- Represent your business model in use cases
- Creation of evaluation criteria.
The following assessment dimensions, for example, can serve as a basis:
- Preparation of an agenda
- Dispatch of a Request for proposal document as a workin basis for the provider
After preparations for the provider workshops have been completed and the providers have received the corresponding agenda, we can now proceed with the most interesting part of the evaluation: Holding the demonstration workshops with the CDP providers.
- Create the same general conditions for all CDP providers, i.e., the same group of participants, the same agenda, the same chronological sequence and time frame, and the possibility to represent their pricing and support services.
- Show, don‘t tell: Let the providers demonstrate their actual implementation of the requirement in the solution
- Analyze the results and ensure the comparability of the providers through a graphical visualization of the results!
For post-processing of pitch events, all information must then be checked for completeness:
- Are there any gaps in information left?
- Compare the workshop results: Have you already found your suitable provider?
- Consider all external and internal costs: Where do the cost structures differ?
- Implement a proof of concept: Can this test substantiate your decision?
A decision about final selection of a CDP is not easy, especially because each CDP has its own strengths and weaknesses and some functions appear to neutralize each other in the solution's big picture. It is therefore all the more important not to be deluded by first impressions of a lower price or a modern interface.
A comparability of all information is crucial for the decision to have a firm basis.
Introducing a CDP might be an expensive indulgence if it later turns out that the wrong solution was selected due to errors in the evaluation process. These errors can be avoided if the evaluation process for selecting a CDP is implemented in a structured and sound manner with the proper lead time. Preparation of the demonstration workshops is certainly the most important part here. The quality of the catalogue of requirements and use cases here decides how thoroughly the CDP is selected.