CDP Selection in Three Steps: What Matters When Choosing Your Partner

In the Marketing Leader’s Guide to Selecting The Right CDP Webinar, Jason Davis, Simon Data’s co-founder and CEO, speaks with Seth Solomons, Eastlake Advisory Group’s CEO (and former CMO of Equinox), about the complexity of finding the right CDP for your business.


The martech space is exceptionally complicated, with various platforms that should, but don’t always, work seamlessly together. That is one of the things a CDP can do- make your tech stack work better together. However, the CDP space is vast and offers a variety of solutions. Once you’ve established you need a CDP, how do you go about finding which one best fits your organization’s goals?


Step One- Problem Assessment

What is your goal for a CDP?


If you’re like most companies, you have lots of data. You might even have too much data. This information overload makes it difficult to know what is valuable and which data points garner insights. As is, your data points aren’t properly driving your strategy. If that’s the case, it’s not necessarily your fault.

 Data is…

  • Hard to use to drive marketing outcomes
  • Tricky to identify customer personas
  • Difficult to operationalize to make sure your marketing is optimized
What problems can a CDP fix?


In short, there’s room for growth being left on the table by underutilizing your data. A CDP should make you smarter through smarter insights, operations, and outcomes.  


Smarter insights understand how you can better use your data to know your customer. Gaining these insights lets you see potential opportunities to improve their experience. Next, Smarter operations remove existing friction around accessing your data. Instead of waiting for manually created segments, a CDP will automate that process for you. Last, smarter outcomes stem from using strategic insights to operationalize your data. The result is better campaigns, higher customer engagement, and ultimately higher revenue. 


Here’s what Solomon’s assessment looked like– Equinox had a tremendous amount of data. However, it lacked organization in a way that could deliver a better customer experience. At that time, they didn’t customize communications. The goal was to understand the club user and speak to them like humans, not customers. To achieve this goal, Equinox needed a basic ability to leverage existing data. They were looking for a way to clean and organize this data so they could use it effectively.


At this point, they were using mass communications. The goal was to personalize messaging and build strategies against journeys that mattered to the highest lifetime value members. However, another struggle was the difference between the physical and digital experience. Equinox is a luxury club but felt less so on the app. Without personalization in communications, it was impossible to achieve a cohesive customer experience. 


Step Two- CDP Selection

How to choose the right CDP


One of the most critical parts of choosing a CDP is making sure there is alignment and understanding. Does this CDP connect with your current tech stack? As previously mentioned, the goal of a CDP is to make all components of your stack work better together. To achieve this goal, it needs to integrate with all parts: email, social, warehouse, web, mobile, etc. You can gain this information through an RFP process. However, an RFP is about much more than integration. It is about understanding if you’re finding the right partner for you.   


Make sure that during the CDP selection process, you’re asking the right questions. Does this CDP understand your business model and goals? More importantly, do they understand which data is vital in achieving these goals? 


According to Solomons, the reason Equinox ended up choosing Simon is not something that anyone should overlook. What is the service model of the CDP? Are the team members motivated to help you solve your problems? In short, the white-glove service Simon Data offers ultimately pushed the RFP process in its favor. 



Step 3- Ready to Deploy!  

How do you minimize risk and measure outcomes?

The best use of data is to make your organization customer-centric. How can we use data to change people’s lives? Solomon’s answer- by switching to always ready model. Always on is too passive. It waits for customers to come to you. However, being always ready is being ready to serve and support them at all times. While this model is optimal, you need the right data and tech to make this process scalable. 


The best way to minimize risks is by understanding customers better to give them what they want when they want it. How did your customers spend money? What did they interact with? More importantly, how can we use our knowledge to add value to their experiences. 


Some examples of how Equinox achieved this was by switching from one size fits all to a more personalized experience. Rather than send weekly email sends, they started sending event-based sends. With internal databases communicating, Equinox’s marketing was orchestrated across all their channels, giving the user a unified experience.


The best way to measure outcomes is by aligning KPIs to the goals you are trying to achieve. Say you are trying to grow your user base, measure against app downloads. Or, if you want to increase your engagement, measure against open rates or unsubscriptions. It’s essential to choose the right metric for your company goals. However, it is also critical to make sure your KPIs don’t just focus on the bottom of the funnel but rather a full-funnel experience. 


Key Takeaways

  • Be realistic when identifying your problems 
  • Create a plan that suits your organization’s needs
  • Start small, but  with the intent to scale


Chances are your organization isn’t perfect. The good news these problems can be solved by finding the right partner. Recognizing the importance of finding the right CDP and asking hard questions during the RFP process is key to achieving your company goals. For questions on the RFP process or how to chose the right CDP, check out our CDP Buyers Guide!

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