Serving Your Customers & The Recipe for Success in Choosing a CDP

It’s tough out there. Marketing budgets have been cut, teams are busier than ever, and resourcing is as tight as it’s ever been. 

Yet, despite all this, customers just don’t care. They expect just as much today – if not more – than they did yesterday. Your customers are as hungry as ever and you need to serve them.

Data is to marketers what ingredients are to chefs. Even with the fanciest kitchen equipment (or in marketer’s case technology), without good ingredients you’ll never serve a good meal.

Usable, accurate, and precise data is one of the biggest limiting factors for modern marketers. Every time you might try to “cook up” a new campaign data is invariably missing, incorrectly formatted, or just straight up incorrect. 

In my last post, I discussed the conundrum between packaged and composable CDPs.

As a quick recap, here’s the general landscape of packaged and composable CDPs. 


Packaged CDPsComposable CDPs
The positives…Streamlined workflow designed for key marketing applications and campaignsData flexibility, purpose built for your cloud data environment and modern data stack
The negatives…Severe data limitations across integration and ongoing data support and accessDisconnected workflows with campaign execution that requires multiple systems and teams for execution


Now let’s take it a step further. 


Option 1: Composable CDPs


Data is the problem. 

Your first stop as a Michelin starred chef–ahem, digital marketer– is a conversation with your data team around what’s hot and what’s new. 

Within moments, you regret having asked this question, and you’re overwhelmed with a dizzying set of technical problems and buzzy words like “Reverse ETL.” The data team is talking about building a kitchen from scratch and setting up a fully organic farm for the best ingredients. Why not just fabricate your own tableware while you’re at it? 

At one level this approach sounds great in enabling you to solve your data challenges with your data team, even though it sounds really, really complex.. 

But, as you dig deeper into this plan, you find yourself asking why you’ve never heard of (or used) any of these tools – and then start asking if any part of the Composable CDP was actually designed for marketers to use. You don’t really know how a sous vide works – and you don’t have the staff to shrink wrap, par boil, and do hours of prep every time you need to cook a steak.


Option 2: Fully Packaged CDPs


Packaged CDPs take the exact opposite approach and are designed to work out of the box without any dependencies. 

This unfortunately comes at two real costs. First is the cost of implementation – you’re effectively rebuilding what your data team has built and while the “out of the box” nature of these systems is prescriptive, it’s also costly and slow. The second cost pertains to capabilities. Whereas the Composable CDP allows you to specify your identity model with infinite precision to create the perfect framboise, Packaged CDPs serve up a much more consistent – yet at times bland – end customer experience.

On the one hand you have nearly limitless flexibility with the Composable CDP but that comes at an enormous technical and financial cost. On the other hand, Packaged CDPs feel, well, underwhelming.

Like setting up the right kitchen, your CDP selection needs to focus around two key dimensions:

Speed & Access: Ultimately your team’s success is limited by lead times and workflow limitations related to data. Ultimately, just as extra trips back and forth to the grocery store or a bad Instacart shopper can mean you’re cooking your meal well past dinner time, there are many things out of your team’s control that may hinder success in your CDP implementation. For instance, you may need additional IT support and resources to overcome data formatting issues and segmentation limitations. Waiting on these resources takes time, and can prevent your team from being able to move quickly and efficiently.

Quality & Prep: Your grandmother may have made everything from scratch, but in today’s world you don’t have time for this. Sauces, stocks, fillings, etc. – even if you have the ingredients in your fridge to make these, you’d still rather not. Finding the right mix of pre-made ingredients is critical. Hamburger Helper is certainly easy to make, but the end result lacks the quality your customers expect and deserve. 

The world’s best restaurants have figured out how to prep ingredients during the day  to accommodate peak demand at night during dinner. Your CDP should be no different: core problems around identity modeling, multi-channel data management, and lifecycle prediction can and should be handled flexibly by your CDP without making big sacrifices around quality or speed.

Ultimately, success lies in finding the right solution that allows your team to move quickly and deliver high quality results. 

As you’ve undoubtedly seen on late night infomercials, there has to be a better way!



At Simon, we’ve taken a unique approach that allows you to have your cake and eat it too. 

Philosophically, we believe that a CDP should work out of the box and satisfy core use cases & requirements of today’s marketing workloads. But at the same time, we’ve designed our core data layer to work natively with your existing data infrastructure in a way that enjoys the same benefits of composable approaches.

We believe in a world where packaged conveniences shouldn’t require huge sacrifices – both in terms of aligning with your data strategy and more importantly serving your customers well.

In part three, I’ll unpack just this – and show how modern marketers are leveraging their cloud data investments to drive powerful customer experiences.

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