How do I know if I need a CDP?

Updated: Feb 14

If you need a quick overview of what a CDP is, and what this solution can do for your business, see the previous blog, What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

With the basics in mind, you need a to consider what criteria you should apply to determine if you even need a CDP. Here’s a logic flow that might help.


1. First think about the principles of a “360’ View" of the customer:

  • Contextual and fresh information in one “place”, that lets you treat the customer the way they would want and communicate on their terms

  • Information from around the business that allows you to make good decisions quickly about improving your 1-1 relationships

  • Derived and calculated data that lets you optimize revenue from your aggregated segments

i.e. Do you have enough consolidated information and context in your CRM (or ERP, ecommerce, SCM, marketing automation, POS, DW, business operating platform) for instant customer recognition/ comprehension what to do with your customers and prospects?


If Not:

Do you feel having this knowledge, awareness, and fresh context would give you significant business advantage, or would remediate some difficulties you are having maintaining customer relationships, closing sales, preventing churn? Can you use the status and awareness of changes in behaviors or sentiment to drive better communications, value presentation, service, or pricing?


How many major business applications does your business rely on which contain customer and prospect information? If you are outsource-oriented (perhaps partners and vendors contain information for you), add their systems to the list. Consider how long it’s taking to consolidate your business in a “critical few” applications; or perhaps unifying all your divisions into common application platforms is not practical.


How many systems do your customer service or selling resources need to open, access or reference to conduct business transactions? When customers connect for service, do the service agents need to put customers on hold or take time to consult other people and systems just to get basic answers?


Does your data warehouse or CRM contain all important transactional, behavioral, profile attributes about each customer?

  • For B-B, consider the following: account industry and scale attributes, leads, quotes, lost quotes and why, opportunities, lost deals and why, orders, invoices, shipments, returns, cases/issues/claims, loyalty, unique products, offers consumed or rejected, qualifying products not purchased, inbound and outbound messages, returns, repairs, IOT, campaigns.

  • For B-C, consider the following: demographics, campaigns, marketing segments, in and out messages, brand affinity and promoter scores, persona models, ecommerce behaviors, price sensitivity, orders, subscriptions, shipments, returns, cases/issues/claims, VOC, loyalty, unique products, offers consumed or rejected, qualifying products not purchased, inbound and outbound messages, returns, repairs, IOT, campaigns.

Can you call up a customer account and see the totality of that customer’s sales and margins, including trends? This can include many KPI’s and measures that are relevant to your business. For B-B, this includes the ownership hierarchy of the entire customer as well as subsidiary and regional level. For B-C, this includes personal and household aggregates.


Do you have a source of official scoring models to help you determine how to amplify revenue for customers and segments? Do you have models for churn or credit risk? Do you have any objective system of predictions for significant customer behaviors?


Do you lose business or momentum due to delays reacting to marketplace realities?


Do you waste marketing funds because your targeting approach is based on inadequate information? Or perhaps it just takes too long to sift through your information to send the right message to the right audience at the right time.


Do you feel your forecasts are based on the best information available from across the business, from the bottom up?


I’ll admit, most businesses are somewhere in the middle. And many business leaders are aware of the pain, but the pain is not acute. The organization may be a little numb, compensating for this in other ways (usually hiring analysts and extra headcount to work through the details). Perhaps you’ve been impacted by other reactive business priorities. Only you can determine if your business challenges meet the criteria for interest in a CDP.


One concern that holds many businesses back is whether the cost of launching and evolving such a platform would pay off in a reasonable way. You may have a sense that this system is interesting, but will it generate ROI, and when?


To that end, it’s important to know that an affordable mid-market CDP has not been available in a mature solution until the last 2-3 years. Microsoft is known for bringing once costly systems to the SMB market and shifting the entire cost curve. They have the scale to apply their Azure and data science investments to the average business, charge a reasonable price and make money. This is what they are doing with their Dynamics Customer Insights solution. And the CDP market is one of the fastest-growing SaaS/PaaS segments today. You can acquire it and run it yourself, or you can partner with an expert like Ascendant Group to help you design, launch, and manage this important business resource.



You are closer than you think.


For more information, contact us or take the CDP Quiz

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