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    Measuring CDP adoption: A comprehensive framework

    Implementing a customer data platform (CDP) is no small investment. And, to paraphrase Spiderman, with great investment comes great expectations from the C-suite. What they are going to want to know is also the hardest to answer: “Are we seeing value from our CDP, and what is the ROI?” 

    Many studies prove CDPs drive business value. They do this by:

    • Building an omni-present single customer view.
    • Creating consistent experiences across channels.
    • Informing the delivery of personalized content.
    • Providing real-time access to customer profiles. 
    • Eliminating redundancies through technology platform consolidation.
    • Creating efficiencies through automation and time to activation.

    However, they do this in conjunction with other systems, not on their own. This makes it difficult to understand the value contribution and prove ROI. But the following framework will help you assess its value.

    Dig deeper: What is a CDP and how does it give marketers the coveted ‘single view’ of their customers?

    The CDP adoption framework

    Driving greater CDP adoption guarantees additional business benefit. Adoption is straightforward to understand and measure, provided you use a comprehensive framework which looks at: 

    • Platform utilization. 
    • Organizational adoption.
    • ROI tied to CDP-powered activations.

    This framework will provide quantitative and qualitative data to inform your understanding of:

    • How far your organization has come.
    • How far it needs to go to reach your ideal maturity level.
    • What you need to do to get there. 

    Each CDP has its distinct collection of capabilities. That said, several categories of utilization can be analyzed for any platform as part of a universal adoption framework.

    Measuring CDP adoption: A comprehensive framework

    Here’s how to assess each of those seven categories.

    Data availability

    Your CDP is only as good as the data residing within it. The following chart shows how to assess your data.

    CDP - data availability


    Your CDP fuels the experiences you create with customers through inbound or outbound channels. To create coordinated experiences consistently, it must collaborate with all key platforms, including:

    • Platforms that decide what is most relevant.
    • Platforms that deliver those prescribed experiences. 

    Your CDP must continually augment profiles with signals captured from inbound and outbound interactions. 

    A well-integrated CDP connects with platforms that support relevant-time decisions without information gaps.

    A CDP that isn’t designed with interoperability will not provide the level of maturity required to achieve what most organizations desire — real-time optimization at the moment of interaction.

    Dig deeper: What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to privacy changes?

    Platform features ?

    The features available in any platform typically fall into two categories:

    • Features that were priorities in your buying evaluation.
    • Those that were not. 

    Too often, we find that those ancillary features are forgotten and under-leveraged. 

    For instance, just because you have a more advanced site personalization platform doesn’t mean you can’t find opportunities to leverage out-of-the-box site personalization capabilities. They are usually fast to implement as the integration is pre-built.

    User community access

    While marketers are usually the driving force behind adoption, CDPs aren’t just for them. It is essential to drive use of the CDP by people outside of the marketing department. This requires education and strategic partnerships.

    The fact is that CDP intelligence can have more impact on sales or customer service programs than on marketing which is accustomed to using rich first-party data.

    The responsibility for successful CDP adoption doesn’t fall only on marketing and IT stakeholders. A team focused on CDP success must include marketing, IT, marketing analytics, sales, agencies, product, service, creative and even legal teams to establish and refine new processes for providing customer experiences.

    Audience management

    This can be evaluated by looking at the following:

    • Access How broadly accessible are audiences across touchpoints, and how much are they being used in the platforms that are creating experiences?
    • Automation Leveraging more advanced techniques (i.e., creating event-driven audiences for use within journeys or automated delivery of audiences to activation platforms) allows for more time to support common urgent needs that arise within an organization.
    • Time to campaign How long does moving from ideation to campaign design to implementation take? A CDP should accelerate the process. But the more manual data and platform work required, the less efficient the process will be.
    • Use of machine learning (ML) When injected into audience management methodology, predictive modeling will increase the sophistication most marketers aspire to achieve in their personalization goals.


    Simply leveraging a CDP within customer experience programs doesn’t fully indicate how well an organization has adopted a platform. What you need to do is measure the ROI from use cases enabled directly by the CDP. This is achievable with some discipline.

    Whenever possible, leverage existing measurement methodologies and infrastructure to compare results from activations before and after using the CDP. Create a plan that clearly captures the KPIs, audience, creative and test group sizing before execution. Ensure all platforms and integrations are configured appropriately to support the execution and data capture required for the test.

    Identity resolution?

    Every CDP promises a single customer view (SCV). SCV can’t be accomplished without identity resolution, no matter the nuances in your data or mix of offline and online identifiers. 

    Ensure you’ve established comprehensive rules for stitching together all identifiers across all data sources. More importantly, all identifying events occurring throughout any part of the customer experience must be adequately handled by the platforms delivering those experiences. 

    Those platforms must capture all identifiers and their associations and provide that information to the CDP’s identity resolution processes.

    Scoring your CDP

    CDP adoption scorecard

    Quantitative output

    In looking across the above categories in the framework, record your current and future state maturity on a scale of 1-5.

    It’s important to understand that it’s unrealistic for every (any!) organization to score a 5 within all categories. This scoring should not be arbitrary. 

    At Actable, we have established clear definitions of maturity across multiple subcategories within each category we use in the scoring rubric. Define these guidelines before scoring to ensure you are objectively scoring individually or by committee.

    Qualitative output

    As you look at the gap between your current state and target state maturities, what areas do you need to focus on closing this gap? 

    Perhaps data quality is holding you back. Or you need to prioritize building that missing integration that will enable a better understanding of customers.

    Or it’s time to implement a test of that capability or channel that you always considered a nice-to-have.

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    The post Measuring CDP adoption: A comprehensive framework appeared first on MarTech.

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