It can be easy to get started with a CDP without a holistic plan in place. One value-driving feature is all it takes.
There is not a right or wrong way to get started. Even with plans in place before the customer data platform came along, it can become fast-evident that these original plans must be revised. There are various reasons we end up here. A better understanding of new capabilities. Low hanging fruit can only be picked once. Whatever the reason, we end up saying "now what?" when:
- we are developing a revised plan for using our customer data platform, or
- we are seeking to institutionalize a first-party data program with the CDP at or attached to the core, or
First-party data programs by accident
Most don't seek out to build a "first-party data program" by name, but have such programs in place because data has been part of the mission for a while. For example, when:
- Customer data or other proprietary data generated by your business are purposefully used to drive optimization
- Data collection is part of proactive planning -- e.g. what new data could be collected to support or extend our work?
That first-party data program is institutionalized when it extends beyond marketing, usually because one of these things is true:
- Teams with non-marketing functions are actively involved in generating and using customer data
- New products or lines of business are created based on this first-party data
First-party data programs on purpose
All or parts of the above can happen organically, but at the "now what?" point it is time to institutionalize a first-party data program with intent. Incremental expansion in marketing can be planned out. New products or lines of business can be considered periodically based on under-served audiences, garnered feedback, etc. If the CDP has been a marketing-only project, other ways this platform might fit into current data architecture can be considered along with friends in IT. Get excited! Support and billing departments produce some of the best customer data to round out customer profiles within the customer data platform.
The goal: be prepared
Plan out how the customer data platform will be used in near- and long-term initiatives across channels and functions. Then change the plans, but always approach the near-term goals with the long-term goals in mind, and opportunities for efficiencies and improving speed-to-market will appear before you.