20 things to look for in a CDP vendor

    Last updated: June 7, 2024

    Customer data platforms can help companies of all sizes harness their data to save time and grow their audiences. 

    But there are more vendors than ever on the market – and not every tool will work for your company’s individual needs, industry, and tech stack. 

    Maybe your CDP accommodates your whole data set today, but it can’t scale alongside your business. So after taking the time to research, demo, buy and implement a CDP, you need to do it all again three years later. 

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    Or your CDP doesn’t integrate with your most important marketing tools, so you need to manually send performance data and contact information between the tools just to run a drip campaign. 

    Your CDP might ingest and manage your audience data just fine. But if you can’t use your CDP data to personalize your communications, or drive leads from your content, you’re still missing chances to grow your audience and maximize your revenue potential. 

    Making the wrong choice could cost you thousands of dollars in opportunity and implementation costs. But choosing the right CDP helps you run campaigns and connect with your audience more effectively, all with less time and expense than ever. 

    So in this post, we’re giving you the intel you need to vet your CDP vendors – and find the tool that’s right for you. 

    Benefits of a CDP

    Regardless of your company size or use case, look for a customer data platform that can help you achieve the following: 

    Establish a single view of your audience

    Customer data platforms collect data from every touchpoint you use to connect with them — from email and social media to display ads, events, etc. — and store it in one place. 

    Then they automatically clean and unify that data so you can establish a single profile of each audience member across every channel. This means you can track each interaction that each person has with your company, across all platforms, and you don’t have any duplicate profiles that distort your view of that person.

    Connect online and offline engagement

    Say that a high-value lead attends your in-person conference. If you use a CDP, that person’s event data – every session, sponsor booth or breakout they attended – is automatically added to their pre-existing audience profile.

    Your sales team can then combine that person’s event data with their past interaction with your company to get a better idea of their needs. From there, they can follow up with more relevant messaging and move them closer to a purchase.

    Improve audience experiences with personalization

    Per PwC’s 2022 Customer Loyalty Survey, 55 percent of surveyed consumers said multiple bad experiences would cause them to drop a brand they liked. Another 37 percent cited a bad experience with products/services as the reason for leaving a brand, and 32 percent singled out a bad customer service incident.

    CDP data improves customer experiences by making them more personalized. The more data you have about your audience, the more you can tailor your communications, knowledge base and customer service channels to their needs.

    Create more actionable segments 

    The explosion of new marketing channels has created an infinite number of buying journeys, even for people in the same demographic categories. For instance, the person who’s checked out a few of your articles, then downloaded a piece of content from your website requires a different approach than, say, the person that’s clicked your display ads, then signed up for your email list. 

    Marketers need to account for these differences when creating segments. Since they take customer data from every source, CDPs make it easier to create these multi-dimensional segments. 

    You could query everyone that’s visited your publication’s website in the last three months, then segment your audience based on their past purchase history, previous engagement with your emails, or the number of times they’ve visited. Then you can create specific messaging for each audience based on how they’ve already interacted with you — and win their business.

    Cross-promote and upsell with eas

    CDPs pull transactional and demographic data that shed light on your audience’s preferences, interests and future needs. Using this information to upsell and cross-promote your products increases revenue, while also introducing audience members to the content they’re most likely to enjoy.

    Keep your data safe

    Under the GDPR and new American state-level privacy laws, audience members can ask for copies of the customer data, or request that some or all of it be destroyed. But if you have a CDP, all of your audience data is stored in one place, and each person’s data is unified into one profile, so you can query — and delete — their data in seconds.

    Supercharge your advertising efforts

    With a CDP, you can use your audience data set to inform your ad targeting and create more accurate lookalike audiences. This gives you more conversions for a lower average cost (and as a bonus, keeps your advertisers happy!).

    20+ questions to ask during a demo 

    During demos, ask these questions to ensure you buy the solution best suited for your needs:

    Data ingestion 

    • How many audience records can you accommodate? Does the price increase with the number of records or seat licenses? Use this to determine whether the CDP will scale alongside your business. 
    • What sources can the CDP draw data from? Look for a tool that takes in data from all on- and offline sources, from email and print to website, events, ads and subscriptions. 
    • How do you find primary, secondary, and tertiary data? How does the CDP ingest data (is it through API transfers, nightly file drops, manual processes?) How do you deal with anonymous data? 
    • How does the CDP create a single view of each audience members? How does it approach identity resolution? Does the CDP identify likely duplicates automatically?  
    • How does the CDP handle structured and unstructured data? 
    • Can the technology handle real-time updates? Can audience development, editorial and other non-technical teams run reports, create profiles and set up integrations without IT intervention?

    Audience activation and integrations

    • Does the CDP include website analytics to help us better understand our website audience? Can it convert anonymous visitors into known prospects? How does the CDP achieve this?
    • How does the CDP help us create custom segments using our audience data? Can we mix and match different filters to create more effective, multi-dimensional segments? 
    • Are audience members automatically added to a new segment as soon as they meet its underlying criteria? Or do we need to manually add audience members to new segments once they qualify? 
    • How can we send personalized and targeted messaging using the CDP? 
    • How can we use the CDP to track and coordinate multi-step, multi-channel campaigns? Can we do it all from the CDP? 
    • How can we use the data provided by the CDP? Do you provide lead scoring, machine learning and/or cross-channel orchestration? 
    • Does the CDP have native integrations with other tools, like an email and marketing automation or subscription management solution? This will make it easier for you to run campaigns all in one place.
    • What systems does the CDP integrate with? If no direct integrations exist, can you use third party providers like Zapier to connect my CDP to my other tools?  
    • What kind of reports do you offer?

    Data privacy and governance 

    • How does the CDP keep data secure? Does this tool make it easier for us to stay in compliance with state, national and international data privacy regulations? 
    • Do I need to update each person’s consent status manually or will the platform update their record automatically?

    Support and resources  

    • What kind of support is available during onboarding and beyond? Some solutions are limited to phone and email support while others like Omeda provide personalized integration setup and support for custom use cases. Before booking a demo, consider your team’s technical resources and identify the knowledge gaps you need an outside vendor to address. 
    • What degree of customization can you provide? 
    • What kind of customers do you usually work with? What industries are they in?

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