2 businesspeople in front of a whiteboard in a corporate conference room, discussing CDP implementation best practices
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This article is part 4 of a 4 part series, sponsored by Arm Treasure Data.

With the availability of massive amounts of customer data from more sources than ever before, along with GDPR regulations governing the collecting and usage of personal information (PII), it is more important than ever for large enterprises to get a handle on all their data and put it to use.

According to a joint survey conducted by Arm Treasure Data and Forbes Insights, U.S. marketers report that outdated technology, siloed applications and data, and a lack of quality “clean” data are the top challenges they face in making better use of customer intelligence. Your data is extremely valuable, and everyone in your organization is impacted by how well you can collect, store, manage, analyze, and apply that data efficiently and effectively.

The perfect solution for dealing with this type of siloed data challenge is a centralized repository called a customer data platform, or CDP. The CDP is the natural evolution of the CRM and DMP, unifying 1st- party data from any source into a single repository, giving marketers a cross-channel, 360-degree view of each individual customer and allowing for advanced customer-centric programs like omnichannel personalization.

Once you have taken the plunge and decided that a CDP is the right solution for your business’s particular applications and use cases, here are some important best practices and issues you want to consider that are going to make a CDP implementation go much easier and more predictable.

Related Article: An Overview of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

Best Practice #1: Decide How Much Control You Want

As defined by the CDP Institute, CDPs need to be “marketer managed” to be called a CDP and not another data management solution. This basically means that a marketing department is able to run the daily operations of a CDP platform without ongoing IT assistance. It’s assumed IT or external vendor support will be needed for set-up and perhaps some data modeling work, but the rest can be managed without day-to-day IT involvement. It is up to marketing departments to decide how much control and management they want over their martech CDP solution.

Marketers for years have been lamenting the amount of control and oversight IT has on their martech and data, and the CDP is software that reacts to those concerns by being marketer-manageable. Marketers do not have to take on this level of ownership, they can decide to have business ownership and not operational ownership over the platform, but they would just be punting to the tech team. CDP management and operation is an area where marketers can begin to take the reins on managing data, and show the business they can handle it without IT supervising every move.

Related Download: How to Evaluate a CDP: 4 Top Considerations

Best Practice #2: Bring as Much Data as You Can

Your new CDP’s lifeblood is data. It’s primary function is to hoover up data from different sources, then integrate that data by performing tasks like profile unification, and then pushing it out to relevant tech platforms to help drive strategies like omnichannel personalization. But to do that first you need to retrieve data from upstream applications and import it into the CDP. Look for a CDP that has built-in ETL capabilities, this will save you effort in data preparation so you don’t have to manually clean all your data sources for ingestion. After your data is processed and unified in the CDP, it can be analyzed and output to downstream applications. How you collect and ingest data and how it flows between applications and databases makes a big difference on how complete and useful that information is going to be down the line.

Best Practice #3: Use API Connectors for Easier Integration

CDPs have been designed to make integration with other software systems relatively easy. Many CDPs have connectors, or hooks, built into them, such as APIs that allow easier integration with other systems. But just because integration is easier with a CDP does not mean that it is an automatic process. Some CDPs will publish an API to exchange data, and in these instances integration will be tougher and may need internal IT support, or vendor assistance. Look for a CDP like the Arm Treasure Data Enterprise CDP which has over 120 plug-and-play connectors for much easier integration.

Related Download: How a CDP Can Help Retailers Improve Customer Segmentation

Best Practice #4: Understand How GDPR Impacts Your Company

GDPR regulations affect any organization that maintains the data of an EU citizen. So even though your company may not be based in the EU, it may be subject to its regulations. The implications for companies and their marketers are extensive and need serious consideration when implementing a CDP.

For example, if a U.S. company uses cookies on its website and an EU citizen visits that site, if that data is collected in web forms, you will be subject to GDPR. Basically, anytime that any data on an EU citizen is stored, it’s subject to GDPR. There is no simple solution to getting compliant. Being in compliance with GDPR will involve an extended team in your organization that will need to do data assessments, develop new processes, and apply more stringent controls on how you collect, use and share EU citizen data.

Conclusion

Once you have done your evaluation and brought the right CDP and vendor in-house for your organization, you’ll want to plug it into the rest of your martech stack, so it can do what it’s meant to do — collect, store, analyze, segment, and deliver data to help drive omnichannel personalization campaigns.

To help the implementation move as smoothly as possible, spend some time thinking about how operational and management duties will be split up between marketing and IT, spend time understanding the types of data you’ll need for a robust customer profile, make sure you leverage built-in connectors to limit custom integration work, and ensure you understand how GDPR affects your company and how these process and rules need to be incorporated into your CDP implementation.