Make the Case for a Customer Data Platform

How marketers can convince business leaders to invest in a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

As head of marketing technology for a large retail firm, Janet knew that integrated, customer-level data and analysis was key to delivering differentiated customer experiences. She also knew it was a Herculean task to connect the requisite systems, and even harder to show ROI for customer data and technology investments. After many long nights spent vetting the possibilities and potential pitfalls of deploying a customer data platform (CDP), Janet was now ready to make her case to senior management for why CDPs could consolidate profiles at the individual level and support personalization across multiple channels.

“To gain funding for this new marketing technology, marketers must master the truths and myths of CDP capabilities to accurately convey its value,” says James Meyers, principal research analyst, Gartner for Marketers.

Showcase an objective analysis by providing a side-by-side comparison of all solutions that would enable the vision

To make her case, Janet will need to explain CDP’s primary use cases, estimate its ROI potential and illustrate advantages and disadvantages to other technologies being considered. She’ll also need compelling CDP success stories to justify what is typically a new line item in the marketing budget. Below are the common components of a CDP business case.

Develop an effective executive summary

Explain how a CDP assists the marketing team’s primary objectives. If the team’s goals are to grow the business by increasing customer spend and reducing churn, show CDP’s strength in predictive models that recommend next-best actions and expose customer churn. If the team’s goals are cost optimization and operational efficiency, show how CDPs remove bottlenecks in marketing operations by enabling marketers to size audiences and push them automatically to execution systems instead of needing resources for manual exports. Include key financials like net present value and total cost of ownership to convey the business impact.

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Use metrics and examples to detail unmet needs

In your business case, list existing problems with data management, customer-level insights and enabling personalization. Include why the issues exist and what solutions have failed to address them in the past. Most importantly, magnify these issues with financial metrics that reflect their impact on business outcomes to create a sense of urgency for leaders.

(Quickly) articulate your ideal vision

Outline a vision that reflects an ideal, data-driven marketing operation. Concisely describe a fast and flexible data management system that eliminates siloed data, facilitates robust customer-level insights and enables multichannel, near-real-time personalization. Be mindful not to overstate the expected outcome.

Compare potential solutions

Showcase an objective analysis by providing a side-by-side comparison of all solutions that would enable the vision. Itemize your decision criteria by including factors around data collection, profile unification and 1:1 personalization enablement.

Detail implementation and success measures

Set clear expectations for when stakeholders can expect to receive value from CDP deployment and commit to a high-level implementation schedule for major milestones. Complement the implementation schedule with metrics that assess deployment success along with the cadence that sponsors can expect to receive updates.

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