CDP Webinar Part 1: In the Making

Getting multiple CDP vendors on one panel to talk CDP RFPs and why it’s important to do so

CDP Webinar Part 1: In the Making
Published on
August 5, 2024

Starting A Multi-CDP Panel Series

Despite the rise in CDP software category over the last 10years, when David Raab first coined the term, you rarely see multiple CDP vendors on one panel.

The reasons are obvious – competing companies, especially in the early stages of a growing sector, will try to protect IP & sales techniques avoid cross-pollinating competitors’ brand awareness from their own prospect pool.

At Loop Horizon, we wanted to change this – driving industry transparency & connecting CDP specialists to discuss topics that matter to their key customers.

We therefore launched a series of CDP Specialist Panel Webinars, connecting multiple market leading CDPs & brands in one forum.

Our first session aired on the 29th of February to rave reviews with Twilio Segment, mParticle, BlueConic and MerlinEntertainments discussing Questions to ask in a CDP RFP.

As we now plan our 2nd CDP webinar, we wanted to share our reasons for starting the series, what we found out so far and what to expect from our road ahead.

Too Big To Remain Vendor-Led

With the CDP industry turning ten and almost 200 companies calling themselves a CDP by 2023-2024, it seems the CDP category has matured enough to start seeing multiple vendors finding consensus and discussing the landscape as professionals working in the same sector.

The impact this could have on the buyer’s education is unquestionable.

As a brand selecting a CDP, you will be trying to rapidly collect, analyse and prepare a vast amount of information to:

1. Gain enough knowledge about the software nuances,

2. Understand licensing costs, likely to set you back anything between a few 100K to a few million;

3. Plan out a complex deployment & integration, which will have a wide-ranging effect, impacting multiple teams and even business units,

4. Develop a comprehensive adoption programme requiring almost as much planning as the software deployment itself

Currently, this information will either come from the CDP Institute (which is absolutely the first site to turn to) or individual CDP vendors & System Integration partners.

How many individual CDP vendor RFP templates, white papers, webinars and keynotes can one person cover when shortlisting CDP vendors to gain enough insight to a point they are certain these are the top 5 companies for their specific business needs?

This would be remotely feasible if the teams behind the business case did this as a their full time job AND if the CDPs offered a comparable set of functionalities.

What Greater Transparency In CDP RFPs Can Deliver

In preparation for our first webinar, at Loop Horizon we discussed how neither of these conditions are usually met, therefore the industry does need to:

1. Share more information around CDP RFPs –specifically, what questions to ask & how to interpret the answers to ensure brands make the right choice

2. Share more cross-platform information to help compare and set realistic expectations to your future CDP partners

 In turn, this does have a potential to address common pain-points in the CDP industry:

1. Year-long vendor selection process as brands tackle complex roadmaps, varied functionalities, use-case approaches and commercials

2. Disappointment & failed implementations – either due to poor business & data readiness, low adoption & returns ora mismatch of expectations

 Speaking to our CDP Panel across BlueConic, Twilio Segment& mParticle, specialists agreed that, if these points are addresses early in the RFP process, the industry could be looking at:

1. Shorter CDP Selection & deployment cycles

2. More successful CDP deployments with fewer re-pitches after the initial contract term

3. True value-add business outcomes where a platform deployment accelerates business growth in a tangible way

 How To Ensure You Get The Right Information

The premise is simple: if you know, what you are buying, what are you buying it for, who and how will use it and exactly how much will it cost, and that it will actually do everything you expect it to do, it’s less likely that you’ll look back at your decision in 2 years’ time and be disappointed.

However, unravelling this will take time and effort – ourCDP  webinar specialist  panel agreed: a successful CDP RFP is a tall challenge to solve, especially for the first time CDP assessment & deployment.  

 To set yourself up for success, Merlin Entertainments recommended that brands connect with people (ideally having done this client-side), who have worked on CDP selection, deployment AND adoption previously to get some guidance, especially when looking for:

1. Assessing current Data, Tech & Business readiness

2. Technical expertise to shape RFP questions &interpret answers

3. Use-case development & prioritisation

4. Specialist procurement experience

Armed with this, and greater exposure to multiple vendors, you will be more likely to select the right platform for your business. And to also know, if and when you are ready for the deployment.

What’s Next

The full CDP Webinar recording of our first Topic on CDP RFPs is available to watch online, and we will be sharing further outtakes & advice in a series of posts on our blog over the next few weeks.

Here’s a preview of what we have discovered when talking to our CDP Panellists & what to expect:

1. Start with what data you have, where is it, what state is it in and most importantly - what data you need - your use-cases should drive this.

2. CDP functionalities vary drastically – make sure you’re clear on what you need and verify this will be include (and function as expected)

3. Do away with the RFP Templates – build one, based on your business requirements.

4. CDP commercial models vary and can be based on entirely different metrics – ask early, so that you can gather the inputs you’ll need to make accurate cost estimations.

Our next multi-CDP webinar is already in the works, so stay tuned for more & get in touch if you have any questions of your own in the meantime!