CDP Webinar Part 2: Questions our audience care about

What are the Best Data Sources For Your CDP?

CDP Webinar Part 2: Questions our audience care about
Published on
May 21, 2024

Our 1st multi-CDP Webinar focused on CDP RFPs and questions to ask during your vendor selection, however with a Live Q&A, it gave our audience an opportunity to ask other burning questions. As we prepare for the next live panel, I will be covering the responses to these questions in a series of articles.

We start with considerations for the Best Data SourcesFor A CDP (Customer Data Platform):

It might seem like an “on the fence” response, even when it’s not intended. The answer is: it depends.

Ultimately this will be driven by:

·     The state of your data

·     Data sources available to your business

·     What you intend to do with it

The state of your data

The reason I mention this, is some typical CDP datasources can be either very good or very bad – depending on how it’s been created, collected, connected, transformed etc.  

For example, CRM is usually seen as one of the primary targets for a CDP data source. However, if this data is ridden with duplicates, hardcoded values, fake entries and lacking consent – importing this data will only cause more pain downstream.

It runs a risk of compromising your CDP activations and a loss of credibility in insights it delivers.

Data sources available to your business

This point is more about FOMO on connecting the data sets that warrant a CDP deployment in the first place.

I see many CDP demos that focus on solely ingesting online data – transforming it and passing it to marketing channels to activate. It’s a great demo due to its’ simplicity, but if that’s the primary use-case, the likelihood is you don’t need a CDP to deliver it.  

Deploying a CDP gives you the opportunity to connect omnichannel data - bridging the gaps between your call centre, your POS and your online data in a single customer view.

That’s the real CDP power and if your business has the data sources to harness this, they should absolutely be at the front and centre of your CDP data model.  

What you intend to do with it 

Last but not least are your use-cases. Or in other words –what are you planning to do with the data (Including some key CDP Use-cases for inspiration – see page 9).

And this should be the top deciding factor on selecting your data sources and specific data points to onboard.

I will deliberately leave the data ingestion cadence & method conversation aside as this could be a separate topic.

Most CDPs will charge for storage and are not intended to be the main data warehouse for the entire business. For those reasons, most CDPs will advocate to only bring what you need (and one should question the ones that do not).

 This can feel limiting - and it absolutely is if you are after a comprehensive customer segmentation that will facilitate your long-term strategy.

However, there are also upsides to starting small and building over time, as this expedites your use-case creation and deployment;

·      thus proving value quickly,

·      showcasing ability to deliver ROI

·      and securing greater trust from the business.

The alternative could be spending an extended period of time in bringing & stitching all the data points together, only to realise these are not actually used by your teams. A caution here might be Gartner’s latest insight that only 17% of Marketers surveyed reported “high utilisation”.

In fact, the opposite will likely drive better outcomes not just for the business, but for CDP adoption as well:

·     Establish priority use-cases

·     Ingest the required data

·     Deliver results

·     Gather additional use-cases and new data points needed by Teams to deliver.

·     Repeat

Fine balance or miss-steps to avoid

Only bringing what you need is easier said than done for one obvious reason: whereas your CDP use-cases and activations can be temporary,your framework for your CDP data model should be sustainable over time

This is where planning for the future use-cases becomes key as you will need to develop something that will be able to grow with you.

While this may seem daunting, building out an activation roadmap across the wider business will bring a degree of clarity and confidence. And if you design with flexibility and scaling in mind as key principles, you will ask different questions and make better decisions due to the very nature of your approach.

It will never be perfect, but this addition is guaranteed to give you better outcomes long-term.


To summarise, there will not be a universal answer on which data sources are best for a CDP. Instead, the data you decide you bring should depend on:

·     Your business

·     Your use-cases

·     Quality & nature (and limitations) of datasources available to you

At this point, some other elements, such as the CDP you’ve chosen, the stage of your deployment cycle you’re in and your commercial model can also play an important part, but we’ll leave it for the next webinar!