What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a CDP

By / Marketing

Considering adding a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to your martech stack? CDPs have the game-changing potential for most organizations—from connecting disparate data sources and creating a unified view of customers to tracking brand engagement and unlocking opportunities to activate impactful omnichannel journeys. But here’s the thing: Your return on investment is only as good as your preparation. 

Today we’re sharing Amanda Cardona’s (MODintelechy’s Martech and CRM guru of 5+ years) compiled insights on “all things critical” when it comes to implementing CDPs—helping you avoid headaches down the road. More of a listener? Insights from this blog were also recently shared as a webinar during MarTech 2022, which you can sign up for and watch in full here  

So, if you’ve landed on this blog post, then you are most likely sold—or at the very least intrigued—by the idea of a CDP. If that’s the case, you’re also most likely in one of these phases… 

  1. Researching  
  2. RFPing 
  3. Closing 

No matter where you are in your CDP journey, there’s one thing that always holds true:  

Preparation is Key

If you’ve closed, congrats—you’re on your way for an adventure!  

Like any new journey, you should find yourself excited, and… probably nervous about not knowing what to expect—but that’s where I come in. The way to a successful implementation and onboarding is simple. And it all starts with setting clear goals.  


I like to focus on three key objectives when starting on a CPD journey:  

  1. Identify pre-implementation areas that require significant thought and preparation  
  2. Assemble a team within your organization that will help ensure a smooth implementation 
  3. Understand how to design actionable use cases  

The Journey Begins 

We’re all familiar with the honeymoon phase; that moment in time when you’re expecting and hopefully experiencing a monumental shift. You’re moving between excitement and terror over what’s to come. Hey, it’s normal! But it’s also a good time to attempt to set the stage for smooth sailing; or create a solid foundation, if you will. 

Setting the Stage for a Smooth Process: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

After signing on the dotted line, you’ll usually be matched with an implementation team from your new shiny CDP. 

While they are SMEs of their platform, they can only partner with you as much as you’ve prepared with an idea of use cases, data architecture, and the stakeholders—from implementation to day-to-day users both on IT and marketing teams. And ideally, some unicorns who speak both languages. 

Structuring Your Ideal Team

Structuring your ideal team greatly depends on your internal organization. One thing for certain, however, is you’ll want to focus on assembling a team that spans the hierarchy across departments: 


Asking the Hard Questions

Once you have your team in place, it’s imperative to understand the data your system holds at a granular level. If not you, this goes back to the team—find an SME or someone in your org that can help guide you through the process. 

 Next, it’s time to dig deep and ask the hard questions. Here’s a starting checklist:  

  1. What systems/platforms do you have? 
  2. Why do you use them? 
  3. How do you use them? 
  4. When do you use them? 
  5. Would they be useful to connect/integrate with each other? 
  6. Who has access to each platform? 
  7. Who knows/is familiar with the data stored within each platform? 
  8. Can you get your hands on a data dictionary? 
  9. How robust/informed is the data dictionary? 
  10. Is the data documented in a way that will help you determine a data 1st and/or use case 1st approach? 

Oftentimes, there are teams who know the systems like the back of their hands—recruit them! The magic happens when you can bridge between each other, or have a person who can contextualize the data enough in either direction. 

Why, you ask?

Your team and your data are the building blocks for your use cases—if you don’t understand this data, or don’t understand the use case, you won’t know what to pull in. Most importantly, you won’t understand how to best power your use cases, or what info you’ll need to tap into to make those use cases come to life! 

Reality Kicks In 

You need to activate on something. This is where the honeymoon ends, and reality tends to kick in! It’s not just “turn it on” and it automatically makes these connections for you. That’s where you, as a team of marketers, servicers, IT and other stakeholders can all visualize the journey and play your roles to make this system hum as it can and should.  

All that said, one of our favorite parts of “reality” is that you’re never alone. Do you still need help with getting started on your CDP journey? You know where to find us!  

Written by / Marketing


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