Posted on March 14, 2017 · Posted in Customer Data Management, Marketing

An update on customer data management (CDM) and more from expert David Raab

David Raab is a marketing technology pioneer, going back to the 1990s when “marketing” and “technology” were rarely found in the same sentence. In addition to frequent speaking appearances at marketing conferences, he has been a publishing fire hose on a wealth of marketing issues. Recently, David created a new enterprise to further his publishing: the CDP (Customer Data Platform) Institute. I caught up with David to pick his brains on this initiative.

Bruce: What is the overall thrust of CDP?

David: The mission of the CDP Institute (as well as our CDP newsletter) is to educate marketers and marketing technologists about issues and technologies for customer data management. The newsletter, in particular, is intended to alert people to events, products, and trends they might find useful.

We try to put each newsletter item in a larger context, so people understand how a particular announcement fits into the grand scheme of things. That means there are a few themes that recur, including:

  • Ever-greater variety of customer data sources
  • Customer identity management
  • Increasing ease of use for customer management technology
  • Industry-specific customer data products
  • Expansion of customer data management functions within customer experience products and suites
  • Fundings and acquisitions
  • Data privacy and protection
  • Growing use of artificial intelligence

Bruce: What is the history of the CDP launch?

David: We launched the Institute in October 2016. The Institute is a project of Raab Associates with funding from CDP vendors.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing my Customer Experience Matrix blog and doing my other consulting, although the Institute does take a good deal of my time.

I think the newsletter is a great way to keep informed of industry events and trends with minimal effort. The Institute itself provides a very important service of helping marketers solve their customer data management problems, which as you know are major roadblocks to success at many organizations.

Bruce: Is there a newsletter style that is working for you?

David: Most days there’s a common thread to the items, but that’s not always the case. I’ve recently been including more surveys since people seem to find them interesting. I keep each issue very brief — three items, no more or less, and usually just two or three sentences per item. The goal is to let people scan content in a minute or less and then click on a link if they want more detail. The links go to the original source materials, which are usually press releases.

In addition to the newsletter, the Institute publishes a blog with one or more entries per week and offers a library of papers to download. The papers include case histories, product descriptions, industry studies, and technical guidelines for product evaluations. There’s no charge for the newsletter or for Institute membership. (Click here to join.)

Bruce: Do you have a success story that can dramatize either the Institute or the newsletter publication?

David: Drama might be a bit much to expect. But we do know at least one RFP was written based on the requirements we provided in the library evaluation guidelines, and at least one deal has been signed with someone who heard about a vendor through the Institute. From the client viewpoint, we know that many hundreds of papers have been downloaded, so undoubtedly that’s showing some value.

Bruce: Which job title in an organization, (perhaps “data scientist”?) would be most interested in your work?

David: Marketing technologists would be the most likely title, if they exist. If not, IT or marketing staff charged with marketing systems. Also, it could be a CIO or CMO but more likely a lower level like VP or director.

Bruce: Does data hygiene fit into your bag? This is a common problem that even rookies can relate to. Perhaps you have a scary story of your own.

David: Yes, data hygiene is part of assembling usable customer data. We hear tales of companies that never took a close look at their data and found lots of dupes, invalid addresses, etc. There are probably some cases in the Library. See http://www.cdpinstitute.org/Case-Studies.html

Bruce: Of course I can’t end this blog without highlighting David’s glowing review of WiseGuys software, our own commercial platform, some years ago. For more info on David and CDP, check out David’s LinkedIn profile. We heartily recommend that you join the CDP!

Bruce Gregoire is founder and CEO of WiseGuys Marketing, in Falls Church, VA. In addition to heading up multiple CRM installations, Bruce teaches CRM in the graduate marketing department of the Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University.