Establishing a CDP with Google Cloud

2023-02-08 | Article | Insights

Factors to consider when building a Customer Data Platform

When buying or building a Consumer Data Platform there are several factors to consider. Not all CDPs are the same and solve all marketing challenges. Evaluating your existing technology, business requirements, and available data is critical before investing in a CDP. Your specific needs for today and tomorrow should be the priority as you develop your CDP strategy.

Two ways to establish a CDP

There are two ways to establish a CDP. The first one involves working with an independent software partner on an out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution. The OOTB is a ready-to-use software solution with pre-built components. These solutions are well-tested and offer a broad variety of features. OOTB solutions can be implemented within a few months. However, OOTB solutions provide limited flexibility and limited customization. Future capabilities of the software can be determined by the vendor roadmap and not your company's internal needs. As your CDP strategy evolves you might find yourself in a position where your demands exceed the offered features of the platform e.g. when structuring data specific to your company's needs, connecting to internal legacy systems, or when fine-tuning access rights.

The second approach to establishing a CDP in contrast to an OOTB solution is to build a customized Customer Data Platform by developing and configuring the data processing capabilities of the CDP with a system that fits exactly your company. It does not mean starting completely from scratch. In most cases, you will be able to use components of existing software e.g. for the front end of your CDP. However, the backbone of the CDP, the data management capabilities will be set up with a system matching exactly your company's requirements. A custom CDP allows greater control of features and ensures functionality that the platform fits your future strategy. For example, unique data sets, legacy APIs, and internal systems unique to each company can be integrated into the platform without relying on an external software vendor. An individually built CDP can take longer to implement and investment costs are higher than with an out-of-the-box solution, but short-term wins are possible.

CDP in Google Cloud

Building a custom Customer Data Platform necessitates a robust infrastructure. Utilizing Google Cloud as the underlying platform provides distinct benefits, such as seamless integration with Google Marketing Platform's extensive advertising suite. This enables the direct processing and enrichment of raw data from marketing channels within the CDP. Implementing raw data from Google Marketing Platform on other major cloud providers, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, requires extensive setup and incurs higher costs. Service Level Agreements, which guarantee specified uptime, are a standard feature across cloud platforms to ensure reliable accessibility of the CDP. The location of data storage and processing can also be determined to ensure, for example, data processing within the European Union.

Deep dive CDP architecture

How could a CDP architecture look like in Google Cloud? The CDP can be divided into three parts: 1. Collect and Transform, 2. Analyze and Visualize and 3. Activate in real-time.

The first part aims to break down data silos by connecting data from source channels, such as CRM data, website analytics data, social media channel data, and app data. Data will be transformed and joined from these different sources into one view for a holistic view of the consumer. Choosing Google Cloud allows for the export of data from other Google tools, such as Google Analytics, Firebase, Google Ads, and Display & Video 360, within a few clicks.

Once the data is brought together, it can be analyzed and visualized. Google Cloud AI and ML capabilities, from tools such as Vertex AI, allow for gaining additional insights not visible to the human eye. Dashboarding tools, such as Looker and Looker Studio, enable self-service analytics with a set of marketing and consumer analytics blocks and allow for sharing insights across the organization.

To make the most out of the CDP data, the previously gained insights must be acted on. To optimize marketing performance, the transformed data can be activated in tools such as Google Ads and other marketing platforms. Personalized recommendations can be used to surface the right products and offers to consumers at the right time. A custom CDP provides the flexibility to connect to any activation system of choice.

Our recommendation

Based on our experience it is beneficial for most clients to focus on an independent service vendor to build a CDP. Below, we have created an example of how a deep dive architecture using the three parts that are explained above could be structured using the OOTB solution Zeotap as the main audience segmentation and activation user interface.

In a nutshell

When building a CDP, a decision must be made between using an out-of-the-box solution or building a custom CDP. An OOTB solution offers quick wins and saves time and budget on building a solution, especially if there is limited capacity to build and develop in-house. Furthermore, a solution such as Zeotap is a benefit when using pre-existing Google products as pre-built integrations can be utilized. However, building a custom CDP within Google Cloud also has unique advantages, such as developing a platform tailored to your needs. This allows greater control and flexibility but also demands more time and resources to build.

Once you have decided upon an option and implemented a CDP infrastructure it allows ​​Trendspotting, Segmentation, Sentiment Analysis, Lifetime Value Prediction, Personalization Engine, Predict Marketing Outcomes, Purchase Prediction, and many more. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you would like to find out more about building a CDP!

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