How Intentionality Can Make the Difference in a CDP Deployment


By: Lison Jullien, Head of Customer Adoption at Amperity

In my role as head of customer adoption at Amperity, my team and I have helped more than 100 brands deploy a customer data platform (CDP) and more importantly, accompanied these brands on a change management journey. What we’ve learned is that companies that see the biggest results are the ones with leaders who are intentional. It sounds simple, but it’s a difference worth unraveling. When on your journey to transform your business to a more customer-centric one, you'll likely find yourself needing to consolidate your customer data and make it available to the enterprise. Many companies do this with a CDP.

That intentionality shows up in three distinct ways: a focus on being deliberate, highlighting sustained effort, and most importantly, paying attention to people.

Deliberate coalition-building

Brands which undergo successful changes are thoughtful when selecting a team to deploy the CDP. I like to use the term “coalition” because assembling the right group of individuals involves choosing champions from each specific business unit who may have clashing views, but need to come together to carry out the project successfully. Whatever the titles or roles, you want to make sure you build a team of both “why” and “how” people — those who can see the big picture and strategy, and those who can put that plan into action. 

You also want to make sure their objectives and key results (OKRs) are aligned with the project and identified business leads. You don’t want IT or marketing alone to lead the project, and you also don’t want them to have different OKRs or stakes in it. If the executive responsible for implementing the project leads only one of these teams, their first step will be to enroll their C-level peers to create a truly multi-faceted crew. Company X, a major hospitality group, were able to quickly roll out a CDP because the CFO, CMO, and CTO worked together as a group to onboard the tech and put their most trusted employees in charge of implementation.

Paying attention to the human aspect of the deployment makes it possible to bring everyone along.

Sustained efforts

Once you’ve carefully assembled an A-team, now you have to make sure that there is continuous involvement when deploying your CDP. Onboarding the tech involves a lot of change and your deployment will be more like gradually increasing the intensity of a dimmer rather than flipping a switch. Make sure your team knows about the “crawl, walk, run” approach, and define their individual goals.

Every company’s approach will be slightly different. Here’s how setting up a CDP at a major telecommunication company looks like: They split an 18 month project into three phases that have their own added value and capability expansions. By not trying to achieve everything at once, they make steady progress.

Empower with empathy

An intentional leader will pay attention to the people themselves. Successful executives won’t ignore the impact a new platform has on their employees. The new tech being onboarded directly impacts employees’ jobs and has an impact on their work identity. To stop their employees’ feeling lost, they plan for the deployment and  proactively ask their team to map out the impact on systems and KPIs that the deployment will have. After doing so, they carefully plan for the transition in KPIs, from explaining any potential shifts in numbers to the board, to telling the email marketing manager why their year-over-year comp might not look the same. 

Company P, a multi-brand retailer, was able to successfully uproot a legacy identity system for a modern one by paying attention to the human aspect of the deployment. They carefully catalogued all the occurrences where a shift in customer counts would affect specific stakeholders. Then, they got these people onboard with the change through education and collaboration. Furthermore, they got executives to acknowledge and support the change, re-assuring the people on the ground that the measure of their performance wouldn’t be impacted.

Paying attention to the human aspect of the deployment makes it possible to bring everyone along.

A C-level executive can have the best project plans in the world, but if they dive head first into their CDP journey without being intentional and assessing the human aspect of the deployment, they won’t get the results they desire.

To learn more about what to look out for when using a CDP to drive data focused customer-centric strategies, check out these blogs: Five Things Executives Should Know About Customer-Centric Transformation and Mapping Opportunities and Early Victories.

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About the Author

Lison Jullien

Lison is a client success and change management leader with experience driving digital and CDP transformations in partnership with retail, hospitality, financial services and healthcare companies. Currently, Lison is the Head of Customer Adoption at Amperity where she is leading business and technological consulting teams accompanying clients on their path to value leveraging a CDP ecosystem.

Prior to joining Amperity, Lison held various positions in SaaS marketing and in strategy in NYC and Paris, for Custora and the French government. She holds a LLM in Economic Law from Sciences Po Paris and a Master of Telecommunication and Media Economics from Paris Dauphine. When she is not learning the cello, she enjoys photography and traveling around the globe.

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