Myth: IT Not Required for Marketing Platforms

One major selling point of newer, cloud-based marketing tools such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Journey Orchestration Engines (JOEs) is that you can quickly get started without involving IT, and that your marketers and other customer experience specialists can do everything on their own.

Myth or Reality?

It is true that almost all CDPs and JOEs are targeted at business users.  It is also true that sometimes starting up really means something simple like adding a javascript tag to your website, and you're off to the races.  If you can't do that, the vendor's professional services team will happily to do it for you (and more).

But that example is pretty simplistic.

As your use-cases become more sophisticated, you need complex data modeling. You need to be able to understand how machine learning algorithms work, and then fine tune them. You also need to be able to slice-and-dice and run analytics to make sense of customer data or their journeys. All these require serious data science skills at the very minimum and often advanced machine learning skills to complement.

There's more though...

These platforms don't work in isolation. They need to first integrate with data sources to ingest customer data and events and then integrate with downstream customer engagement platforms for activations. Between these two ends of data lifecycle lies a variety of technical considerations and tasks that will require ongoing technical expertise. 

Real Story Group's Omnichannel Stack
The New Omnichannel Stack. Source: RSG

More importantly, as you scale up and across, you can't consider these platforms as single-point solutions. They will need to be an integral part of your architecture or your stack. You face complex enterprise considerations such as compliance (e.g., GDPR), scalability, reusability, and reliable data flow among different platforms.

You also need to make important architectural decisions, such as whether to have CDP as a separate layer or subsume it as part of some other offering.

Have a balanced team composition

Don't believe vendor demo hype. These platforms may be marketer-friendly in terms of day-to-day activity once you get them up and running, but a range of technical skill sets will be required at the outset and on an ongoing basis for business success.

So you should make sure you involve both IT and business stakeholders right from the outset when you evaluate these platforms.


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