Common CDP challenges and how to overcome them

Jun 12, 2024

If you’re currently using a Customer Data Platform (CDP), your brand likely spent months, or even years, evaluating options, implementing the solution, and training teams across the organization on how to use it. With so much time and money invested, it can be painful to even consider that your CDP might not be the right fit anymore.

While traditional CDPs can address some of the problems faced by small and medium-sized businesses, they often fall short for large enterprise brands due to limitations in scalability, data integration, advanced analytics, data governance, real-time personalization, and customizability.

If you’re one of those brands feeling the daily limitations of your CDP, it might be time to explore a new approach.

A Composable CDP focuses on your data warehouse and fundamentally changes how you manage customer data. In this article, we’ll outline some common shortcomings of traditional CDPs and how a composable approach helps brands achieve their goals more effectively.

Your CDP isn’t what you thought it would be

Chances are, you invested in a CDP to help you with things like building Customer 360 profiles and empowering your marketing team to execute personalized campaigns in real time. While traditional CDPs can do this at a basic level, there are key areas where CDPs fall short – and where a Composable CDP can perform better.

Your data is a blocker for campaign launches


Traditional CDPs use rigid data models that don’t easily adapt to individual business needs. They often categorize data as either an “event” or a “user,” which can hinder true personalization that requires more custom entities or related objects.

If your marketing team frequently encounters roadblocks and needs help accessing data to launch campaigns, it’s a sign your CDP isn’t flexible enough. A Composable CDP, by directly accessing your data warehouse, can meet any of your custom data needs. If the data exists, your marketing team can access and activate it for campaigns immediately.

You have trust issues with the data in your CDP


Traditional CDPs provide a limited snapshot of customer data which is incomplete and unreliable. These platforms struggle to integrate data from diverse sources, often rely on batch processing, use rigid data models, and lack robust data enrichment capabilities. A composable approach, on the other hand, leverages modern data infrastructure and reverse ETL processes to support real-time data integration by syncing data directly from your data warehouse to the operational systems used by your marketing, operations, and data teams.

If your marketing or data team is quoting unreliable customer information or doesn’t trust the data, it’s a clear sign of the technology’s limitations.

The marketing team isn’t even using your CDP


Packaged CDPs promise to make data-driven campaign execution accessible to marketing teams. Yet many enterprise brands find their marketing teams avoid using the platform because it lacks the power to execute desired campaigns or the data is unreliable. 

Marketing teams are more likely to adopt a Composable CDP because of its power, flexibility, trusted data, and ease of use.

CDPs are expensive

CDP costs can quickly outweigh the benefits they drive for your brand. A Composable CDP is far more affordable than a traditional CDP because you only purchase the features you need in order to use the full potential of your customer data. You’re not forced to include any bloated shelfware, and you don’t pay for duplicative data storage.

Your CDP costs exceed the ROI it drives


Does the ROI justify the cost and show me how. This is the common question asked by leadership when any team wants to purchase a technology solution. With traditional CDPs, this can be difficult to prove due to their high costs. You need to use your CDP and all the add-on features you’re paying for a lot to reach a point where your return on investment is positive.

Undoubtedly, the vendor presented multiple use cases of how you would drive ROI when you were initially evaluating the platform. Can you say today your CDP is doing everything you hoped (or were promised) it would? Can you still justify the cost of the platform? Keeping costs in line with ROI is much easier with a Composable CDP because you only purchase the features you’ll use, and that will actually deliver value.

You’re only using a fraction of your CDP’s offerings


Traditional CDPs are packaged, all-in-one offerings, so you inevitably end up paying for features that aren’t central or relevant to your needs. For instance, you might use your CDP for identity resolution but rarely use its audience builder.

By assessing which features you actually use versus what you’re paying for, you can determine if you’re locked into a solution that’s far more expensive and expansive than necessary. A composable approach lets you choose only the features you need without paying for the ones you don’t.

You’re paying for redundant or overlapping features


You’ve heard the phrase a jack of all trades but master of none. That’s how you could describe legacy CDPs. These vendors package together many features, but they’re rarely the best-of-breed provider for each standalone feature. Many brands purchase other solutions that they know they can access through their CDP because they need more functionality and know other vendors perform better. This means you’re paying twice for the same solution because excluding it from your CDP package isn’t an option.

With a Composable CDP, you can select only the essential components relevant to your specific requirements, leading to cost savings and more efficient use of your resources.

The packaged CDP alternative

Leaving a vendor you’ve invested heavily in can be daunting and requires a significant cultural shift at your organization. The advantage of a Composable CDP architecture is its iterative nature – you can start small and test it for individual use cases before fully transitioning.

At MessageGears, we’ve helped some of the world’s largest enterprises navigate this transition. We offer free proofs-of-concept (POC) and can assist with major CDP use cases, such as data activation, event collection, and identity resolution – all without copying or moving your data outside the secure environment of your data warehouse.

Reach out to our data solutions experts to discuss your current martech stack and explore a better way to manage and activate your customer data.

About the Author
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Sarah Kelly

Sarah is a passionate marketing professional devoted to crafting thought-provoking content that fuels business growth and success. With over a decade of experience in the ever-evolving marketing world, she brings a strategic and data-driven mindset to her role as SEO.