Why you should leave your MSP and buy a Customer Data Platform

4 minute read

Team BlueVenn

Marketing moves fast. Before the world went digital (which wasn’t actually that long ago), marketing campaigns were predominately created for TV, radio and most of all print. As such, commercial printers were the go-to place to fulfill an organization’s advertisement, brochure or direct mail needs. Then came new marketing channels, making the others look old fashioned: online ads, social media, email, mobile and more.

Over time, many printers evolved to become marketing service providers (MSPs), offering an array of professional digital marketing and creative services to deliver the right message to the right person. Inevitably, this has required MSPs to understand data; to learn more about customers and analyze trends, applying those insights to targeted, multi-channel marketing campaigns.

But as we say – marketing moves fast. Modern marketers have now become data marketers, skilled (or re-skilling) to conduct customer analytics and manage data, develop insights and automate multi-channel customer journeys. Marketers need open access to their data, and as few barriers as possible when it comes to making this data actionable. This means working with an MSP is increasingly becoming an outdated way to manage data and respond to the agile needs of marketers and marketing.

Today, Customer Data Platforms exist to meet these needs, empowering marketers to do things for themselves and start using data as and when they need it.

One of the most significant drawbacks of using an MSP is that insists marketers have a hands-off approach to their data. If there is a question you want to ask of your customer data then that means making a request, then waiting for the MSP to access your data, process it and fulfill that request. Hardly ideal at a time when many brands want to ride short-lived viral trends or take the opportunity to respond to relevant current affairs.

CDPs not only bring all your data sources together into a Single Customer View – creating a single, accurate record for each customer – this data can be readily accessed through in-built or third party analytics, campaign management or modeling tools. Plus, enable them to use this data with real-time integrations to personalize messaging and make it even more relevant and engaging.

This issue of access also leads to questions about data ownership. While agencies are able to create a Single Customer View for their clients, what happens should an organization’s relationship with them change? It is not unheard of for an agency to retain the complex algorithms, rules and ETL (Extraction, Transformation, Load) data processes required to build an SCV, leaving marketing back at square one should they decide to go it alone.

Another advantage of a CDP over an MSP we’ve already touched on – connectivity with third party systems. Unlike an MSP, which can to be restricted to the capabilities of its tech partners (with no guarantee that this tech is up-to-date, let alone cutting edge), a Customer Data Platform can theoretically connect to infinite, best-of-breed software: email, business intelligence tools, customer loyalty platform, CRM, ecommerce platform and more will have visibility of your SCV ‘golden record’. This makes CDPs flexible to your exact business needs.

Similarly, this flexibility also means organizations are better prepared for the future. Unlike a marketing service, which can find making changes to your system requirements cumbersome (not to mention expensive), a CDP is able to evolve as a company grows, as technology changes or if a new direction for marketing strategy is taken.

Whatever the system, and whatever the marketing channel, a CDP gives you sovereignty over your marketing data; to decide where it comes from, how to piece it together, how to understand it and where you’ll use it.

In the fast world of marketing, A Customer Data Platform has all the horsepower you need.

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