When you build your MarTech stack, you will almost always need to integrate multiple products. Even if you buy a so-called suite or cloud, remember most of them really consist of multiple products (many of which come via acquisitions). Plus you will also need to integrate with other external applications. For example, a Customer Data Platform, or CDP will need to be integrated with multiple data sources for data ingestion and then with downstream applications for marketing activations.
Therefore, while evaluating Marketing Technologies such as CDPs, capabilities for integration with other applications should be a major criteria. Every single CDP will claim they can integrate with other products. But remember, not all integrations are equal. The quality of integrations matter and should be an important criteria while evaluating Marketing Technologies sick as CDPs.
Here’s a checklist that you can use while evaluating CDPs. You can use the same checklist for other Marketing technologies as well:
- What are the connectors available out-of-the-box?
- Do these connectors include the ones that you require? If a CDP integrates with 1000 products but does not integrate with the 4 you want, it’s not much helpful isn’t it?
- Do these connectors cost additional licensing fee?
- How much effort and cost do you need to plan for to customise them? What are the resources required for customization?
- Create specific use cases that require integration with products that *you* use and ask vendors to demo those.
- Use your data to test CDP integrations? (because vendor’s data will always work)
- Test if integrations are just one-way or bi-directional (or multi-directional)?
- If possible, do testing in your own environment.
Upgrades and Customisation
- Find out what happens when CDP is upgraded?
- Find out what happens when one of the products you integrate CDP with is upgraded?
- What about customisation and extensibility of CDP integrations?
- For custom integrations of CDP with other products, find out quality of APIs, dev environment support and testing options.
- Check speed (or response time) of data exchange between CDP and other products in an integration.
- Find out if integration of CDP with those products is real-time or batch? Dig deeper if vendor says their CDP integration is real-time.
- Do real-time integrations impact overall performance? How scalable are real-time integrations?
- How does refresh/data updates happen between CDP and integrated products? Can you configure schedule?
Support and Monitoring
- What are the reporting and exception handling capabilities for CDP integrations?
- Understand how the CDP vendor keeps up with and provides ongoing support for all these integrations?
- Does the vendor provide implementation services for customising these integrations?
- Evaluate Data security, compliance and consent management issues for integrations.
There can be many more aspects to consider but I think this should be a good starting point. Do let me know if you think there’s an important one I missed.