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Nine and Adobe: A tale of two CDP tenders

Nine says it is on track to deliver all of its data-driven commitments to its Olympic sponsors – despite having to overcome delays in standing up a CDP it began implementing in 2021.

This is an excerpt from an article published on Mi3 Australia


It was the worst of times, and now hopefully the best of times as Nine says it is on track to deliver all of its data-driven commitments to its Olympic sponsors – despite having to overcome delays in standing up a CDP it began implementing in 2021. The early problems — including promised functionality that didn’t materialise — were so bad and delayed the project to such an extent the media giant went back to market with a new tender in the second half of last year. 

That did the trick although to the surprise of many in the tech sector, and despite a comprehensive evaluation of alternatives from companies like Tealium and Salesforce, and composable solutions from Hightouch and others, Nine stuck with Adobe. And it’s not the only data-driven solution developed by Nine using Adobe’s technology that has initially caused it grief – Audience Match, now regarded as a revenue winner and a strategic asset, likewise ran into early problems when Nine connected into Adobe. But just like the CDP, Nine has pulled that project back on course and is now delivering wins for the company and its clients.

When implementing a new martech platform, especially something as intricate as a CDP, there’s often a strong desire to make a significant impact. This is particularly true in environments where proving ROI immediately is crucial to the C-suite.

Richard Taylor, managing director Digital Balance

A familiar story

Nine’s experience is hardly unique in the realm of CDP delivery, even if the time it has taken to reach this point is at the wrong end of the bell curve.

As we reported in the third article of our CDP investigation series last year, “It’s much messier and more complicated than the slick sales pitches let on. Fights over data ownership, significant technical integration problems, and serious limitations with all those out-of-the-box connectors the vendors like to brag about create risks to project deadlines, and in the worst cases, career advancement. Sometimes just identifying who has credentials and getting them to share can take months.”

While not commenting specifically on Nine, Richard Taylor, managing director of Digital Balance, a Melbourne-based digital agency told Mi3 that problems with technology such as data integration, data governance, and cross-departmental collaboration are familiar bugbears in CDP projects.

He broke out five common problems;

  1. Data Integration: Can the selected CDP access data from the required sources? This can be complex, especially when dealing with legacy systems or data silos.
  2. Data Privacy and Compliance: Adhering to data protection regulations is crucial. Do you have consent to use existing data in the manner you want with a CDP?
  3. Data Governance: Who in the organisation owns the existing data you want to connect to, and who will be responsible for new data collected and orchestrated by the CDP?  In large organisations, there are often “empire builders” who are protective of the information they control, which can make data sharing and integration challenging.
  4. Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Successful CDP implementation often requires collaboration between various departments, including IT, marketing, and data analytics teams. Ensuring all stakeholders are aligned and have a clear understanding of the project goals can help mitigate potential roadblocks.
  5. Ongoing Education and Training: Implementing a CDP is not a one-time task. Continuous education and training for staff are essential to ensure they are up-to-date with the platform’s capabilities and can leverage it to its full potential. This can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the CDP over time.

These are not even necessarily the most important. According to Taylor, “When implementing a new martech platform, especially something as intricate as a CDP, there’s often a strong desire to make a significant impact. This is particularly true in environments where proving ROI immediately is crucial to the C-suite.”

However, aiming to launch with every possible use case covered or focusing on the most challenging ones can lead to the risk of never launching at all.

Per Taylor, “The key is to ensure the chosen platform can deliver on its promises. The best way to confirm this is by consulting other companies already using the platform, seeking unbiased reviews, or running a proof of concept (POC). Launching with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and iterating from there is always the best strategy to demonstrate quick, tangible results.”

Nine’s experience brings some of these points to life. and is also a reminder that CDPs are not shrink-wrapped, plug-and-play solutions. Particularly in complex enterprise environments, the technical and organisational challenges can overwhelm even well-resourced teams. But the Nine CDP story which tracks an implementation redemption arc, also reminds us, that those problems can be overcome.

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