The Foundation for Data Governance

The marketer’s world is extremely complex, and customer expectations are high. The hat goes off to companies that can respond to all customers with unique, personalised communications in real time. A few businesses struggle to master all the data that is provided to them and end up with unorganised data which is due to experiencing data overload which results in loss of a lot of business opportunities. And here’s where CDP comes in. The term CDP was first coined in 2013 by David Raab, the founder of CDP Institute when he stated,

It has taken me a while to connect the dots, but I’m now pretty sure I see a new type of software emerging. These systems that gather customer data from multiple sources, combine information related to the same individuals, perform predictive analytics on the resulting database, and use the results to guide marketing treatments across multiple channels,” 

But what is a CDP?

The CDP Institute defines a customer data platform as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.”

The CDP Institute further groups CDP vendors into four categories based on the functions provided by their systems. Each category includes functions provided by the previous categories. There are great variations among vendors within each category. 

Categories are;

  • Data CDP- These systems gather customer data from source systems, link data to customer identities, and store the results in a database available to external systems
  • Analytics CDP- These systems provide data assembly plus analytical applications. The applications always include customer segmentation and sometimes extend to machine learning, predictive modeling, revenue attribution, and journey mapping. 
  • Campaign CDP- These systems provide data assembly, analytics, and customer treatments. What distinguishes them from segmentation is they can specify different treatments for different individuals within a segment.
  • Delivery CDP- These systems provide data assembly, analytics, customer treatments, and message delivery. Delivery may be through email, Web site, mobile apps, CRM, advertising, or several of these

In the past, previous tools had created data silos that prevented businesses from using all the data they had access to productively. As a solution to this, customer data platforms were created due to a demand for an improved customer experience and omnichannel initiatives. 

​​CDPs quickly became a big hit because they offered marketers unique features that previous data management tools simply could not provide. CDPs serve as a centralised and broader customer data management solution, designed to work with other platforms in a unified way to acquire customers, connect, engage and manage relationships going forward.

According to http://cdp.com, since their advent in 2013, CDPs have come a long way and are now an established product category with the backing of analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester. Today, the global customer data platform market size is expected to reach $20.5 billion by 2027, rising at a market growth of 34 percent. Funding for the top five firms now averages $190 million, compared with $21 million for all others, according to our Customer Data Platform (CDP) Industry Statistics article. 

CDPs give companies the ability to create and adopt a more user-centric approach by merging a variety of data formats and sources, and allowing for increasingly significant customer interactions; something which was not a possibility with previous systems. CDPs have grown to become all-in-one data management solutions that serve as a keystone piece of your mar-tech stack. As new as CDP’s may seem, they keep on advancing at a remarkable rate and are without a doubt vital to the customer experience. CDPs are becoming more defined as are the use cases that define their ROI. More than half of marketers said payback was achieved within 6 months and four out of five saw a positive ROI within 12 months. With the recent depreciation of third party data, there’s a rising importance of first party data hence the latest popularity of CDP’s.

So What Does The Future Hold For CDP

As a result of third-party cookies fading away, the focus will shift to first-party data and CDP’s have emerged as the technological resolution. CDPs assemble data into thorough and inclusive customer profiles that promote seamless communication between brands and their audiences. This level of awareness around consumer habits strengthens a company’s ability to build strong relationships across multiple channels.  The CDP marketplace can be quite confusing as you’re swamped with so many options on choosing the right CDP can be quite challenging.

But, it doesn’t have to be. Once you take a step back and focus on what you really need and not what vendors are forcing upon you, the clouds begin to lift, your thoughts and the path in front of you becomes a whole lot clearer.

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