customer data platform

The What, Why and How of Customer Data Platforms

Written on October 12, 2020 by Jason Horwood

There are so many different data platforms and tools available today, that it can be hard to keep track of what each one does and which you need to include in your tech stack.

Most businesses want a tech stack that solves their omnichannel challenges – whether that be by enhancing their ability to understand and manage all of their customer data or they want to align all of their fragmented data.

At the end of the day, we all want big data to be simple. And this is where customer data platforms (CDP) come in.

What is the Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Unfortunately, there is no one clear definition of a CDP!

The CDP Institute defines it as “packaged software that created a persistent unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.”

Forrester defines it as a system that “centralises customer data from multiple sources and makes it available to systems of insight and engagement.”

While Gartner says it is “a marketing system that unifies a company’s customer data from marketing and other channels to enable customer modelling and optimise the timing and targeting of messages and offers.”

Reading between the lines, then, at the core of a CDP is software which works to centralise data from a variety of sources in order to create a unified customer database for other marketing systems to use.

CDP Vs Data Management Platform

We know that a CDP can help pull together all of a business’s customer-related data into one single database. But is this enough for a business to create an aligned data landscape in order to achieve their marketing goals?

It depends on the platform. Just as there is some confusion as to what a CDP actually is – there is also a wide variety of CDPs available – all with a variety of capabilities.

From vendor to vendor there will be a difference in capabilities, features and software maturity, and so finding one standalone CDP to solve everything you want may be a challenge.  You may need to align it with other tools in your tech stack in order to get the most out of it.

Data Management Platforms, for example, are more audience-focused than CDPs and so are usually used to collate and manage third-party data to enable businesses to create target audiences and use this insight to launch, optimise and analyse marketing campaigns.

What are the benefits of using a CDP?

CDPs can bring many benefits to your marketing team, including:

  • Offering you a single customer view across all marketing channels
  • Connecting with your source systems to collect and integrate customer data from both digital and offline channels
  • Manage customer views by resolving their identities across multiple channels
  • Creating segmentation for real-time marketing applications
  • Sharing data with other systems, such as analytics and engagement platforms

As you can see, although CDPs are increasing in popularity, they are not the answer to everything, and businesses will still need a wide range of technologies to achieve their goals.

If you want to pull together a team that can deliver data-driven solutions to solve your enterprise-class data management needs, then you need to talk to us!  The team at Agile Recruit are experts in recruitment and specialists in the data sector. Get in touch with us today at info@agilerecruit.com