What are Customer Data Platforms?
A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a customer database from which complete, accurate customer profiles can be built. The profiles support segmentation and building targeted marketing campaigns. The CDP is primarily a data store and not a campaign execution tool. It contains technologies to collect data from customer touchpoints and share information gathered across marketing systems. This improves marketing interactions and customer relationships.
The defining characteristic of a CDP is that it gathers all available first-party customer data from CRMs, websites, email marketing, ads, and point of sale systems into a single place. Tag management systems are responsible for collecting some of this data, such as cookie and user behavior data. The resulting customer profiles can be enriched with additive data such as lifetime value to provide a unified view of all customers. Consolidated data can then be sent to marketing execution partners in real-time, via data connectors.
The CDP has some characteristics in common with Data Management Platforms (DMPs). DMPs are also marketing data stores but are narrower in focus. Though they sometimes handle first-party data (i.e. data a firm has collected about its own audience) DMPs are traditionally third-party data aggregators and consist of behavioral data purchased from publishers. They are concerned with high volume, top-of-the-funnel data. CDPs, on the other hand, are concerned with middle-of the funnel data and customer conversion.
Customer Data Platform Features & Capabilities
Customer data platforms provide the following feature sets:
Collect and reconcile data from a multitude of data sources
All customer touchpoints generate usable data
Cross-device, cross-platform customer journey tracking
Purchase history, browsing, shopping cart, and other data included
Create a centralized 360 view of customer profiles
Accessibility of customer data to marketing systems
Marketing-defined business rules
Profile enrichment with product data matching
Person identifier to unify data across-platforms
Audience segments, profiling for marketing campaigns
Marketing technology integrations (e.g. MAP, RTIM, email marketing, etc)
Predictive customer analytics for real-time interaction management
CDPs are generally available on a monthly or annual subscription. Pricing is tiered to the number of monthly tracked users (MTUs) or the number of identifiable profiles. Additionally, some CDP vendors bundle their CDP with other modules for advertising and retargeting, real-time interaction management, or other marketing activities.