Customer data platform

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A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a type of packaged software which creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned and combined to create a single customer profile. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems.[1] According to Gartner, customer data platforms have evolved from a variety of mature markets, "including multichannel campaign management, tag management and data integration."[2]

The CDP market is currently a $300 million industry and projected to reach $1 billion by 2019.[3]


In addition, some CDPs provide additional functions such as marketing performance measurement analytics, predictive modeling, content marketing and Enterprise Campaign Management.

Commonalities across CDPs:

  • marketer-managed;
  • unified, persistent, single database for customer behavioral, profile and other data, from any internal or external source;
  • consistent identifier that links all of a customer's data; and
  • accessible by external systems and structured to support marketers' needs for campaign management, marketing analyses and business intelligence.[4]

A Data Management Platform (DMP) collects anonymous web and digital data. CDPs collect data that is tied to an identifiable individual. Users of CDP can leverage the intelligence to provide more personalized content and delivery.

A data warehouse or data lake collects data, usually from the same source and with the same structure of information. While this information can be manually synthesized, neither type of system delivers the identity resolution needed to build a consolidated customer view. Data warehouses are often updated at scheduled intervals whereas CDPs ingest and make available data in real time. In practice, most CDPs use the same technologies as data lakes; the difference is the CDP has built-in features to do additional processing to make the data usable, while a data lake may not.

Marketing automation systems[edit]

A CDP is fundamentally different in design and function when compared with marketing automation systems, though CDPs provide some of the functionality of marketing systems and customer engagement platforms. CDP tools are designed to talk to other systems. They retain details from other systems that the engagement or automation tool does not. This is valuable for trend analysis, predictive analytics, and recommendations that can leverage historical data.[5]

Customer segmentation[edit]

A Customer Data Platform allows marketers to truly segment their data at deep levels. Superior customer segmentation means that the marketer can offer the most granular and targeted customer experience without having to continuously try and make customers fit into their predetermined molds.[6] True customer segmentation is derived from the customer themselves. This means that marketers need a system that offers unified and personalized data views. A customer data platform is the marketer’s solutions to true customer data segmentation.[7]

Examples of CDPs[edit]

An ever-expanding list of CDPs can be found on the CDP Institute Directory. Major providers include ActionIQ, AgilOne, BlueConic, Custobar, Datorama, Lytics, ONEcount, Optimove, Quaero, Retention Science, Simon Data, Tealium and Zaius.


  1. ^ "CDP Basics". Customer Data Platform Institute. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Marketer's Guide to Customer Data Platforms". Gartner. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Greenberg, Paul. "How customer data platforms can benefit your business | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)? - MarTech Landscape". MarTech Today. November 1, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  5. ^ Earley, S. (2018). "The Role of a Customer Data Platform". IT Professional, 20(1), pp. 69–76.
  6. ^ Cianfaglione, Peter (2018-04-24). "Publishing's First-party Comeback, a timeline". GCN Publishing Inc. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  7. ^ "Customer Data Platform". QuickPivot. Retrieved June 22, 2018.

External links[edit]

Customer data platform from related digital