Customer Data Platforms
Customer Data Platforms are a new breed of marketing technology, first defined by marketing analyst David Raab in 2013. Raab classifies a CDP as:
“A marketer-controlled system that maintains a unified, persistent customer database which is accessible to external systems.”
Since then, many vendors have identified their solution as a Customer Data Platform. This has led to confusion about what CDPs can and cannot do. In an attempt to demystify some of the misunderstandings, Raab founded the Customer Data Platform Institute (CDPI), a vendor-neutral resource to further educate marketers about their capabilities.
David Raab’s definition, along with these key features, can help us get to grips with what a CDP really is:
- Marketer-controlled. This means that a CDP can be purchased and operated by the marketing department, with minimal assistance from others (such as IT or external vendors).
- Unified, persistent database. A CDP unifies customer data from external systems (for example, your CRM, mobile data, transactional data, website data, email data, third-party data and so on). This database brings together the fragmented data from silos and undergoes the Single Customer View process. This matches, merges, audits and deduplicates the data from all the chosen sources to form a ‘Single Source of Truth’ for all customer data, for consistent treatment by marketing across channels.
- Accessible to external systems. After the Single Customer View process, the data within the CDP is easily available to your marketing systems and applications, including segmentation tools, predictive analytics tools, personalization tools, campaign and customer journey management software and marketing performance monitoring tools. A CDP provides data to build campaigns and models, the data for rules-based personalization on web and mobile, and to manage the customer profile database used for creating campaigns, sending emails and display ads.
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