What is a CDP?
Definition: Customer Data Platform
CDP is an IT solution that integrates with the marketing and sales information system to centralize and unify all customer data in order to process them and initiate highly relevant marketing actions.
How does it work?
CDP is software that is online or hosted on the user company's private servers and consists of a set of connectors (APIs) that allow data to be downloaded from the company's software and software packages (CRM, Email Marketing, ERP, Web Site, etc.). The data collected by the CDP is unified by the platform (duplicates, joins, enrichment) and stored in data tables.
Ultimately, users (mainly marketers) can search, sort and segment the data to identify groups of customers who share similarities that are relevant for marketing actions.
It is then tools such as email marketing or programmatic software that will enable marketing actions to be implemented.
What are the main features of a Customer Data Platform?
The Customer Data Platform focuses on the collection and processing of customer data from all marketing channels.
Collection of customer data
The first functionality of a CDP is to connect to third-party software, software packages, and tools containing refreshed customer data on a regular basis. Connectors allow data to be reported regularly (once or several times a day)
Unification and cleaning of data
It is not enough for the data to be in a single place for them to be usable. It is the role of the CDP to unify the data:
- Data duplication
- Removal of inconsistencies
- Error suppression
- Join between the same entities (e.g. the same person in the CRM and in a cookie)
- Data enrichment
Data manipulation and analysis
Once the data has been properly stored in the CDP database, it can be manipulated (without coding) by marketing decision-makers. Most of the time, it is about being able to filter, sort and segment contacts to identify contextualized populations (segments).
CDPs can also predict lead and customer behavior and marketers can use these predictions to deliver messages that will engage prospects in a buying process. For example, a person who has viewed a product on the website and purchased similar products in a store may trigger a special offer.
Management of marketing actions
The Customer Data Platform can create events that will be interpreted as triggers in email marketing campaigns for example. Some CDPs integrate automation marketing tools but most are limited to data management.
Who uses Customer Data Platforms?
CDPs are simple tools with complex integration. The implementation, therefore, requires a lot of resources to understand the business issues and configure the platform. In fact, CDPs are intended for large and mature companies in terms of data management. By mature we mean that they have a very advanced use of customer data.
CDP customers are companies with several thousand customers such as hotel groups, clothing brands, etc.
Why use a CDP in a company?
CDP is a tool that allows you to take advantage of your customer data like no other solution, but it does have some inconveniences.
- Have a perfect knowledge of your customers
- Breaking barriers between channels: really moving to multi-channel
- Centralization of data
- Increase data quality
The time spent implementing the solution and the necessary resources
What is the difference between a CDP and a DMP?
Unlike a CDP, the DMP (Data Management Platform) does not offer a multi-channel vision. The DMP focuses on programming and cookie management. On the other hand, the DMP processes data in real-time (or almost). The DMP is oriented towards data volume while the CDP values data quality and customer knowledge.
Complementary solutions of CDP Software
Content Management System
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Public Relations (PR)
Social Media Marketing
Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Personalization and Behavioral Targeting