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What is the Future of Customer Data Platforms?

, | October 5, 2021 | By

by Dr. Rob Nelson –

According to Industry experts , “true CDPs, must be able to ingest any type of data, capture all of the original details, store the data indefinitely, assemble unified customer profiles, and allow any external system to access its data.” Yet, data remains a key challenge, and the selection of a CDP is a strategic decision that should not be made without a broader context.

The Potential of CDPs

Customer Data Platforms have the potential to create a single customer view. But the real value of that is making it actionable and gaining the insights to do so.

A sampler of the marketing analytics questions that can be answered by CDPs include:

  • What was the product this customer bought before their current purchase?
  • Which segments / target groups does this customer belong to?
  • Is this customer likely to churn?
  • What has he shown interest in lately?
  • What is their (purchase) intent, and timing?
  • What is the value and predicted future value of this customer?
  • Where do they prefer to interact and create moments?
  • What are their preferences and where are they in the customer journey?

The potential for the unified data base via CDP or other path is a lot about marketing analytics. However, it is also about enabling Customer xDNA which includes determining and selecting the right segments and personas, mapping and understanding customer journeys across the customer lifecycle, determining the right marketing messages, channels, and engagement timing – all in order to improve Customer Lifetime value, increased engagement and loyalty and to minimize customer churn prevention.

The Promise of a Unified Customer Data Base

It’s clear. As firms combine underlying data and insights, it is possible to achieve more transformational, valuable opportunities and to become a much more Sentient Enterprise. But, achieving these objectives does not mandate the selection of a CDP packaged solution. In fact, a misstep here could cause a setback. So, there are two essential approaches to addressing whether answering the question to “CDP or not?” and “how to CDP?”…

Beyond the buzz, do you need a Customer Data Platform

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are the buzz these days. But, are CDPs the panacea for customer data to drive marketing effectiveness? This eBook provides an essential primer on the topic while providing insight and recommended actions for anyone exploring the use of CDPs.

What’s next for CDPs?

Going forward, expect more diversity and players in the CPD market as well as continued strong demand for slimmer CDPs that provide only data management and analytics while other systems continue to evolve with entire suites that that bundle marketing functions with CRM or other applications. Expect to see more specialization of tools – and segmentation of the market. Products will continue to develop advanced analytics and reporting tools, including machine learning. Major players like Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce are increasingly embedding CDP capability inside these larger systems and platforms. Expect more to follow. Look to see more case studies of success or failure as many rush to install an “easy button”.

However, expect to see alternative strategies and architectures to solving the problems CDP’s seek to address. Time will tell how successful the CDP solution is and whether or not it (and CDPs broadly speaking) deliver on the promise – and if they survive longer terms as more and more data strategies are implemented at the Enterprise, not just functional level. A key question, will CDPs survive the bigger systems embedding these capabilities.

Survival of the CDP

Will CDP’s survive the ultimate and natural development to Customer Intelligence Systems that incorporate anonymous, third-party data as well as first-party data? Or will they fall out of favor as more off the shelf and flexible, custom-fit comprehensive platforms that provide more comprehensive data coverage and real-time responsive intelligence utilization come on line across the enterprise functions, including sales and customer service systems—not just marketing systems?

A Single Unified Customer Profile

Given that the most important aspect of the CDP is the creation of a single unified customer profile (database) for each customer that combines profile, transactional, and behavioral data from across the business. A unified customer profile provides a complete view of each and every customer in the business and it also provides with a complete view of the entire business.

What happens if that can be accomplished better and more cost-effectively while enabling broad data analytics and data science across the enterprise, or will these be point solutions architected as modules in the marketing tech stack and the enterprise data and analytics tech stack? What is a better strategic position longer term for a company investing in being a Sentient Enterprise.(Read more about Sentient Enterprise in RCGs eBook on the topic)?

We would love to help you on your customer data journey. Feel free to reach out to me at