WTF are customer data platforms? An ad for the Gartner MQ piqued my interest but I also needed to look at what it was, and what it wasn’t! As ever, read more if you want …

Tealium, in the first google post I found says,

The CDP Institute defines a Customer Data Platform as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” Basically it’s a prebuilt system that centralizes customer data from all sources and then makes this data available to other systems for marketing campaigns, customer service and all customer experience initiatives.

and, state they/it,

Is Not a CRM system

CRMs mostly store customer transaction data. They do not have insight into anonymous user behavior (often requiring a form fill or purchase), typically are focused on sales data and only have limited integrations to other systems.

Is Not a DMP

DMPs are cookie-based, do not create a persistent customer profile and integrations tend to be limited to advertising (not the full customer journey). DMPs are focused on 3rd-party data, with some limited ability to integrate 1st-party data, whereas CDPs have a much heavier focus on 1st-party data.

Is Not a Personalization tool

While some CDPs have built native execution tools such as website personalization, this is not a core functionality for the category. This takes focus away from solving the underlying data fragmentation problem that companies in the market are experiencing today.

The Gartner Report is here, and being Gartner this link will die at some point. They say,

  1. the solution space is over-hyped
  2. business i.e. divisional ownership is usually unclear
  3. most players i.e. vendors can’t do it all
  4. the goal is account based marketing and the B2C heritage of most solutions is an inhibitor


The featured image is taken from The Future of Customer Data Platforms Needs to be Vertical by Subra Krishnan, who argues that CDP’s while born in horizontal solutions, such as Google via their adtech usage have a future in vertical solutions. It’s short and optimistic, but he has one to sell.


Lotame describe a DMP as

A data management platform (DMP) is a unifying platform to collect, organize and activate first-, second- and third-party audience data from any source, including online, offline, mobile, and beyond. It is the backbone of data-driven marketing and allows businesses to gain unique insights into their customers.

I think this together with not being a CRM is the important insight but the market may have to mature before the adtech players are prepared to commoditise their 1st mover advantage.

How new is this problem? Is it just rebadging an polishing CRM solutions and putting a data warehouse behind it and an event pipe behind that? (I seem to think I was doing some of this in the ’90s.) So little in IT seems truely new but see me, on  Red Shift, in the 90s we were dealing with Blue Shift problems



One Comment

  1. This was written in a hurry, I ma not sure that my selected sources are the best, or that my conclusions stand up. Be gentle if you chose to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.