CDP's Under The Microscope

According to Gartner marketers' frustration over disconnected customer data has inspired a barrage of solutions from providers. The report offers marketing leaders the use of this guide to understand the adolescent customer data platform marketplace.

An overview of the key findings provides this summary and recommendations:

  • Hype around customer data platforms (CDPs) is at an all-time high. Inquiries from Gartner clients on the topic doubled between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018.
  • Pure-play CDP vendors are competing against those with legacies in either technical data management or marketing, such as multichannel marketing hubs. As a result, technology solutions vary in the capabilities they bring to market.
  • Despite the relative immaturity of the market, vendors struggle to differentiate their products. 

Recommendations: When evaluating the CDP marketplace, marketing leaders responsible for data and analytics technology:

  • Identify whether the majority of your use cases are operational, solving for inefficiencies in data management or data delivery, or analytical, as in growing customer spend or reducing churn.
  • Consult with key stakeholders in your organization before deciding whether to deploy a CDP. Determine your brand's willingness to source technology externally versus building and maintaining in-house. Detail the marketing team's needs regarding data activation and campaign execution.
  • Evaluate the marketing team's ability to collaborate with IT and other stakeholders. Select marketing solutions that complement and integrate with other enterprise systems.
  • Evaluate the level of risk tolerance in the organization for emerging technologies, and determine whether a CDP is a fit.

Marketers are using a variety of systems to design, orchestrate and measure multichannel campaigns. Many of those systems also manage customer-level data and audiences for targeting, but do so in a way that makes orchestrating across channels (and across competitive vendor solutions) a challenge.

CDPs promise to solve for this by centralizing data collection, unifying customer profiles from disparate sources, creating and managing segments, and activating those segments in priority channels. The CDP is not a substitute for the database of record, but it can effectively ensure that customer profile data, transactional events and analytic attributes are available as needed for real-time interactions.

Marketer interest in CDPs continues to accelerate. In the first half of 2018, Gartner client inquiries pertaining to CDPs doubled when compared with the same period of the previous year. 52% of marketing leaders responsible for data and analytics said data management, data integration and formatting are among their most time-consuming activities.

As CDPs reach peak hype, planned adoptions are high, but few organizations have measured their return on investment after deployment. Some would-be buyers are doing their research now, but approaching the market with reluctance. They are taking a "wait and make do" approach with their existing technology, penciling CDPs onto their future roadmaps. 





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