Does Your CDP Trickle Down? Study Shows Primary Uses Are Strategic

If you find yourself being pulled into endless meetings about your firm’s customer data platform, or are trying to tap into a CDP for your email campaigns, Merkle’s 2021 Fall Customer Engagement Report may sober you up.

For one thing, few companies have all of their customer data in their CDP. And the primary function is not to fuel campaigns. You may be frustrated as you sit in your silo.  

That said, CDPs have great value. 

Among those polled, 56% say their CDP has been the main pillar in their adopting new customer strategies. For 29%, it provided support but made no difference in timing. And 9% say there was no substantial difference, and 6% haven’t reached the necessary maturity level. 

Apparently, a CDP is not something you tap into like a vending machine to active an email campaign. Rather, brands use CDPs for these purposes: 

  • Data consolidation — 59% 
  • Data collection — 24%
  • Data enrichment — 11%
  • Data activation — 4% 
  • Measurement — 2%



And they cite these accomplishments as the primary value of a CDP:

  • Technology consolidation — 28%
  • Improved customer experience — 28%
  • Increase revenue — 23%
  • Process efficiencies — 13% 
  • Cost savings — 8%

Still, one might wonder how useful CDPs are in splitting up customer data and driving campaigns. Here are the levels of the customer data and attributes that brands have in their CDPs: 

  • 50%-74% — 50%
  • 75%-99% — 29% 
  • 25%-49% — 16% 
  • 100% — 3%
  • Less than 25% — 2%

Most CDP adopters are happy with the results. They say their CDPs are:

  • Meeting expectations — 52%
  • Exceeding expectations — 45%
  • Not meeting expectations — 3% 

The takeaway? If you have any influence, use it to find a good vendor. 

“If you’ve been a part of a marketing database build, you may be used to your vendor partner being a combination of technology implementation and consulting,” Merkle warns.

But remember that “CDP companies are generally product companies, which means you are less likely to receive the same level of insight, general marketing experience, and guidance directly from a CDP vendor,” the study says.  

Merkle surveyed 600 marketing, analytics, and technology executives at major brands--i.e., $100 million+ USD in annual revenue--from the US and the UK.


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