It seems like many people — well, more specifically, marketing professionals and executives — are suddenly talking about customer data platforms (CDPs) right now.
But you may still be asking yourself, “What exactly is a customer data platform? And why does it exist in the first place? Isn’t my marketing stack already complicated enough?!”
We answer that first question in our on-demand webinar in which we define what a CDP is (and isn’t).
For those asking the second and third questions, let’s look at the four trends that led to the rise of the CDP — even with so many other types of martech and adtech already in existence today.
Trend #1: Unfulfilled demand for the single customer view
Many technologies make this claim, but all fail to deliver on this promise. At best, some can provide a partial view of the customer journey, or maybe just one or two dimensions of it.
But none of these tech options actually deliver on a truly holistic view of the customer journey that is based on persistent, person-based profiles as its foundation.
This gap is best articulated by Organic CTO Sean Brown during an interview with eMarketer:
- “The idea that you have one view of the customer and you have all of the data about the customer in one place, and available to all of those platforms simultaneously and in real time, is still far away for most of our clients. Frankly, it’s still a ways out for the technology capabilities that are out there today.”
But with a customer data platform, achieving this single customer view isn’t only realistic, it’s how countless brands today are routinely able to offer personalized and individualized marketing messaging that converts prospects and previous customers in real time.
Trend #2: Data commoditization and walled gardens
The data pool is getting bigger, but everyone is drinking from the same trough. That means the ability to break through the noise and differentiate your brand using data is getting harder.
This also makes your first-party customer data your most valuable marketing asset. Why? Because it’s the only data that none of your competitors have access to. You own it 100%.
Gartner analyst Benjamin Bloom’s “Control Your Marketing Data” report indicated marketers remain increasingly reliant on marketing and advertising opportunities powered by the big walled gardens
But as Bloom pointed out, this means sacrificing data integrity when it comes to transparency into customer attributes and behaviors at a granular level as well as sacrificing portability of this data to power personalized marketing campaigns across channels and devices.
According to eMarketer, Google, Facebook and Amazon will made up 64% of all U.S. digital ad spend in 2018, with the rest spent in the long tail. Google and Facebook make up the significant majority of this share, but Amazon is seeing the greatest rate of growth year-over-year.
Trend #3: The platformization of marketing technology
Industry thought leader and Chief Marketing Technologist blog editor Scott Brinker recently talked about the platformization of martech and rise of integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS):
- “For a growing number of companies, the ‘heart’ of their marketing stack integrations isn’t a marketing cloud. It’s a middleware product from the blossoming category of iPaaS.”
According to a 2018 Data-Centric Organization study by IAB & Winterberry, almost one-third of marketer survey respondents said “assembling their own stack of various technologies offered by various providers” is how their organization intends to best leverage marketing technology to optimize the value it generates through the use of audience data.
For the first time, building your own marketing stack is actually an option, and the most innovative companies are already doing it. But they need a way to make data accessible between disparate systems.
Trend #4: Privacy, fraud, and a lack of brand transparency
It was expected global marketers and technology vendors who rely heavily on third-party data would struggle when GDPR launched in in mid-2018. That prediction turned out to be true.
Third-party data lacks transparency, and gaining consent from consumers for use of this information for marketing purposes has proven (and will continue to prove) difficult to obtain.
Not only do marketers remain concerned about the increasingly difficult balancing act of using third-party data while staying in compliance with consumer privacy regulations, but they also cite the lack of data transparency as detrimental to their overall marketing effectiveness.
How the customer data platform solves for these problems
All four of these trends continue to lead B2B and B2C brands and practically all organizations in between to turn their attentions to customer data platforms to resolve these pain points (or nip them in the bud before they cause any issues within their marketing organizations and programs).
If your attention has turned to CDPs as well, you’re on the right path too.
A true CDP liberates your data so you no longer have to sacrifice data integrity and control to activate your most valuable marketing asset: your first-party customer data. And it makes data accessibility easy between disparate platforms.