Answering a frequent question: “So, how is BlueConic different from a DMP?” – Series Part 1

February 18, 2016 | By

We get this question a lot (like, a LOT): How is BlueConic – or CDPs more generally – different from a DMP?

This is a totally legit question. To provide a descriptive response requires a certain level of sophistication when it comes to customer data management. There are a number of valuable similarities between customer data platforms, like BlueConic, and data management platforms, like BlueKai, Krux, and Lotame, to name a few. There are also a few key differences that affect the utility, implementation, function, and value of each. So, how are CDPs different from DMPs? Across this and a couple upcoming posts, I will provide some clarity so that you know what you’re getting and why (with a special thanks to my intrepid nerd-partner-in-crime Todd for his help with these).

First, let’s revisit what a customer data platform is, courtesy of the one and only David Raab. Back in 2013, Raab defined a CDP as “a marketer-controlled system that builds a multi-source customer database and exposes it to external execution systems.” In particular, Raab wrote that the name works because:

  • “Customer” shows the scope extends to all customer-related functions, not just marketing;
  • “Data” shows the primary focus is on data, not execution; and
  • “Platform” shows it does more than data management while supporting other systems

Raab gets into this in further detail in an earlier guest blog post. On the surface this CDP concept is pretty straightforward, but it’s not all that hard to find yourself embarking on an inadvertent thought exercise: which technologies from other categories of martech qualify in some way as a CDP, blurring the lines that Raab has so convincingly provided? I’d argue that the blurriest convergence is between CDPs and data management platforms (DMPs) because:

1. Both do customer data management,
2. Both help marketers do their jobs better, and
3. Both help provide richer insight about your consumers.

So, how do you know which to use for what?

DMP vs CDP Part 1

Fortunately, I don’t have to start from scratch on a DMP lesson. Over the last couple months, our friend Marty Kihn over at Gartner has written nearly 10,000 words on data management platforms. I recommend you not only go read those posts, but print them out, put them in Evernote, make flashcards – whatever you do with Really Useful Information – and refer back to it on the regular. I like Marty’s approach and format so much, in fact, that I’m going to borrow his “Top 10 Amazing Secrets of DMPs” and use it as a framework to compare and contrast CDPs and DMPs. So, without further ado, those top 10 DMP secrets are:

1. DMPs store data in two different ways
2. They collect data like everyone else – with tags, APIs and uploads
3. They are in the business of labeling (and relabeling) people
4. They use outside partners to help map data to users
5. Their “user profile” is not supposed to be a complete customer profile
6. What they call an “audience” is just a segment
7. They were designed to build targets for advertising
8. They were also designed to personalize websites
9. They make many decisions based on predefined rules
10. [Revealed on site with great fanfare and provocation]

Give Marty’s posts a read and then come back to this same spot tomorrow for the first five!

computer icon

See what BlueConic can do for you

Request Demo