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A CTO’s Perspective – Our View of What’s New with Customer Data Platforms

July 19, 2016 | By

David Raab wrote a great blog about six major trends in the burgeoning Customer Data Platform category as a guest blogger on our site. Honestly, the post is so good, it probably should have been on his own blog! I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take his list of CDP trends and look at them from our perspective. Let’s go!

1 – Greater diversity in CDP outputs.

David argues that the CDP category has more diversity in ‘outputs’ – he means both connecting with other marketing systems and the type of data that is exchanged or derived from that data. We certainly have added a lot of out-of-the-box Connections (as we call them) compared to where we were a year ago. Our thinking is that having an API to connect to other systems is great (and we certainly provide a lot of them) but next to those APIs, having an out-of-the-box integration built and maintained by the vendor is even better: no deep investments to integrate systems or getting your developers involved; instead, just enable it in the CDP. The more connections to other composite parts of the marketing tech stack the better in our opinion, as the value of a CDP increases with each added connection.

On top of this we have invested a lot in what we call dynamic segmentation. The segments created by marketing are used to create a live bridge between marketing systems. A segment created in the CDP moves to the other systems in seconds, creating a highly dynamic martech control center of audience management.

2 – Movement towards higher-value outputs.

David also argues that a CDP’s outputs are delivering more value, meaning that the output is increasingly not only customer profiles but also all kinds of other functions. We certainly can attest to that; not only did we add out-of-the-box connections with other systems, we also added all kinds of real-time delivery capabilities, especially for web & mobile. Think small call-to-actions on your website, automatic control groups that show the difference between an added interaction and the original website or A/B testing. Next to that we added more ways to collect data, like a tool to visualize a funnel (and see where people drop off in a funnel) or easy to use form data collectors. See lots more details here. Each capability can compete with point solutions in the market, but is integrated in the CDP to save time and resources!

3 – Continued separation of CDPs from delivery systems.

As an argument against this trend, we also see a lot value (and demand!) for our customers to have web delivery ‘light’ capabilities directly in BlueConic, especially for web applications. It certainly is not designed to develop a full blown website, but inject small personalized messages on your website without having to go through your CMS implementation sprints – which has proved to be enormously powerful, especially for customers that just started with the CDP concept and don’t want to do a deep integration with their CMS.

4 – Growing recognition of the need for a separate CDP.

The last 6 months this has perceptibly shifted. While we frequently had to explain the concept of a CDP and its value, nowadays we increasingly receive RFIs and RFPs for a CDP. Customers may give it a different name, but we clearly see the market being more aware of the issue of having customer data spread out in all their systems, and searching for a marketer-oriented solution which is not moving to one vendor only as they find that that’s not realistic on any level.

5 – Convergence between CDP and DMP (data management platform).

Probably our most-asked question is “How is a CDP different from a DMP?” Our own Cory Munchbach even wrote a three (3!) part blog about this (start reading here). I think David Raab’s assessment CDPs and DMPs will keep moving towards each other is correct. A core difference between the two is ownership between the data. Fundamentally, the DMP is designed to share the aggregated data across their customers, while a CDP is designed for its customers to own the data themselves. That also means that a customer will feel more confident integrating deep customer data (like CRM systems own) with their CDPs, because they themselves own all the data – as well as the legal terms and procedural guidelines associated with its collection and storage.

6 – Extension to content data.

David argues that CDPs will do more and more with content and I think that is correct. You could argue that storing (metadata of) content is not theoretically part of a CDP, but just like having the lightweight delivery in a CDP, bringing content data inside the platform makes it a LOT easier to power content or product recommendations or make decisions about what message to show to a customer. Watch our releases the coming months for a lot more in this area.

That’s my view on David Raab’s 6 (spot on!) trends. We foresee a continued trend of more awareness of Customer Data Platforms in the market, as that will clarify the value proposition for an increasing number of vendors a lot. Thanks David!

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