• Martech has no shortage of acronyms, but one technology that has captured the attention of marketers more than any other is a CDP, or customer data platform.

    That was one of many insights shared by Martin Kihn, SVP of Product Strategy for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, during his RampUp 2019 session “Demystifying CDPs.”

    Prior to joining Salesforce, Martin led Gartner’s data-driven marketing practice and shared how the firm conducted an inventory of inbound questions from its clients. CDPs were by far the number one topic, outpacing analytics, attribution, DMPs, and every other subject in the marketing world.

    It’s clear CDPs are top of mind for marketers, so why is that? Let’s break down a few key points covered in Martin’s talk.

    What is a CDP (Customer Data Platform)?

    According to Martin, a CDP is “a very usable customer database for marketers” that is:

    1. A clean and open database for customer information.
    2. Owned and operated by marketers.

    CDPs span a wide range of capabilities, from data collection via integrations and unification around a persistent ID to analytics and activation.

    What created the need for CDPs?

    Marketing’s role has expanded to become the de facto owner of the customer experience. Marketers are dealing with more and more data sources over time, yet they also need to become smarter over time, which leads them to require their own database (or at least desire it). Martin sees the CDP as “a natural evolution of CRM in the B2C space.”

    Because this type of database is vital to marketing success, marketers don’t want to be at the mercy of the IT queue. CDPs allow marketers to take control and build their own database with the help of vendors. As Martin shared on stage, he once tweeted, “The more I study the CDP the more it looks like the CMO’s ultimate revenge on the CIO.”

    Are CDPs similar to DMPs?

    Although marketers often group data management platforms (DMPs) and CDPs together, they are designed for different purposes. DMPs deal in the world of anonymous data, mostly for programmatic ad targeting, whereas CDPs handle known data and support marketing programs. They are parallel, complementary systems today, but have the potential to become combined systems tomorrow that span the entire customer journey.

    Watch other insightful RampUp 2019 sessions on demand here.

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