Customer Data Platform (CDP)

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The CDP Institute defines a Customer Data Platform “as a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems." This definition has three critical elements:

  1. It is a marketer-managed system. The CDP is built and controlled by the marketing department, not the corporate Information Technology department. Some technical resources will be required to set up and maintain the CDP, but it does not require the level of technical skill of a typical data warehouse project. What really matters is that marketing is in charge of deciding what goes into the system and what it exposes to other systems. In particular, it means marketing can make changes without asking anyone's permission, although it may still need outside help.
  2. It creates a persistent, unified customer database. The CDP creates a comprehensive view of each customer by capturing data from multiple systems, linking information related to the same customer, and storing the information to track behavior over time. The CDP contains personal identifiers used to target marketing messages and track individual-level marketing results.
  3. Data is accessible to other systems. Data stored in the CDP can be used by other systems for analysis and to manage customer interactions.

All CDPs share these core characteristics however, not all CDPs are created alike.  In addition to these foundational characteristics many CDPs add additional value by leveraging and analyzing the data they integrate to map customer journeys, refine customer segments, or deliver targeted and personalized marketing campaigns.   

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