We are currently seeing an explosion of interest and investment in Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) from the major tech and software companies.
The marketing potential of CDPs, in addition to other benefits, explains that interest. Companies like Salesforce and Adobe expanding into the CDP market demonstrate that their customers are eager to invest in CDPs for their own companies. This article will explore the growing prioritization of data-first marketing, review how the large companies have acquired or built CDPs, and explain what this means for your company.
Before the ability to record, track, and analyze customer data, marketers operated with a lot of expensive guesswork. There were gut instincts, and copying other successful campaigns, but marketers generally had a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” approach that was less efficient and unfortunately less reproducible than modern possibilities. With the digital revolution, companies now had a way to record customer behavior, and even follow potential customers pre-purchase to track impressions and measure cost-per-conversion. However, de spite these advances in marketing potential, many companies still aren’t connecting the data they have in a way that can guide their marketing decisions. Data silos, lack of actionable analytics, or lack of campaign and delivery options that connect to customer data mean that usable data is falling short of its potential.
The book, “Data-First Marketing” by Janet Driscoll Miller and Julia Lim defines data-first marketing as “…marketing strategy that focuses on intelligently utilizing the vast amount of marketing data available from the rapid growth and adoption of marketing technology in order to create true competitive advantage in any industry.” Good data, efficiently applied, allows companies to form a 360-degree view of the customer, and to track trends, make dynamic inputs and adjust strategy in real time.
While there are different means of storing and implementing customer data, an Operational CDP is the most comprehensive and unified solution to accomplish this goal. Operational CDPs not only store and provide access to customer data, they also analyze and organize it, provide the means for segmenting and targeted campaigns, offer a delivery method so you can carry out targeted communications from one platform, and integrate with your existing MAP, Salescloud, or other customer platforms. Through a CDP, your customer data is fully actionable and can be the driving force behind your marketing efforts.
CDP ACQUISITION AND GROWTH
Anyone paying attention to industry trends will have noticed the development or acquisition of CDPs by software giants like Adobe, Salesforce, Twilio and others. As buzz around the potential of CDPs has grown in the last couple of years, some companies have been left scrambling—slapping the “CDP” label on any product they already had on offer that might remotely fall into the category of a customer data platform. At its most basic, a true CDP accumulates, stores, and relays customer data to other platforms. However, through acquisitions and product mergers, many CDPs offer a lot more than that, especially the ability to interface with operational software for campaign and delivery features, as is the case with Operational CDPs. Consumers should be careful to vet the capabilities of a CDP to make sure it truly meets their requirements.
Salesforce has been ahead of the game when it comes to CDP development. Through acquisitions and a focus on solving their customers’ use cases as they come up, they’ve integrated the Salesforce CDP into the overall customer journey in a way that makes its use in marketing efficient and seamless.
We’ve seen the same intent from Adobe with their Real-time CDP, and many other acquisitions over the last decade to solidify their software stack. Other companies such as Oracle, Segment (now acquired by Twilio), and Tealium are moving in the same direction, focusing on acquiring, building, or refining CDPs as part of their marketing offerings.
One technology blog predicted that CDP acquisitions and development would continue to grow “as more and more companies seek to bring customer data and journey orchestration under one roof. More importantly, these acquisitions are a vision writ large – confirmation of customer data platforms as the central nervous system for any modern business.” Companies should recognize this investment in CDPs as the writing on the wall for the future of marketing.
One of the most valuable assets of any company is their data. Without the means to put that data into effective use, it is wasted potential. The focus of technology and software providers on CDP development shows that the future of marketing is data-driven. And that data will be assembled, organized, and utilized with a CDP. With quality data, put to use in real time through an Operational CDP, data-first marketing can become a reality.