Shows a 3.5" black floppy disk with Wildcat! BBS Program 2 Version #3.x on it.

A retrospective on CDP and the CDP Resource 2018 Customer Data Platform Buyer's Guide

A 3.5" floppy disk that has not been used in some time.

While on the marketing analytics team for an asset manager, I fell in love with the idea of the software customer data platform. This is well-documented in podcast episode 53 of Analytics Power Hour, which at the time was the Digital Analytics Power Hour.

Enterprise Marketing Management?

Marketing Automation Suites?

No, thank you! There were now software CDPs that would quickly solve the most common and crushing problem encountered in web and digital analytics.

That problem?

We had insights, we needed execution.

My analytics friends know what I’m talking about.

Plenty of others are aware; this is nothing new. Since the rise of business data, business intelligence and analytics teams have had access to sufficient data to improve experiences, products, business processes, and ultimately grow their business. Plenty of this happened and happens, but many tests and experience changes can not be implemented because they would require real-time interaction, or at least real-time connectivity to data sources.

This is especially the case in the area of customer data, which is a very special kind of business data.

At its onset, customer data platform software served as a pain pill for various reasons that an organization could not take action on customer data.

Implementing does not stop

In working on organizations’ customer data platforms, there were quite a few successes along the way. It was also nuts. By the time I’d been part of dozens and dozens of implementations, I felt a bit like this.

frustrated man appears to be screaming
frustration. by flickr/22905496@N07

The successes were so great, and so fun to achieve. The idea of the software CDP was reinforced. The question by 2018 was, which ones worked? How? It was clear there were major differences within the category.

I started CDP Resource to act as a consultant and run a research project as an independent analyst. With dozens of customer data platforms out there, having a close look at not more than a few, I set out to learn as much as possible about anything and everything that called itself, or someone else called, a CDP.

The way I started out in 2018, a couple of premises would change quite a bit by the time I was done:

I believed that, with two software CDPs, and maybe one day it would be one software CDP, an organization would be capable of customer data management and activation.

This was still topical when coming back to the power hour podcast later in 2018

Today, in 2023, folks are asking the most simple question… which is effectively: are software CDPs just an evolution of marketing automation? End of story? (CDP’s are dead!! etc etc)

If you would like my free consultation on the subject, the answer is that it doesn’t matter.

It never mattered.

By 2019, I was giving presentations for select CDP providers and agency partners on the difference between a software customer data platform and an organization’s Customer Data Platform. These presentations resonated.

Why? Read more in Medium post: re-defining the CDP.