April 18, 2022 | 4 min read

When the CDP Dream Turns Into a Nightmare

The world of CDPs is complicated and choosing a CDP vendor is extremely challenging, let alone finding the right one.

Illustration of woman looking disappointed along with text "I wish my CDP..."

Crosby works at a big company with masses of customer data scattered across multiple sources. He has an important responsibility in his portfolio — managing the business’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) that was implemented to easily bring together the data into actionable insights. At first, he was excited about the new platform and had high hopes that their customer profiles would be neatly organized in an easy and efficient time frame, bringing in fresh insights and powering winning campaigns. But delays continued to mount, and there were still complications bringing data in and getting it to a usable format for all departments. Crosby’s dreams of an accurate, easy to use, and comprehensive Customer 360 were fading. 

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. You probably know a Crosby. You might even be Crosby. The CDP space is rapidly growing and becoming more muddied as it expands. Part of that uncertainty comes from the number of competing claims that flood the market. Some companies advertise themselves as CDPs but don’t live up to the critical functions of unifying data, deriving intelligence from it, and putting it to work across channels. This chaos makes choosing any CDP vendor extremely challenging, let alone finding the right one.

The dream vs. the unfortunate reality 

The CDP Institute defines a CDP as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database accessible to other systems.” But the devil is in the details — it’s not just a matter of what the CDP can do, but also how it does it. The world of CDPs is complicated, and it can be tricky to know what to look for or figure out what you’re lacking until you’re deep into using a platform. So here are some questions to ask: 

Can your CDP quickly and easily ingest raw data in any form? 

Or  Does it take a long time and require you to format your data?

Does it create accurate and reliable customer profiles that stay up-to-date as customer data changes? 


Are you seeing inaccuracies in your customer profile foundation that negatively impact your insights?

Does it allow you to self-service and segment a unified customer view that enables your different users the flexibility to get the data they need, how they need it?


Is it rigid and difficult to gather insights without your CDP provider’s help?

Does it come with a client services team who will partner with you to overcome obstacles and unlock opportunities?


Does your CDP provider disengage after the purchase, forcing you to go it alone without a strategic partner with your customer in mind?

A dream realized

If the answers to the questions above give you a sinking feeling, don’t be discouraged. If your current CDP isn’t meeting your expectations, it means you’ll know what to look for from another CDP provider  — a partner who can help build and assemble an accurate customer profile foundation at scale to drive better customer-centric insights, and increase ROI. 

For more information on the capabilities needed to make data work, download our guide, CDP Shouldn’t Stand for Complications, Delays, & Pain