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Customer Data Platform

What is a Customer Data Platform?

The big questions, answered

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What exactly is a Customer Data Platform?

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What is a Customer 360?

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Customer Data Platform vs. Data Management Platform?

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Which CDP is best for your business?

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What is a Customer Data Platform?

In a sentence, a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.

Often, the defining characteristics are outlined in four components:

  1. Marketer-managed;
  2. Employs a unified, persistent, single database for all customer behavioral, profile and other data, from any internal or external source;
  3. Utilizes a consistent identifier that links all of a customer’s data; and
  4. Fully accessible by external systems and are structured to fully support marketers’ needs for campaign management, marketing analyses, and business intelligence.

Those are the basics, but why do CDPs even matter? The better you understand your customers, the better products and experiences you can deliver, and the more loyal your fans become. It's that simple.

So what distinguishes the good CDPs from the great ones?
It ultimately comes down to speed, flexibility, and smarts.

More about the 'Intelligent' CDP

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Customer 360? Single customer view?

There are many names for customer data that have been aggregated at the individual level: unified customer record, single customer view, customer 360-degree profile. Whichever term you prefer, a unified picture of each customer is the key to unlocking more personalized communication and experiences. But customer data is chaotic and fragmented across sources and systems. The key to unified, stable profiles is solving the immensely complex challenge of identity resolution.

Explore the unique challenge of data deduplication and how a single customer view can transform your consumer insights and relationships.

The Ultimate Customer 360 View

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What’s the difference between a CDP and a data management platform (DMP)?

If you read a simple description of a CDP and a DMP, you might think they do the same thing. They both help brands build user profiles for use by downstream systems. But there's a very important distinction: data management platforms rely heavily on 3rd party and "clickstream", or browsing data, to assemble anonymous profiles. As privacy regulations and the prioritization of security by consumers erode the quality and access of 3rd party sources, the reliability of DMPs diminishes.

More about CDP vs. DMP

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What makes one CDP different from the next?

There are several vendors that offer CDP solutions to help companies better connect with their customers. This comes as no surprise – there’s huge value to be gained in building better customer relationships, and a lot of hurdles to get there. However, not every vendor solves for the same types of customer data challenges. Pick the solution that works for your data.

5 Things You Should Know About CDPs

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What's the best CDP for your business? The devil’s in the details

If you do some quick investigating, it sounds like all CDPs do roughly the same thing. They bring in customer data from various sources, they create a single customer view, and they send that data out to external touchpoints. So what are the actual differences?

Tips for evaluating the best CDP

More about CDPs from industry experts

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Forrester Research: The Economics of Better Customer Data


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e.l.f. Cosmetics: Data, Content & Adapting to Change


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Neal Analytics: Choosing & Deploying the Right CDP for Your Business