A customer data platform (CDP) is a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned, and combined to create a single customer view. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems.
CDP is currently a US$300 million industry and projected to reach $1 billion by 2019.
These systems can have connections to customer relationship management systems, such as Salesforce, where the integration typically pulls data from a CRM and in some instances are bi-directional. CRM users can view CDP data, such as detailed Web behavior histories, without actually copying it into the CRM files. CDPs with analytical or campaign management functions are more likely to push data into CRM for execution.
Marketing automation integration for customer data includes events such as email sends and responses.
A data management platform (DMP) collect anonymous web and digitally based data. CDPs collect data tied to an identifiable individual. Users of CDP can leverage the intelligence to provide more personalized content and delivery.
A data warehouse or data lake collects data, usually from the same source and with the same structure of information. While this information can be manually synthesized, neither type of system delivers the sophisticated identity resolution needed to build a single customer view. Data warehouses are often updated at scheduled intervals whereas CDPs ingest and make available data in real time. In practice, most CDPs use the same technologies as data lakes; the difference is the CDP has built-in features to do additional processing to make the data usable, while a data lake may not.