What is a Customer Data Platform: A Complete Guide to CDPs

CDPs offer a unified view of your customer. This guide will help you understand CDPs & how to use them.

Brands need to keep up with their customers and understand each touchpoint a customer has with their organization. CDPs offer the solution to this problem, creating a unified view of your customer. This guide will help you understand CDPs and how to use them.

What is customer data?


Before diving into CDPs, we need to define and look at what customer data is and how crucial it is to your business.

Customer data is any information that is left behind by customers as they use the internet and interact with your company both online and offline. This includes interactions with blogs, websites and more.

This data is valuable to a business and can help you track and understand your customer.

There are a few key types of data to understand:

  • Identity data

This data is the foundation of a customer profile. It allows you to identify customers as individuals. This data includes things like name, location, social information, demographics, contact information and account information.

  • Descriptive data

This is the next layer of data that gives you more information on customer insights. Descriptive data is highly dependent on the organization. It may include things like lifestyle, career, what they like to do, their income, if they own a pet, marital status and more.

  • Behavioral data

This data allows you to track and see how a customer interacts with your organization. This includes if they have made transactions, order dates, returned products, email metrics and online activity such as website visits and customer service information.

  • Qualitative data

This data is what gives your customer profile a little bit of personality. It is about motivation, opinions and attitudes. This can be things like favorite color, product ratings and more.

What is a customer data platform?


Now that we have gone over what customer data is, we can define what a customer data platform (CDP) is and what it does. A CDP is a type of software that organizes your customer data and sorts it in one place to be easily accessible for company efforts.

They do all of this in real-time, creating a unified customer profile that is easily accessible by employees and other systems within the company.

Their job is to automatically integrate all of this data from multiple sources across the company to help you put the customer experience at the forefront of your company.

How does a customer data platform work?


The main role of a CDP is to collect customer data and create a detailed view of your customers. This helps deliver effective, personalized communications to your customers across all channels.

Why use a customer data platform?


Customer data platforms capabilities will benefit your company in a variety of ways.


With ever-changing consumer behavior, CDPs allow your company to react and reassess quickly and easily. It gives businesses all the tools they need for data collection and to drive customer experience.

Unified view of the customer

CDPs allow you to create a tool within your organization’s tech stack. It unifies it together into one single view of your customers. In addition, it will make it accessible across other systems.

Improves efficiency

The customer data platform data model can help improve efficiency within your organization. It will integrate data and set up processes that were previously done manually.

Creates a better customer experience

Because CDPs help you track customer data, they can help your organization effectively create a great experience for your customers. It reveals opportunities to enhance the customer experience and can help guide your marketing teams to better solutions for your customers.

Democratizes data

CDPs will help you centralize your company’s data. It will help combat data silos and create unified data across your organization.

Customer data platforms vs data management platforms


It is important to distinguish the difference between CDPs and DMPs. The main difference is the type of data these systems work with. CDPs work with both known and anonymized data and stores information that is personally identifiable.

DMPs, on the other hand, work with data that is almost entirely anonymous, including things like IP address and cookie data.

There are a few key ways that CDPs and DMPs differ. The first is that CDPs will influence all aspects of your company’s marketing systems, which is why DMPs are best used for advertising data and for reaching the correct customer base.

In addition, CDPs collect first-party data, while DMPs collect third-party data.

Other differences include the data retention rates, with CDP data lasting much longer than DMP temporary data.

The best customer data platforms


There are a lot of CDP platforms out there. Below are some of the best examples of customer data platforms and customer data platform companies:


1.Emarsys: This CDP vendor helps businesses build an all-channel approach to data collection. It includes ways to report and analyze data while promoting automation to improve and enhance customer data.

2.Exponea: Exponea helps companies to track both offline and online data across all channels and consumer touchpoints. It is great for creating campaigns that are personalized to each of your customers or audience segments.

3.Tealium AudienceStream: This platform will help to enhance and improve customer engagement and help your company to build consumer profiles. It drives insights and helps you further segment your audiences into high and low-value customers.

How to choose a CDP


The best way to choose a CDP is to consider what you are using the platform for – define what you want to get out of the platform and how you are looking to use it. In addition, look into the type of tools you want to get out of your CDP: do you want it to be AI-driven or work for social media data?

Before selecting a CDP, compare multiple vendors to see which one fits your needs best. The last thing to consider is the ROI the platform will yield. It should help you weigh costs associated with setting up and maintaining the CDP and ultimately help you make the best decision for your company.

The importance of customer data and a customer-centric business model


Without customers, your business wouldn’t exist. They should be what your business revolves around and are the key to your business’s success.

CDPs centralize your customer’s data and deliver the most accurate and unified view of your customer data.

InterOperate helps companies, large and small, create, develop, and incorporate customer data platforms that deliver value for businesses and clientele. To see how, contact us today.


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