Do CDPs (customer data platforms) suck?

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Well, you can paint a very bad picture of them from a bean-counter’s perspective

The technology costs money, they add another item to the marketing technology stack, they have to be set up to receive data from many different sources, they then have to store all that data, and have to keep on being fed with it. Someone even has to hit a few keys for something to come out of them.

We think there is a bright side, which is not surprising to hear from people who are intrepid enough to actually build and sell CDPs.

Obviously, in themselves CDPs are worthless; the value only comes when you start to do something useful with that data. But as an enabler today’s CDPs can be something quite special.

The big picture view is that if you don’t have everything known about each customer structured and held in one place then you have no chance of meeting the customers’ expectations. And this holds true for every occasion when you are interacting with customers.

However below this Olympian vision there are a growing number of applications that are either made possible, or made to work better, when they can be powered by a customer data platform.

Here is a checklist we have made or current uses that our clients have been making of a CDP:


  • Outbound marketing

      – targeted and personalised direct mail

      – segmented email campaigns

      – triggered email campaigns

      – SMS push notifications


  • GDPR/Call center support

      – consent storage

      – privacy portal for SARs

      – customer recent activity search


  • Dashboards

      – customer and sales performance

      – linked to web browsing activity


  • Digital advertising

      – website personalisation (segmented and one-to-one)


  • Technical/ analytical

      – includes browsing history in the SCV

      – bespoke engineered data fields based on the SCV

      – SCV data exports for analysis


About Julian Berry

Julian Berry demonstrating UniFida

As a marketeer I have a passion for bringing science and statistics to the marketing process. The objective being to make every marketing penny count!
This has led to my developing innovative software tools for optimising marketing budget allocation, and customer contacts.
It has also taken me into geek territory with special interests in digital marketing attribution, and understanding the impact of customer contact density.
I started my direct marketing career reporting directly to the legendary Christian Brann, and 
I soon found myself working in ground breaking client direct marketing roles at NatWest and LTSB.
Subsequently I became a direct marketing consultant.The first company that I founded, Berry Consulting, was sold to Acxiom, and the second, The Customer Partnership, to greenstone data solutions.
Specialties: applying science and statistics to marketing


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