Customer data platforms: it’s tough being a multi-faceted facilitator

Customer data platforms are not just facilitator technology, CDP are a multi-faceted facilitator. This is why there is a tremendous lack of understanding of what a CDP can do, or what it will specifically do for any one organization.

Researching customer data platforms, you quickly bump into someone comparing CDP to tag management solutions (TMS). Almost always, there is then a reference to Tealium's AudienceStream, sometimes mParticle and others who have grown out of that area. Certainly, tag managers and CDPs are both facilitator technology for marketing, so the comparison makes a lot of sense. While TMS vendors are stretching into the CDP category, there is not much feature overlap between the two distinct categories of technology. There is quite a bit of overlap in spirit and in the approach that vendor marketing & sales teams are taking, however.

Remember an oft-made promise of tag management, especially early on... this is going to take IT out of the picture. Imagine being able to change tracking on your websites and mobile apps without being in the queue! Sound familiar at all?

The best TMS vendors were pitching unity. "The TMS offers a common language, a data contract in the form of a documented data layer, between IT and marketing!"

After all, someone has to get that TMS tag on the site, and help marketers find the best places to get data.

CDP life is no different. The best CDP vendors are pitching unity. A common language. An ability for both teams to get shit done more efficiently and more effectively.

You do not want IT out of the picture. You do want to have an understanding around how marketing needs the agility to respond to ideas, issues, and events in the moment. It's true that CDPs offer marketers the ability to iterate and innovate without IT involvement. This can even be an okay way to get started. The best implementations, though, are those built on a foundation of alignment.

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