The Datorama acquisition, and impending string of CDP acquisitions, gives current customer data platform customers and buyers reason to consider what it all means. A couple key questions to me:
- Which vendors will make it standing alone after IBM, Oracle, and others make similar moves?
- What will happen with the platforms swallowed up by these clouds/suites?
Standing alone means filling gaps
There will absolutely be standalone CDP vendors out there five years from now. The way they will survive is by filling gaps, as noted in the post linked above:
The suites will lag behind in some areas, or be in direct conflict with some first-party data programs, and customer data platforms will be there to fill in the gaps. These gaps will mostly be in data collection and data/decision delivery to execution systems the suites want nothing to do with.
Over time, gaps will be more clear. There's always something. For example, it might sound on the outside like all platforms have extremely capable and flexible data collection mechanisms, but they don't... and how much work goes into all if it? CDPs drive value by creating efficiencies, and are already helping in this area.
As another example of a gap, many organizations house data that must stay off-cloud, but still needs to be involved in analyses and execution systems. CDPs that help deal with this have an avenue to longetivity.
Cutomer data neutrality, service gaps
Salesforce claims to be heading towards being platform agnostic, but how far will that go? And what are the pricing implications on individual components?
Marketing clouds/suites love to keep things in-house. In sort of a net neutrality-like situation, vendors will steer customers towards their own services via pricing incentives.
Pricing incentives won't be enough to get everyone on board. There will always be customer data platforms that make more sense for specific industries. For example, if your "customers" are higher education candidates, rather than use the Salesforce CDP, use the one that specializes in tracking candidates from high school through graduation and beyond. The best CDP for higher education might be one that connects to nichey higher education systems and provides a level of service through experience that a Salesforce couldn't match.
With this in mind
Keep an eye on what your CDP has done for you lately. Make sure it's developing. Progressing. Filling gaps. It will be a hard climb, and the ones that continue to work at it and win the hearts and minds of specific industries, creating value in unique ways, will have the best chance at sticking around.