Everywhere you look in CDP land, folks are scrambling to define exactly what a customer data platform is. If I am asked "what is a CDP" I explain it to be marketing technology that facilitates the use of entire-lifecycle customer data from multiple sources across multiple channels without vendor-based preference for the sources/channels.
Where definitions start to go wrong is at the feature level. There is no alignment on exactly which features a CDP should have, or the definition of those features, even.
In Q4 2018, CDP Resource will release its first "buyers' guide" for those seeking more information on the technology and providers. 85+ providers will be covered in this ongoing effort.
Let's start where it goes right. Take David Raab's definition, the linked screenshot below is from a "CDP masterclass" video I highly recommend:
Without diving into features, you get succinctness. Start trying to define what features will support these platform characteristics, and conflict abounds. I consider this an overfitting problem. We can get into discussions around how much of a data repository a CDP must maintain on its own, for example, but there is no use. From organization to organization, the needs are not the same.
Some CDPs started as tag management solutions. Some started as data-heavy CRMs. Some started in marketing automation. Some started in email. Some started off facilitating the use of entire-lifecycle customer data from multiple sources across multiple channels without vendor-based preference for the sources/channels. None of this matters, though vendors might want to convince you that it does. What matters is that the CDP is going to fit in with and improve your people, your process, and your other technology.