CDP Mid-Year Review

This January, we published some predictions about the Customer Data Platform (CDP) marketplace. It's a very fast-moving segment, so let's check in after half a year to see what's going on.

For CDPs we predicted, "Profusion Leads to Confusion." This is definitely happening, although as always, we find patterns in the mist when we look closely enough.

New Entrants

After mostly rejecting the entire idea of CDPs (mostly, I think, because they didn't have one to sell), at least three major vendors came around and have announced development plans: SAP, Adobe, and Salesforce. None are in production yet, and this technology takes time to mature, so don't assume that your incumbent partner will have something truly ready for prime time by this time next year.

And of course the ranks of pure-play vendors continue to advance. In general this is a good thing, since it's forcing them to specialize a bit more than otherwise. We even saw the first open-source CDP offering (Apache Unomi), though I'm a bit skeptical...

Every Vendor a CDP Vendor?

Along with hype comes more than new market entrants. Longtime vendors of related technologies will claim that they, too, can provide CDP services. This is almost never true. I wrote a piece in CMSWire deconstructing the phenomenon.


RSG's 8th prediction — B2B vs B2C (Still) — holds true in the CDP marketplace, where some vendors in this historically B2C-oriented space have differentiated with emergent B2B support. Among RSG's larger B2B subscribers, we're definitely hearing curiosity, and in some cases actual interest in CDPs. In advisory sessions, though, we've been counseling some caution and the primacy of testing.

Still, it's a measure of an expanding technology set that use cases are broadening as well.

What You Should Do

Get clear about what you want a CDP to actually provide for your enterprise, and just as importantly, where it fits in your overall tech stack. RSG's advisory services can help you figure out the right path. Contact us to explore how we can support you.


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