Top Free Customer Data Platform (CDP) Software

Check out our list of free Customer Data Platform (CDP) Software. Products featured on this list are the ones that offer a free trial version. As with most free versions, there are limitations, typically time or features.

If you'd like to see more products and to evaluate additional feature options, compare all Customer Data Platform (CDP) Software to ensure you get the right product.

(216)4.7 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:Free

Segment is a customer data platform that helps every team access clean and reliable customer data to make real-time decisions, accelerate growth, and personalize experiences. Today, over 20,000 companies across 70+ countries use Segment, from fast-growing businesses like Instacart, Peloton, and Bonobos to some of the world’s largest organizations like Levi’s, Intuit, and FOX. With Segment, companies can connect and activate reliable first-party data across 300+ marketing, analytics, and data wa

Raphaël T.
RT
Our clients inevitably need to configure a couple analytics tools, communications tools, monitoring tools, and more, and Segment helps keep that... Read review
Robson Jean P.
RP
Segment.io is a very great tool, you can integrate all your analytics platforms with just segment.io You don`t need to insert a lot of analytics... Read review
(39)4.7 out of 5

Hull allows sales, marketing and customer success teams to make sense of the whole customer journey and use all customer data that’s otherwise locked up and siloed away in dozens of separate tools and databases. It puts everyone customer-facing in your organization on the same page by creating one common set of customer data across the whole customer journey.

Matt W.
MW
Easy to setup and sync data between Hubspot, Mailchimp and other tools we have used it with. Read review
John S.
JS
Hull works. It's been a part of our stack for a long time and I rarely have to think about it because it does it's job great. Read review
(340)4.3 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:Free Forever Free

Totango is the leading customer success platform that enables organizations of all sizes to improve growth and retention by guiding strategic customer engagement for businesses. With a data-driven approach, Totango creates a comprehensive and shareable profile of the customer, turning customer information into actionable insights. TotangoSpark breaks down the customer lifecycle into simple, easy-to-manage stages that let companies prioritize their processes to hit the goals that drive growth for

AT
We have gained missing insight into our customer base, and have found prioritization and workflow options for our CSM team that we were previously... Read review
Janus Conrad D.
JD
Totango's intuitive design and the built in feature to send email campaigns. Read review
(38)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Zaius is the Activated Customer Data Platform that assists growing brands to achieve higher customer lifetime value by delivering relevance across the entire customer journey, from anonymous browsers to loyal shoppers. We align your entire organization around customer data allowing you to create a relevant customer experience that differentiates your brand and create customer loyalty. Zaius gives you access to an actionable and dynamic customer lifecycle view, supercharges your segmentation wi

Jonathon R.
JR
Automated Aspects and Segmentation Are Sophisticated, Design Features Are Nice, Customer Support is Great, Price is Reasonable, Data Importing is... Read review
Derek W.
DW
We used it for our customer loyalty program. It was really easy to set up. Read review
(32)4.5 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

Zeotap is a Customer Intelligence Platform (CIP) that helps companies better understand their customers and predict behaviors, to invest in more meaningful experiences. We enable brands to build on a nucleus of first-party data to win new customers and grow their loyal base. Our independent but integrated modules include customer data unification, identity resolution, enrichment, analytics/modeling (including in data clean rooms), and activation to 100+ partners in the marketing ecosystem. Rec

AM
Specially the account managment, the people in Zeotap are very kin, always available, I tend to choose it over the competitors due to the positive... Read review
Vatsank B.
VB
No Doubt the platform is great, I would say its a CDP 2.0 in many cases again depends on the use case you are solving but the best part is the the... Read review
(160)4.4 out of 5

SALESmanago is the only no-code, AI driven CDXP (all in One Customer Data Platform & Customer Experience Platform) used by 2000+ midmarket and large Enterprises in 50 countries including Starbucks, Vodafone, Lacoste, New Balance, Victoria’s Secret and many other global brands. Financial Times ranks SALESmanago as the fastest growing marketing automation platform in Europe. SALESmanago is harnessing the full power of first- and zero-party data, combining advanced analytics and AI Hyperperson

Erika G.
EG
It is very complete and while others charge for each functionality, at SALESmanago we have all the tools and functionalities available to enhance... Read review
PP
This platform allows you to improve the entire process and development of email marketing through the creation of dynamic content for marketing on... Read review
(80)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$499 per month

Funnel is transforming digital marketing, putting Business-Ready Data at the fingertips of marketers so they always know with certainty what is really driving performance. Funnel’s Data Core, with its contextual data model, takes messy, siloed data from all sources and automatically generates Business-Ready Data that is fully harmonized, up-to-date and always ready to act upon. Funnel doesn’t require any coding or manual maintenance, giving marketers point-and-click control to continuously exp

GD
I love the fact that Funnel allows you to essentially just combine all of your advertising data from all of the different advertising platforms you... Read review
UE
ok. Funnel.io is POWERFUL. We use this for campaigns and cant imagine using anything else. This saved us multiple times, from a broken middle... Read review
(18)4.8 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

CaliberMind is a marketing analytics solution for B2B Marketers that spans engagement scoring, marketing attribution, and end-to-end buyer journey reporting. CaliberMind integrates with your entire go-to-market tech stack and even fixes your data for you. Too often, companies don’t have the bandwidth or skills to transform their digital marketing data into meaningful insights. Marketers need real-time marketing analytics to supercharge their impact on pipeline and revenue. It’s why we developed

Matt M.
MM
The flexibility of CaliberMind is one I haven't found with any other attribution or measurement software. I've onboarded or vetted several other... Read review
(14)4.6 out of 5

Kizen’s founders have been providing marketing, sales, and operational consulting since 2003 to some of the biggest and fastest growing companies in the world. In 2018, after using 200 legacy providers for over 15 years, Kizen's founders decided the status quo sales and marketing technology simply wasn’t good enough. Kizen is the first platform to seamlessly integrate and coordinate the essential sales and marketing technologies so companies can grow smarter, save time, and deliver personalized

WN
Kizen is an intuitive CRM that is easy to use without much prior experience. The timeline that tracks all communication with individual clients is... Read review
AM
Kizen’s Sales CRM is hugely underrated. Not only does it allow for seamless communication within sales teams and inter-departmental collaboration,... Read review
(2)4.0 out of 5

LeadBoxer is a lead generation and lead scoring platform for small to large B2B sales teams. LeadBoxer provides sales teams of any size with valuable insights on what their potential customers are interested in before they even reach out. The software automatically creates visitor profiles for website visitors, captures data on their online behaviour and interactions, and then assigns them a leadscore according to parameters set by the assigned account manager. With LeadBoxer, sales teams are

UI
Their flexibility into accept our feedback and implement new features. Read review
EC
Tracking, of who vistits our website, integration with our own (custom made) CRM system. Read review
(1)5.0 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$199

Q is a customer intelligence platform to help business teams answer more of their own questions with data, collaborate with peers around insights, and ease the burden on central IT teams.

Michael G.
MG
Lumiary is a super easy plug and play tool that allows businesses to begin to see how their lines of businesses are functioning from a wholelistic... Read review
(2)5.0 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:Starts from $99

CustomerLabs CDP is a no-code customer data platform that helps ecommerce, SaaS, B2B and Agency marketers to track, identify, segment, sync & analyze their customer data. The platform helps marketers orchestrate personalized campaigns across channels without depending on their developers. Track and combine the customer data you want from your website, app, CRM, email, service & offline channels. With identity resolution, you can map anonymous users and their activities across platforms

Bruce M.
BM
Customerlabs gave us the ability to easily recreate our segmented CRM lists as audience in all our ad platforms and we were thus able to generate... Read review
0 ratings

mediarithmics offers an open and integrated data marketing infrastructure, covering all CDP and DMP uses. The platform can also be used to create Data Alliances, guaranteeing the impermeability of data between partners and compliance with current and future regulations (GDPR, Pipeda, CCPA…). Our technology enables the collect of each customer and prospect data (hundreds of millions of offline & online data profiles) without compression, allowing segmentation and orchestration of multi-chann

(22)4.6 out of 5

Piwik PRO is the first privacy-oriented alternative to Google Analytics. Created in 2013, Piwik PRO Analytics Suite allows for tracking web, app, product and intranet behavior of users. The platform ensures compliance with strict EU, US, Chinese and Russian data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). With the great platform comes great customer care. From implementation and onboarding, through

UC
Piwik is feature-rich, flexible, and a fantastic alternative to GA for those times when you must self-host all the data. Read review
Stephen H.
SH
I am loathe to always use google analytics. My desire is to understand my website vistiors or customers not just hand over these statistics... Read review
0 ratings

Octopi Commerce has been awarded the following... - * “Top Ten Best Artificial Intelligence Solution Providers for 2020.” - * “Top Twenty Best Retail Technology Solution Providers for 2020.” - * “Top Ten Customer Data Platform (CDP) Solution Provider of 2019.” - * “Top Ten Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platforms for 2019.” - * “Company of the Year for 2019.” Octopi Commerce is a SaaS and AI technology leader providing smart scheduling and offer personalization at scale. It’s flags

Related Marketing Cloud (RMC) is a personalisation and marketing automation tool for data-driven Omni-channel marketing. One-to-one consumer relationships powered by all in one platform to drive higher revenue, improve customer lifetime value, grow audience, and boost performance. We are proud to provide you the following services: Customer Data Platform, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Web Targeting, Product Recommendation, Customer Journey Manager

0 ratings
Entry Level Price:$0 Monthly

SkyPoint Cloud is a customer data platform that champions privacy and compliance through connected privacy-first customer experiences. Using 200+ pre-built connectors and real-time integrated data, SkyPoint provides a customer 360 consent management platform that keeps your organization CCPA and GDPR compliant—resulting in improved team efficiency and increased consumer confidence. Over a million end users choose SkyPoint as their comprehensive and compliant customer data platform, which includ

Top 10 Free Customer Data Platform (CDP) Software in 2021

  • Segment
  • Hull
  • Totango
  • Zaius
  • Zeotap

Learn More About Customer Data Platform (CDP) Software

What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Customer data platforms (CDP) provide a 360-degree view of a customer’s journeys and accurately capture customers’ interactions with brands so that they can be used for future marketing campaigns. Essentially, a CDP is a customer database that automatically updates as new data becomes available from a multitude of sources, predominantly first-party data and sometimes third-party data. CDPs can then structure this gathered data into centralized customer profiles to enable organizations to identify and easily engage with their customers, which can lead to a high lifetime value with them. 

CDPs are not customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data warehouses, or data management platforms (DMP). CDPs, unlike CRMs, gather numerous types of data from varying sources that don’t require manual maintenance. CDPs focus on identifying segmented audience profiles to optimize marketing strategies. CRMs are typically managed by salespeople and mostly house customer transaction data that is manually entered (i.e., completing a form on a website) and then used to analyze the sales pipeline. Additionally, CDPs can capture both online and offline data, while CRMs can only capture online data and report on known or potential customers. 

CDPs are also quite different from data warehouses and DMPs. Traditional data warehouses are typically created and managed by IT professionals, whereas CDPs are managed by marketers and don’t require much ongoing technical support. Consequently, marketers can take complete control over their marketing databases and gather real-time data to create and optimize actionable insights for all of their customer data. DMPs mainly aggregate third-party data based on cookies, while CDPs predominantly analyze first-party data based on real consumer identities. CDPs are specifically focused on all aspects of marketing, which is why it’s considered a marketing technology tool, whereas DMPs are considered more of an advertising technology platform because they specifically focus on improving display ad targeting. Marketers continue to have an excessive amount of data available to them, which is why CDPs are especially beneficial. They can produce a unified data platform for marketers to enhance customer journeys by combining data across sources like web behavior, mobile apps, social conversations, campaign activity, etc. 

Identity and profile data: CDPs enable marketers to not only glean customer data but also allow them to create customer profiles so that complete customer data is located in one central location. This type of data includes basic contact data like name, age, gender, location, social channel profiles, account information, and job title. Some of this data is often included in a company’s CRM, however, CDPs don’t require manual entry and takes that data a step further by also including data points about a customer’s lifestyle, personality, hobbies, and family information. 

Behavioral data: This type of data helps marketers analyze how customers are interacting with their company. You can gather data like the product categories they are browsing, click-through rate (CTR) on emails, number of webpages visited, purchased products or solutions, and social media engagement. All of this data will help make sense of the customer’s preferences and better serve personalized experiences throughout their customer journey. Motivational factors that could influence a customer’s purchasing decision, like why they selected a product, and what they don’t like about it, can also be identified.

What Does CDP Stand For?

CDP stands for customer data platform. CDPs create a unified, comprehensive view of each customer by gathering data from multiple sources and tracking this data over time. 

What Types of Customer Data Platform (CDP) Exist?

The CDP market has evolved over the years, and different types of CDPs have emerged that offer varying capabilities for distinct use cases. 

Solely data CDPs 

These kinds of CDP, often referred to as standalone CDPs, only have the necessary core components a CDP must possess. Solely data CDPs enable companies to collect data across multiple sources, provide a 360-degree view of the customer, segment that data to improve targeting for marketing campaigns, and connect to other systems marketers already have in place to leverage any collected data. These CDPs are great for marketers who want a single view of their customers but also have multiple marketing technology software solutions. This will allow data to be collected quickly and exist outside of silos. With this type of CDP, marketers will still be able to gather data automatically from offline and online sources without any manual entry. Solely data, or standalone CDPs, can retain all ingested customer data for as long as marketers specify. Additionally, with these types of CDPs, marketers can create data selection parameters that can include or extract any data from customer profiles. 

Data and analytics CDPs 

CDPs that include more advanced analytics take the data-only CDP one step further. Data and analytics CDPs offer more robust data visualization features as well as pre-built reports to help further analyze all data and better understand customer patterns and behaviors. Advanced data visualization will also help marketers communicate insights across departments within their company, including sales, customer success, and product. These departments will then also be able to leverage customer data and profiles to help within their job roles. These CDPs will also offer predictive features to alert marketers of any problems with customers, as well as automatically monitor any changes in customer’s input data and preferences. Finally, another capability with these CDPs involves some type of machine learning component to enable marketers to process behavioral data in real time to better optimize customer journeys. 

Data, analytics, and engagement CDPs 

Within this type of CDP, there are all the features listed in the previous two kinds as well as various other advanced features to optimize and execute marketing campaigns. This CDP can execute cross-channel marketing campaigns. Users can automate their marketing campaigns and deliver tailored messaging through channels that are appropriate for each customer, as well as respond to changes in customer preferences in real time. These CDPs combine analytics, customer experience optimization, and marketing automation to assist marketers in personalizing campaigns for each customer based on previous interactions and predicted behaviors. For example, this type of CDP enables users to personalize their display ads with predictive product recommendations. Marketers will also be able to generate real-time messages to align customer behaviors across their entire journey and detect real-time activities to influence purchase intent. 

What are the Common Features of Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

The following are some core (or shared) features within CDP, as well as distinguishing features, that can help users create a unified and complete picture of customers on an individual level. 

Integrations: The integrations each CDP provides is important to choose the right type of CDP for a business. It’s important to ensure the user’s entire marketing stack can integrate with the CDP to have one central database for all customer data. For example, a user’s CRM should integrate with the CDPs they’re researching, as well as any present ERP software, social media management software, platform extensions, e-commerce platforms, DMPs, etc.

Persistent data gathering: A core feature of CDPs includes the ability to ingest data from all sources (online and offline) persistently across a customer’s journey. This customer data that is gathered and collected within a CDP can be unstructured or structured and can be reformatted according to the needs of the marketer.

Security and compliance: Any software related to customer data comes with data privacy concerns. Government data regulations like GDPR and CCPA require companies to protect customers’ data and prevent data leakage. Marketers would want to ensure the CDP that is selected has reliable security settings and complies with data privacy regulations. Additionally, marketers will need to be able to source which systems are interacting and pulling data within the CDP. 

Identity resolution: Identity resolution enables marketers to identify customers across multiple channels and devices, which allows them to deliver real-time, personalized messaging based on individual preferences. CDPs assist marketers in combining user IDs and building customer profiles to create a holistic view of customers in one place. 

Reporting and customized dashboards: CDPs can come with robust reporting functionality as well as customized dashboards. Most CDPs offer some type of basic reporting capabilities, but some also include more sophisticated reports and the ability to autogenerate reports and export them for further visualization and analysis. More robust reporting can include customer engagement level comparisons across varying segments, as well as revenue attribution and ROI reporting. Customized dashboards help select what data is most important for a business to showcase actionable insights to optimize their messaging and marketing campaigns. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning: CDPs that have artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities can determine the best products and solutions for customers based on their past behavior and make predictions about a customer’s future activity. AI can assist marketers with tailoring messaging for individual customers to create a one-to-one communication approach. These personalized experiences are unique for each and every customer that interacts with a company. ML takes those algorithms and optimizes them over time by informing marketers what personalization tactics are working and which ones are not.

Data enrichment: CDPs, at the most basic level, unify customer profiles and provide a complete view of the customer. Most CDPs leverage first-party data to create customer profiles, but some CDP options enrich data by pulling in external data sources (i.e., second and third-party data sources). 

Cross-channel automation: While this may sound like a marketing automation feature, and it is, CDPs enhance this capability by incorporating non siloed data. Traditional marketing automation software can execute cross-channel automation, but they aren’t able to use data from a single customer profile that is programmatically coming in from multiple sources. CDPs can take customer profiles and then automate cross-channel marketing campaigns across email, digital ads, direct mail, and SMS. Additionally, CDPs can personalize these cross-channel campaigns in real time by interacting with customers right at their moment of interest. 

Account-level data: CDPs that are used by business-to-business (B2B) companies can create and maintain separate profiles for accounts and individuals within those accounts. Data can be segmented and combined by the account-level and marketing campaigns for targeted accounts can be executed.

Lead-to-account matching: While some companies may use specific lead-to-account matching and routing software, some may utilize CDPs that contain lead-to-account matching features. This feature automatically matches new leads to the correct account and creates hierarchies among business or account records. 

What are the Benefits of Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

There is a multitude of benefits that companies can glean from utilizing CDPs, below is a list of the major benefits that drive the most value. 

Eliminate data silos: One main benefit of CDPs is the ability to eliminate data silos. Before CDPs, most customer data was housed in separate solutions (i.e., CRMs, data warehouses, marketing automation software, etc.) that didn’t communicate with each other. Additionally, this data couldn’t be easily shared across teams throughout a company, whether it was a marketing team or product development team, or any stakeholder within a company. Every team within a company should have access to the same customer data so everyone can have a complete picture of a customer’s behavior, preferences, and buyer journey. CDPs help collect and integrate all data sources to get a comprehensive view of customers so teams within a business can create an optimal customer experience. 

Deliver consistent messaging across all channels: Since CDPs are a single source of truth for all customer data and interactions, this type of software can deliver consistent messaging across all channels throughout a customer’s journey. Additionally, since every team throughout a company has access to the same customer data, all cross-channel marketing campaigns and messaging are aligned and can take into account past and current interactions before campaign execution. Finally, because CDPs can track customer preferences on how they want to be engaged, companies can align their messaging and campaigns around these customer preferences and individual interests. 

Execute personalized journeys for each customer: With the use of AI and ML, CDPs can segment audiences and create predictive scoring models that enable marketers to launch hyper-personalized campaigns for each customer. CDPs that have marketing campaign activation capabilities can assist marketers in sending out targeted emails, provide relevant recommendations, and implement retargeting campaigns. 

Privacy compliance: CDPs help companies remain compliant with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA because, with a CDP, all customer data is gathered in one place and can provide a history of where this data came from and how it is being used. CDPs allow marketers to use customer data across all of their marketing technology software in a consistent way, which gives customers more control over how they want to be contacted and how they want their data to be handled. CDPs help build trust with customers because they have built-in governance tools and they enable all preferences and interactions (online and offline) to be captured in one unified database. 

Make real-time decisions for the business: When marketers use CDPs they can access their customer data and profiles in real time, as well as execute the next-best-action in real time. The ability to update customer profiles in real time is a huge benefit for marketers concerned with personalizing communication. 

Who Uses a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Marketing teams: As mentioned previously, a huge benefit that CDPs provide is the fact that they allow marketers to take control of their data. Marketers use CDPs to assist them in organizing and understanding the data coming from numerous sources, enhancing their customer segmentation, optimizing their campaign tactics, and increasing engagement with their content.

Sales teams: Sales teams can use CDPs to assist them in prioritizing accounts within an account-based selling strategy. These teams can use this type of software to set up real-time alerts, or rules, for when a contact within an account completes certain activities (i.e., open an email or viewing a pricing page on a website). CDPs can help notify sales reps when these accounts reach certain milestones and when is the best time and method to reach out. Additionally, CDPs can help sales teams by providing more context when having conversations by combining all of their customer’s data into one single source of truth (i.e. data from marketing automation and CRM software). CDPs can also bring in buyer intent data to help sales teams identify who’s researching their company, and how to proactively engage with those prospects at the beginning of their customer journey. 

Customer service and success teams: Customer service professionals can also reap benefits when communicating with customers. CDPs can help customer service and customer success professionals by enabling them to be proactive to customer needs and concerns by leveraging all of the data within a CDP. This type of software can help them gain a deeper understanding of their customers while simultaneously resolving their issues. 

Software Related to Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Related solutions that can be used together with CDP software include:

Data warehouse software: Data warehouse software acts as the central storage hub for a company’s integrated data that is used for analysis and future business decisions. Data warehouses can combine data from CRM automation tools, marketing automation platforms, ERP and supply chain management suites, and more, to enable precise analytical reporting and intelligent decision making. While data warehouses store integrated data like CDPs, it’s traditionally managed by IT professionals and focuses on cross-departmental data integration, as opposed to focusing on customer data for marketing optimization purposes. 

Data management platforms (DMP): DMPs are related to CDPs; they store and analyze customer data, however, these platforms predominantly use third-party data to help marketers with targeted advertising efforts. DMPs only focus on digital channels and capture data using cookies to inform ad buying decisions. 

CRM software: CRM software unites all of your customer and prospect data in a single tool, bringing added visibility into customer interactions. Organizations use CRM systems to ensure that contact and interaction data can be easily located, sorted, and amended as necessary throughout the customer lifecycle. CRMs create a record, such as a new customer, but a CDP can provide a complete, single view of a customer and is designed specifically as a central location for all customer data. 

Challenges with Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Software solutions can come with their own set of challenges, and the following are some potential challenges that could arise when implementing or using a CDP: 

Integrations: When evaluating CDPs, businesses need to investigate what third-party integrations are available with each CDP. One challenge that companies could face would be realizing that the CDP, after implementation, does not integrate with their existing ecosystem of martech solutions. Some CDPs will have built-in connectors to personalization software, e-commerce tools, digital advertising software, etc., and these built-in integrations can assist businesses in leveraging all customer data. Companies should ensure that the CDP they select can integrate with software that is used across other teams and departments so the CDP can unify all customer data with ease.

Data latency: Data latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one place to another, or how long it takes for data to become available within your database or CDP after an event occurs. The second type of data latency is the time it takes for this data to become ready for businesses to use once it is ingested. The data that is being collected by marketers could be unstructured, but it might need to be delivered to a CDP in a structured format that is accurate and standardized. Some CDPs may include complex data matching capabilities within the data ingestion process, but others may not include matching capabilities and only measure the creation of new customer data records. 

Data compliance requirements: CDPs inherently help companies with data compliance as they serve as a central repository for all customer data and are used as the one source of truth. CDPs can store all customer preferences, opt-ins, and opt-outs, as well as documenting any changes to customer data over time. Even though CDPs help companies process customer data more responsibly and efficiently, privacy regulations are ever-changing and businesses need to ensure that the CDP they select can comply with all current and potential data privacy regulations. 

Which Companies Should Buy Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Almost any kind of company can benefit from purchasing a CDP. A B2B company can use a CDP to assist with an account-based marketing strategy. Marketers can use CDPs to associate and map contacts to specific targeted accounts, as well as dynamically segment these accounts by behaviors and real-time intent. Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies can also benefit from using CDPs by reducing wasted media spend. B2C companies can use this type of software to recommend the right product to potential customers at the right time based on their customer journey.

Even though most companies could benefit from using a CDP, some may have a more immediate need for one than others. If a company has an abundance of tools that collect customer data or a complex marketing technology stack, a CDP would be able to assist with unifying all customer data in one place. Additionally, if a company has a martech stack that doesn’t have native integrations with each other, a CDP would be able to help marketers with a data management strategy. 

How to Buy Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Requirements Gathering (RFI/RFP) for Customer Data Platform (CDP)

The first step businesses should take when gathering requirements for CDP should be to identify what problems they are trying to solve and what their goals and success metrics look like. For example, organization goals could be to make better data-driven marketing decisions, personalize customer experience, or unify all customer data into one place for data privacy requirements. 

Compare Customer Data Platform (CDP) Products

Create a long list

When creating a long list, buyers of CDP should consider technical requirements around data collection. It’s important to check if the CDP meets all the core criteria they are looking for. Companies should evaluate if the CDP can accept and retain all data, unify data, and manage all personally identifiable information (PII). 

Create a short list

Companies should evaluate the distinguishing features of CDPs when creating a short list to see which options would best meet their needs. Examples of these features could include on-premise deployment, real-time data load, cookie management, and the ability to execute multi-channel marketing campaigns and create dynamic marketing content. 

Conduct demos

When conducting demos with CDP vendors, there are a few questions companies should ask when evaluating software options: 

  • What tools does the CDP integrate with? This question ensures any technology a company has already invested in across departments can integrate with the CDP selected. 
  • What kind of data structure does the CDP accept (i.e., structured or unstructured data, internal or external data, etc.)?
  • Does the CDP have features to ensure a company can comply with data privacy regulations?
  • Can the CDP easily keep unified customer profiles updated? A core requirement of a CDP is to collect and store persistent customer data. 
  • How scalable is the CDP? If a company is planning on growing its customer base or breaking into a new market across different regions, it’s important to ask how scalable a CDP would be.
  • Finally, it’s important to ask CDP vendors questions around a particular use case. Evaluating CDP vendors on features alone may not be helpful if those specific features won’t help you with what problem you’re trying to solve. For example, if a company’s use case is to help with optimizing digital marketing spend, a question that should be asked to a CDP vendor would be, “How can the CDP help increase the efficiency of paid digital advertising?”

Selection of Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Choose a selection team

A marketing leader, or any stakeholder involved in using customer data, should be part of the selection team, as well as a data/technical leader that can assist in evaluating any technical considerations. Additionally, other stakeholders across the organization could be considered to join the selection process, including individuals from a product team, sales team, customer success team, and the legal team. 

What Does Customer Data Platform (CDP) Cost?

When evaluating CDP options, businesses should consider the cost of a few different factors: the software license, setup costs, training, operational costs, and any managed services that may be necessary. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

Factors that impact the ROI of CDPs could include data integration efficiency, risk reduction, and marketing effectiveness. Companies invest money across many different technologies, which can require a large investment to get them working correctly. If a CDP can integrate these tools effectively and efficiently, that could significantly impact a company’s ROI. Another factor that could impact ROI is risk reduction, or regulatory compliance, which is the value associated with reducing a company’s risk when it comes to data regulatory compliance. Finally, if marketers can save money by operating more efficiently, that can impact the ROI of a CDP.