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Customer Data Platform Definition & Meaning

A customer data platform is software that compiles customer information and shares data with other marketing software applications. Customer data platforms (CDPs) create detailed profiles of individual customers as those customers interact with their company’s website, emails, social media, and more. The data is personalized and specific, rather than general and anonymous.CDPs, for example, will collect details such as a customer’s birth date, age, and details about their online activity. This wealth of specific data helps marketers develop their customer relationships and interact with them more effectively.

Customer data platforms provide data to your entire company rather than siloing data in one particular application or database. Information is shared, making marketing more productive and collaborative. Marketing teams can also interact more intentionally with customers by accessing specific details about them, and they can prioritize creating a long-term customer base over quick leads.

CDPs organize and funnel data accurately. When a company has huge amounts of data, some pieces can get lost or be inaccurate. CDPs intake data from direct sources, compile it in one complete picture or profile, and correctly transfer it to integrated platforms (such as business analytics software or marketing automation). CDPs protect data from slipping through the cracks and help to ensure that it’s relevant and accurate. 

Customer data platforms vs. data management platforms

Customer data platforms are not data management platforms. While data management platforms (DMPs) collect general information and third-party data, CDPs collect data directly from customers (often from forms filled out on websites and other direct customer interaction with websites, emails, and in-store purchases). CDPs also compile larger amounts of data than do DMPs, using customer clicks, searches, purchases, and social media interactions. They then make this data available to the company’s other marketing platforms so that data can be used most effectively. 

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