Customer Data Platform (CDP): Comprehensive Guide

17 min read
Bitrix24 Team
December 22, 2023
Last updated: March 11, 2024
Customer Data Platform (CDP): Comprehensive Guide

Management by customer relationships (CRM) and Platform of client data (CDP) are two basic systems of marketing and sales that collect and manage data about clients. First, let us understand how each system presents itself, and we will find the differences between the CRM and CDP of the systems.

What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

A platform of data about clients or CDP is a database about clients that tries to collect as many as possible, including telephone numbers, which clients pass to the website, and shorthand records of conversations with the representatives of service of customers through the sessions of email or chat.

Definition and core principles

An idea consists of a grant to the marketing specialists of the central depository for all these clients. All clients' behavior is tied to the unique identifier, regardless of whether or not he was educated or anonymous. The critical difference between CDP and ​​other systems is that CDP follows marketing.

What is CDP?

We will show every separate term and difference between them in one example: a girl searches for where to buy a shoe for engaging in tennis. She begins the search and, first of all, visits the brand's website after she sees an advertisement on Facebook, and in the final analysis, shop on the retailer's website, for example, by phone.

The task of CDP, in this case, is to link all these separate data from different online and, quite possibly, offline sources in a single profile and to get a complete review. In other words, to collect all contact points with a user to understand how a concrete group with specific social and demographic signs makes purchases. It is the next attempt to make cooperating with concrete groups more personalized.

In essence, CDP, at least on the face of it, is just the evolution of the control system tags. Ironically, most CDP arose precisely out of such systems or at least initially began to think for work with tags. CDP, as well as the control system tags, were called to give the marketing specialists more lordship over management by data. One of the key differences here is that CDP tries to work with separate offline and online given, and not always based on exact identifiers, such as a telephone or address email.

And, for example, based on belonging to a certain territory.


CDP and CRM. What is the difference?

CDP and CRM. What is the difference?

We will come back to our example about purchases. At a ring to the retailer, the girl got into the CRM base. Probably, an operator fixed her name, telephone number, and, maybe, email address. Here, the critical difference of CRM is just covered from CDP. CRM works with a concrete identifier, such as a telephone number or email address. It was the first time we knew about the existence of our customer only then, when she got into our CRM, although actually, the first data appeared in the first transition on a website.

We will complicate an example a bit, and instead of purchasing by phone, our customer will leave in the offline source of sales for the feasibility of purchase. In this case, she probably will not get into our CRM. Because CRM, as a rule, does not keep data about offline visits, plus we have no obvious identifiers such as a telephone or email. CDP could get a signal from the WiFi of the trap or Bluetooth of the tag and complement a picture, the next point of contact.

The basic task of CRM bitrix24 is the storage of transactions and the history of intermingling with a client based on hard identifiers (hard keys), such as a telephone or email address.

The task of CDP is to collect information in a single profile, even if a hard identifier appears only in the middle of the cycle of intermingling with a client.

What is the difference between CDP and DMP?

The first system DMP, Bluekai, appeared by mistake in the middle of the 2000s and is an inalienable part of the ecosystem of automated purchases. And despite that some "sobering" came with the completion of hype, DMP occupies the position in the ecosystem of Adtech.

We will go back to our example. Calling for the first time on a brand's website, our customer would get in the DMP of the company as a cookie file through a pixel on a website. Also, she told the audience that we collected Facebook pixels for further retargeting. The key difference of DMP is herein covered: this system works with a cookie as a basic identifier. And yes, if our customer left the telephone or email, we would pass this data in our DMP using a pixel.

It is possible to exchange data with CRM, either to add a telephone and interests there or to compare telephones and enrich our knowledge about a user.

However, the key task of our DMP is nevertheless to work with large audiences, their analytic geometry, treatment, and transmission for further work in the advertisement systems.

CRM bitrix24


CRM bitrix24 works with hard identifiers (hard keys), such as a telephone or e-mail address. It serves, first of all, to reflect transactions with clients that we identified.

DMP works with cookies, which have a short cycle of life of 30 days. The primary task of DMP is to collect and process large audiences.

CDP is an extensively compatible database that, based on its algorithms from separate parts of data, collects the profiles of users. Whatever source of data serves for CDP, for example, CRM, DMP, online transactions, offline visits, strange pixels, API from appendixes, etc. CDP is a rather modern CRM.

Can a CRM become a CDP? Rather, yes, what it is not. But in an exceptionally evolutional way. Is it possible to use CDP as a replacement for CRM? No, because they serve quite different aims.

The stack of technologies continues to broaden. It is an inevitable process. But the answer to a question about whether you need your CDP still lies in plain business tasks.

CDP evolution

The evolution of the customer data platform (CDP) is a fascinating topic that reflects the changing needs and challenges of marketers and businesses in the digital age. A CDP is a software system that collects, integrates, and analyzes customer data from various sources and makes it available for other applications and systems. A CDP can help businesses create a unified and comprehensive view of their customers, understand their behavior and preferences, and deliver personalized and relevant experiences across different channels.

The concept of a CDP emerged from the limitations and frustrations of previous customer data management solutions, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data management platforms (DMPs), and application-specific databases. These solutions were either too narrow in scope, too complex to integrate, too siloed to share, or too rigid to adapt to the dynamic and diverse nature of customer data. Moreover, these solutions were often designed for specific purposes or departments, such as sales, marketing, or analytics. They did not provide a holistic and consistent view of the customer across the organization.

CDP evolution


To choose a CRM and CDP system, it is necessary to understand which functions are executed by each. CDP of platforms accumulates, classifies, and keeps information about clients that will be used for marketing operations or personalization of advertisement campaigns. The system can be integrated with CRM or with other programs that are also oriented to the clients to collect information: geographical location, age, intentions, purchases, what pages were looked over, and others.

  • Information is used for segmentation, analytic geometry, and design.

  • for introduction, verification, and management by information;

  • exposure of properties and segmentation of the character of actions of users;

  • finding out the profile of the client;

  • analysis of the behavior of men for more quality segmentation;

  • analytic geometry of purchases of users for planning content or e-commerce;

  • implementation of analytic business geometry based on the obtained data for the realization of advertisement campaigns;

  • prognostication.

CRM will perfectly suit for more quality direct cooperating with clients and optimization of communication. Software is used for the creation of informative panels of support for clients and the automation of distributions of reports or electronic letters. The CRM has the following functions:

  • analysis of information, drafting of prognoses and craters of sales;

  • treatment of incoming rings, distribution of reports, and advertisement actions;

  • telephone sales;

  • an analysis of failures and successes is with sales, drafting of strategy;

  • service of customers after sales;

  • automation of marketing works through analytic geometry of efficiency of advertisement campaigns;

  • facilitation of purchases.

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How modern businesses gave rise to the need for CDPs

Customer data platforms (CDPs) are software systems that help businesses collect, integrate, and analyze customer data from various sources and make it available for other applications and systems. CDPs can help businesses create a unified and comprehensive view of their customers, understand their behavior and preferences, and deliver personalized and relevant experiences across different channels.

The need for CDPs arose from the challenges and opportunities that modern businesses face in the digital age. Some of these factors are:

  • The proliferation of customer data sources. Customers interact with businesses through multiple touchpoints, such as websites, mobile apps, social media, email, chat, voice, and offline channels. Each source generates a large amount of data that can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, behavior, and feedback. However, these data sources are often siloed, fragmented, and inconsistent, making it difficult to create a complete and accurate picture of the customer.
  • The demand for customer centricity. Customers expect businesses to know them, anticipate their needs, and provide them with personalized and relevant offers, recommendations, and support. To meet these expectations, businesses need to leverage customer data to create segments, personas, journeys, and profiles that reflect the unique characteristics and preferences of each customer. Moreover, businesses need to use customer data to optimize their marketing campaigns, product development, customer service, and operations across different channels.
  • The complexity of customer data management. Customer data management involves collecting and storing customer data and integrating, transforming, validating, enriching, analyzing, and activating it. These processes require a lot of technical skills, resources, and tools that are often beyond the capabilities of most businesses. Moreover, customer data management also involves complying with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, that impose strict rules on how businesses can collect and use customer data.

Key Functionalities of a CDP

Basic functions of customer data platform:

  • a capture of data about a client is enormous volumes of data of different structures that realtime comes from different sources;
  • unitization of data in the only profile of contact, the system processes data and fixes in the card of contact;
  • segmentation of audience on the gone into detail terms, in particular after events that come in the system (for example, sum or concrete commodity of order);
  • Activating data is forming content for personalized cooperation both in online and offline points with a client and organization of the automated campaigns.

Thus, CDP helps to create an all-around idea about TA and provides the complete management of client data. The more information about an audience gets in the system, the more precisely it will portray client and marketing strategies.

Data Collection and Integration


Data Collection and Integration

For storage, treatment, and data usage, there are different types of software: CRM, DMP, DWH, analytical systems, and others like that. These instruments collect data differently, from different sources and different types, and use them in accordance with the concrete aims of business.

The main problem is that the enumerated systems can not organize only ideas about clients. The given is fragmented and kept in different depositories and does not give an opportunity quickly and intelligently to cooperate with them. For example, you need to conduct campaigns to return clients. Without CDP, it will be each time to unload contacts those who did not buy during a set time, to load them in service of distribution, but after realization of a campaign to unload from service of distributions those who were bequeathed, inactive, and others like that.

From CDP, all simply: a marketing specialist builds the scenario of automatic distribution, where recipients will be a segment of clients it costs. When a contact answers the terms of a group of reactivation, the system will begin a campaign following a scenario. Updating of contacts is passed in the Customer Data Platform in real-time.

Data standardization from multiple sources

The absence of standardization in the separate systems results in duplication of data. For example, a man used a website at first and then installed an app and began to buy there. Without the unitization of data, it is two different clients. Businesses cannot recognize the same consumer and consider losing a customer on a website. In actual fact, he continues to be active, simply in other channels. From CDP, such a problem is eliminated, as, after that, as data get to the system, there are processes:

  • cleaning and standardizations are bringing telephone and electronic address numbers over to the general format, providing coordination token formats, and other;
  • authentications are the creation of unique identifiers of a concrete person without opening his confidential information,
  • algorithms compare data to the different identifiers and determine their belonging to the concrete person;
  • algorithms work on the preliminary set rules that determine to consider doublets.

For example, both records have a coincidence by email and telephone number, so they are considered one record that behaves to the corresponding contact. Consolidations on a measure of unity of data, the consolidated card of contact, which to a full degree exposes information about a client, is created. Enriching permanent addition to the card of contact new actual data and periodic verification in the presence of doublets provide quality and actuality of client profile.

Benefits of integrating a CDP in Business Strategy

In today's digital landscape, the key to success for businesses lies in their ability to use data effectively. This process involves collecting and processing vast amounts of data, ranging from a client's date of birth to their geographic location and specific product preferences. The more data we collect and analyze from users, the better we are able to offer personalized recommendations that ultimately lead to higher sales.

For online businesses, the ability to automatically collect data from multiple sources, both online and offline, has become a necessity. This data needs to be identified, unified, and comprehensively analyzed. It should then be used for targeted marketing campaigns reaching out to different segments with specific goals. These complex tasks can be efficiently managed through the use of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs).

Example 1: Segmentation in marketing

Imagine creating segments within your customer base defining the parameters according to which these segments are formed. For example, you could group together all customers who make purchases related to International Women's Day. This segmentation enables more targeted marketing efforts.

Example 2: Sales Funnel Generation in Marketing

You might want to exclude a certain segment from a specific marketing campaign while creating deals for other segments or customers. Let's say you've identified a customer segment that regularly purchases gifts for International Women's Day. In anticipation of the holiday, you can proactively create deals for this segment and initiate customer outreach activities.

Example 3: BI Analytics and Reporting

By leveraging the data in your CRM, you can create comprehensive reports. These reports are invaluable when it comes to gaining insights into customer behavior, tracking purchase history, and forecasting future trends.

CDPs, or Customer Data Platforms, play a strong role in these processes. These are purpose-built platforms that can collect customer data from various sources, both online and offline, without being restricted by data structures or identifier limitations (such as email or cookie files). This data is then organized into contact profiles, processed, and enriched. As a result, other systems within the organization can seamlessly access this data and use it for various purposes, such as analytical insights and marketing campaigns.

Essentially, CDPs are characterized by the following key tasks:

Data Collection and Organization: they collect and systematize data obtained from all customer touchpoints, ensuring a holistic view of customer interactions.

Cross-Platform Tracking: CDPs store a digital trail of customer interactions, including purchase history, reviews, tracking, and more, across different platforms.

Unified Data Identification: They create personal data identifiers to unify data across diverse platforms for a consistent customer experience.

Audience Segmentation and Profiling: CDPs enable the segmentation and profiling of target groups for highly targeted marketing campaigns.

Analytics and Predictive Insights: They provide the tools for in-depth analysis and the ability to forecast customer behavior.

Data Portability: CDPs ensure that customer data can be seamlessly transferred to other marketing systems to enable coherent customer relationship management.

In conclusion, by integrating a Customer Data Platform into your business strategy, you can realize the full potential of your customer data. It enables data-driven decision-making, personalized customer experiences, and, ultimately, business growth.

Key Considerations When Choosing a CDP

So, you decided that CDP would suit you. Good choice even though CRM is better.: A market has attained a sufficient level of maturity already, there is a great number of developers, and I am from whom to choose. On the other hand, there are a great number of developers. It`s important to make the correct choice. It is a responsible task, and a hasty decision can let down your subzero results, convincing you that CDP is no more than a fashionable toy. At the same time, the correct choice will open new possibilities for your company, improve cooperation between her subdivisions, and increase client experience to a new level.

Bitrix24, as CDP with the greatest rating, has an impressive experience of supporting businesses at the introduction of CDP. We appealed to the experts, and with that, it was easier for you to choose CDP and begin to use it.

Case Studies: Success Stories with CDP Integration

Many businesses have successfully implemented CDPs to achieve their goals and overcome challenges in the digital age. Here are some examples of success stories with CDP integration:

  1. A biopharmaceutical company doubled its R&D productivity by building a clinical data warehouse using CDP, which integrated all of its R&D research, clinical, and third-party data sources. This enabled the company to gain insights into the effectiveness and safety of its drugs, as well as to optimize its clinical trials and regulatory processes.
  2. A financial services provider increased its product revenue growth by 30% by using CDP to monetize its existing data assets. CDP helped the company to integrate data from more than 200 disparate data warehouses, enrich it with additional attributes and metrics, and segment it into different customer groups. This allowed the company to create and implement unique data analytics products and services for its customers.

CDP or CRM

At first, it is necessary to ensure the value of CDP for business, and in that, she helps to decide our tasks. If you really need the system to be able to centralize client data in B2C to provide analytical geometry for making decisions and pass the results to other systems for the start of campaigns, then the case stops for CDP. In another case, it is urgently recommended to use CRM.

Further from them, it is possible to refuse what to replace and what is critically important for business. Naturally, some commands are closely related to the concrete systems and will insist on their necessity. It is, therefore, better to conduct an analysis regardless of whether a novelty will violate the usual order of things.

As soon as he has an integral understanding of business necessities, places of command, and systems, it is possible to begin to talk to the vendors. They will cast light and help form requirements.

  • Maximum concretely formulate tasks and business problems that must be decided employing CDP
  • This means that new technologies are attended to changing paradigm
  • Designate the current possibilities (people and systems), make a decision, from what it is possible to refuse, that to save or replace
  • Set forth the necessities before searching for suppliers.

When you define exactly how to use CDP, it is possible to begin the search for vendors. Their constantly growing number complicates a task. It means that it was not bad to make a shortlist.

What is better?

Comparison of CRM and CDP of the systems can begin with that for whom they are created and by whom they are mainly used.

Comparison of CRM and CDP

CDP is the center of data that is used mainly by marketing specialists. Software is applied for the deeper analysis of user behavior and also for the collection of business information about how it is possible to cooperate with the client. CDP becomes the main source of information about clients because the programs allow the centralization of information from the different systems and appendices related to the clients.

Also, the systems allow the use of different user facilities: automation, design of data and their quality, and personalization. CDP usually applies as an instrument for creating unique marketing business strategies. ON determines and segments an audience for the best personalization of advertisement campaigns.

CRM can be used by all companies, but it is used by specialists in sales for the collection, watching, and treatment of information about potential and real clients in the sale process. Marketing functions are also plugged into the CRM system: integration of information with the programs for marketing automation, collection of information about sales, and others.

Program CRM keeps data and queries from clients, helps with watching transactions, analyzes processes in the channels of sales, and also controls communications with consumers, and collects their feedback.

The difference between CRM and CDP is evidently in how these platforms collect and manage information.

CRM system executes storage of these users already entering into cooperating with a company. It sets the program to work with information from the sales and marketing department. CRM applies to a record and analytic communications geometry between clients and organizations. She saves pin information, information about the preferences of clients, about perfect transactions, and also other data that is brought in by managers on sales.

CDP collects data about clients from different online and autonomous channels, including CRM, social media, different applications, sales points, e-commerce transactions, and others. A platform collects data and creates a good idea about clients through different sources, including their behavior and the creation of 360-degree user reviews. CDP saves the preferences and intentions of clients, watches their actions, and accumulates all data in the depository of information.

The digital track of the user is analyzed by the program and saved in a database.

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Table of Content
What is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)? What is CDP? CDP and CRM. What is the difference? What is the difference between CDP and DMP? CDP evolution How modern businesses gave rise to the need for CDPs Key Functionalities of a CDP Data Collection and Integration Data standardization from multiple sources Benefits of integrating a CDP in Business Strategy Key Considerations When Choosing a CDP Case Studies: Success Stories with CDP Integration CDP or CRM What is better?
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