Major marketing cloud vendors enter crowded CDP field

  •   November 7, 2019

Most marketers are familiar with the complexities of managing siloed data across different platforms, and many have their own internal workarounds for dealing with those challenges. But as our digital teams develop and the volume of data we manage swells with the expansion of our martech stacks, tricky workarounds simply don’t cut it anymore. That’s where Customer Data Platforms come in.

Customer data platforms (CDPs) unify customer data from across various sources to create one “source of truth” for your entire organization. Marketers using CDPs can ensure that regardless of who is speaking to the customer — sales, customer service, etc. — everyone has the same view of that customer. 

Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce

Earlier this week, announcements from Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce addressed the need for unified data and steps toward bringing this to their customers: On Monday, Adobe released Triggered Journeys in Adobe Campaign, and Oracle announced it will partner with Accenture and Capgemini to help its customers tackle CDPs. And on Tuesday, Salesforce announced it is expanding its Customer 360 platform to help customers unify their data with a single customer ID. 

Adobe Experience Platform updates

The enhancements to the Adobe Experience Platform include Adobe Real-time Customer Data Platform, which seeks to help marketers deliver consistent, personalized experiences by providing a centralized data hub for its customers. Adobe says its platform will its users bring together known and unknown customers to activate customer profiles and can be integrated with other martech through APIs.

“In speaking with customers, they’re very much challenged with understanding how to be customer experience- and customer journey-focused. Brands understand how vital it is to deliver unforgettable, exceptional customer-led experiences for every individual at scale, yet the ‘how’ is the challenge,” said Kristin Naragon, head of GTM strategy at Adobe Campaigns. “Our customers expressed a need of a way to continuously map engagement and marketing activities to individuals’ preferences and context – across all the devices they may use, and in real-time – which is precisely what we’re addressing with Triggered Journeys in Adobe Campaign.”  

Salesforce expands Customer 360

Salesforce is expanding its Customer 360 platform to help its customers connect Salesforce apps, integrate with different systems and create a single, unified customer profile for each individual customer. The new features are expected to help marketers bridge gaps in their data to and deliver personalized, integrated interactions with customers at scale. The new features include data unification, consent management, advanced audience segmentation and personalized cross-channel engagement.

Oracle’s partnership with Accenture and Capgemini

In order to help its customers address challenges around CDPs, Oracle announced that it is partnering with two Oracle PartnerNetwork members, Accenture and Capgemini. Through the partnerships, the companies plan to help organizations understand and map different data sources, business outcomes and KPIs.

“The customer journey has changed beyond recognition, making it much harder to gain a single source of customer truth,” said Jane Arnold Hommet, global partner executive for Oracle at Capgemini. “As our clients adapt to the evolving nature of customer interactions, they are looking for customer data strategies and data sources that go beyond marketing which can enable anyone within their teams to have quick and easy access to comprehensive insights and intelligence.”

Prioritizing for CDPs

All three marketing cloud vendors have noted that they will address CDPs this year, and with enhanced capabilities, they take steps towards unifying customer data in real-time —combining customer profiles updated in real-time with real-time access to the profile for users across an organization. But the crowded CDP field offers a variety of options, leaving some marketers unsure of where to turn for the solution. Many CDPs offer real-time profiles and access, prediction modeling, personalization tools and segmentation.

“There has been a lot of doubt and confusion about CDP as a category, and what factors are needed for an effective CDP,” said David Raab, principal at Raab Associates and founder of the CDP Institute. “Salesforce was the last hold-out that didn’t store profiles in its CDP (as opposed to assembling them on-the-fly by reading data from source systems). This adds needed clarity to the market, establishing the knowledge base for asking ‘which CDP is right for me?’”

Why we should care

The CDP market shows no signs of slowing down, and the scalable solutions could make a significant difference in your marketing efforts. Even for savvy marketers who are able to string together their siloed customer data, the further challenges of understanding elements like timing, content optimization persist. With some of the largest martech players entering the mar, marketers can expect more marketing-friendly capabilities across CDPs to drive continued growth in the market. If you’re not currently using a CDP to unify your customer data, it’s time to start looking for the best solution for your organization.