Surprising Results in Customer Data Platform Survey

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The Customer Data Platform Institute (CDPI) recently surveyed its members about their customer-facing systems and CDP deployment plans.  (Click here to download the full report.)  While CDP Institute members are obviously not typical marketers (being smarter, richer, and better looking), the answers still provide some intriguing insights into the marketplace.

Let’s start with the general state of customer facing systems. One-third reported they had many disconnected systems, just over one-third reported (37%) they had many systems connected to a central platform of some sort (9% unified customer database, 9% unified database and orchestration system, or 19% marketing automation or CRM platform), 6% said one system does almost everything, and the remaining 23% said they had some other configuration or didn’t know.

I’ve compared these results below with several other surveys that asked similar questions.

The one thing that immediately jumps out in this comparison is the CDPI Member survey showed a much lower percentage of replies for “one primary system”. Otherwise, the answers across all surveys are very roughly similar, showing about 30% to 50% of companies having many connected systems and many disconnected systems. This suggests more integration than I’d expect, but it depends on how much integration those “many connected” systems really represent.

The CDPI Member survey also asked about plans regarding Customer Data Platforms. Nineteen percent had a CDP already deployed, 18% had deployment in progress, and 26% planned to start deployment within the next 12 months. The remaining 38% either planned to start after 12 months (4%), had no plans to deploy (19%) or didn’t know (14%). I haven’t seen any other survey that asks this question but have no doubt that CDP deployment and plans are much higher for CDPI members than the rest of the industry average.

Where things get really interesting is when we explore how the same people answered these two questions. At first blush, you’d assume the 19% with a deployed CDP would be the same 18% who said they had many systems connected to a unified customer platform, either by itself or with an orchestration engine attached. Not so much. Here’s the actual cross tab of the results.

What you see (in the yellow cells) is just 42% of the people who said they had a deployed CDP also said they had many systems connected to a unified database. If we allow that a deployed CDP could be present in companies where one customer-facing system does almost everything or the customer facing systems are connected to marketing automation or CRM, then 74% of the deployed CDPs are covered.

I take the remaining 26% as a healthy reminder that just having a CDP doesn’t guarantee all your systems will connect to that CDP, either by feeding data into it or reading data from it. In fact, we know that many CDPs support analytics without being connected to delivery systems, so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

On a more encouraging note, as the green cells highlight, a good majority of in-process and planned CDP deployments are at companies with many disconnected systems or many systems connected to a marketing automation or CRM.  Those are the companies most in need of data unification. So it does appear that the CDP message is reaching its target audience and CDPs are being used as intended.

The survey also asked about company revenue, business type (B2B vs B2C), and region. Comparing those with current systems and CDP deployment also gave some interesting and unexpected results. But there’s no point in repeating them here since you can download the full report and see for yourself.  Enjoy!

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