Reflections on the CDP Revolution in France (and the Rest of Europe)

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The CDP Institute just published a report on the CDP Industry in Europe (download here). This was based primarily on the global Industry Update released last month. This showed especially fast growth in Europe, with a year-on-year increase of 74% in the number of European vendors and 80% in European CDP employment, compared with growth outside of Europe of 38% in vendors and 59% in employment.

We spent quite a bit of time in Europe last year, so I certainly have my own ideas of the reasons behind these sharp increases. But it always seems best to get information from people who live in the region. So as part of the report we collected comments from several European CDP vendors and consultants on what they saw happening in their markets. Their complete comments are included in the report. They are largely consistent with each other, so I think it’s fair to give a summary. Here’s my interpretation:

• The European market is divided into several zones, each at a different stage of the development. The UK market is closest to the U.S. and most mature. Growth there began in 2017, paused as companies worked to meet the GDPR deadline of May 2018, and then resumed. The Netherlands and Germany are next in line, with growth taking off after mid-2018. Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and the Nordics the least mature, with limited deployment to date. Maturity can be measured by understanding of CDP, adoption levels, and the speed of sales cycles.

• Each market is served by native national vendors. These are often affiliated with marketing agencies or consultancies and usually provide a combination of data assembly and campaign management. Large U.S-based vendors have a substantial presence in the UK and Netherlands/Germany regions but little activity elsewhere. These vendors are primarily focused on data assembly. Some of the European vendors also sell throughout the UK/Netherlands/Germany markets. Few non-local vendors have much presence in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, or the Nordic.

• France is a market of its own.  Most CDP sales in France are made by French vendors, who sell little outside of France.  U.S. and non-French European vendors do continue to try to penetrate the French market, so far with limited success.  Unlike other markets, the French vendors generally started as Data Management Platforms (DMPs) although they took a broad approach that included some CDP features from the start. They have now further evolved to towards CDP although their DMP roots still show.

• GDPR was an early impetus to CDP adoption but that momentum is now largely spent. Current interest in CDP is based on the core use cases of data unification and campaign management. In the more mature markets, where CDPs are better understood, this interest is most likely to result in buying a packaged CDP system. In the less mature markets, this interest is more likely to result in buying a solution from an agency or in building a solution in-house.

These observations largely parallel my own impressions of the region. One difference is that none of the commenters mentioned the several European CDPs that compete globally as specialists in travel, telecommunications, financial services, or retail. The reason may simply be that only one the vendors who contributed to the report is in this category.  Also, none mentioned the limited funding available to European CDP vendors, an extremely sharp contrast to heavily-funded U.S.-based firms.

There’s much more in the report, both in the vendors’ comments and in the industry data.  Again you can download it here.  Enjoy.

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