The Best Customer Data Platforms (CDPs): The 2022 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Research firm MarketsandMarkets expects the global customer data platform (CDP) market to grow from $3.5 billion in 2021 to $15.3 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 34.6 percent. It credits increased spending on marketing and advertising, the changing landscape of customer intelligence, and the proliferation of customer channels as key factors driving CDP adoption.

The report defines CDPs as packaged software that creates a unified, persistent customer database accessible to other systems. Such applications are critical now as the amount of customer data worldwide sees significant growth, with consumers increasing their online e-commerce activities, the firm says.

MarketsandMarkets expects to see higher adoption of CDPs by larger enterprises, with particularly strong growth in the travel and hospitality, financial services, and insurance verticals.

The latest predictions, though, mark a steady increase from last year. In its 2021 report, the research firm valued the worldwide customer data platforms market at $2.4 billion in 2020 and predicted that it would reach $10.3 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual rate of 34 percent. And the CDP market is only expected to grow and increase in importance as the marketing and advertising industries shift from third-party data and cookies and adopt more privacy-first approaches to customer information.

The Top Five

Adobe’s Real-Time Customer Data Platform is very robust in its own right, capable of delivering real-time data with more than 24 trillion audience segment evaluations and more than a petabyte of data processed per day to help companies gather first-party data and employ consent-based practices to build customer profiles, segment audiences, and deliver personalized experiences to customers. When tied to Adobe’s other marketing products, it becomes an unrivaled marketing powerhouse. The Trade Desk chose to integrate with it because, as Michelle Hulst, its chief data officer, says, “Adobe is a market leader in CDP for advertiser first-party data.” And Adobe this year bolstered the product even further, extending it to support business-to-business data and workflows and help companies create, manage, and activate unified people and account profiles at scale across channels and teams. Adobe added enriched customer profiles with commerce, artificial intelligence-powered targeting, new privacy and security tools, and more.

While data has long been considered a complex science that requires a specialized skill set to manage and interpret, Microsoft has broken that cycle. “Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights differentiates itself on a high degree of usability and the ability for non-developers to map and integrate data sources,” says Rebecca Wettemann, founder and CEO of Valoir.

While CDPs are largely viewed as a marketing technology, Oracle has focused on making its Unity CDP “appeal more broadly beyond marketing to service leaders by using customer data and insights together to deliver more informed customer service,” Wettemann maintains. The platform provides a single platform that unifies all online, offline, and third-party customer data sources and then applies built-in machine learning to prescribe the next best action within existing business processes. The product ties in seamlessly to other Oracle products, of course, but also boasts a strong partner ecosystem.

For Salesforce, CDP innovations have been fast and furious, with streaming insights “so marketers can use near-real-time data signals to trigger workflow events and advanced identity resolution,” Wettemann says. Along with several other analysts, Wettemann also points to Salesforce’s leadership in “helping companies manage their customer data with compliance and ethics at the forefront.”

CDP provider Segment captured the attention of Twilio, prompting the cloud communications provider to pay $3.2 billion to acquire it in late 2020. The company, now known as Twilio Segment, has since added Journeys features, which help marketers orchestrate highly personalized, omnichannel customer journeys to more than 300 applications; and the Segment Developer Toolkit, which allows companies to customize their customer data stack using the Twilio Segment CDP. In a move that is truly disruptive, Twilio Segment in late 2021 introduced Engage, uniting its CDP and communication APIs to allow marketers to use any combination of tools, data integrations, analytics, and messaging to deliver consumer engagement at scale.

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