The world of marketing is awash in data. The solution? Embrace a customer data platform. Or at least some companies say. A customer data platform (CDP) is a software system that pulls together data from a wide array of sources — such as websites, ecommerce and ad platforms, social media applications, retail software, and more — to create a centralized customer database, as well as detailed profiles of each customer. CDPs then use these records to orchestrate personalized marketing campaigns. The platforms are relatively new, offering a wide variety of approaches both in strategy and in tactics. All speak of multichannel marketing but there are differences in which channels are supported. Some focus more on leveraging data that arrives at an ecommerce portal or website. Some integrate with ad platforms. Some try to harmonize marketing messages sent via email and SMS. The core of these systems is an elaborate data-gathering mechanism with tendrils that reach into all of your various partners and internal databases. CDP systems boast broad collections of integrations, and all support APIs for customization. Any evaluation of CDPs should begin with understanding how well the tools will interact with your current stack and how much custom code you will need to write.
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