You can’t swing a cat these days without hitting a customer data platform.
On Thursday, Adobe made the CDP capabilities within Adobe Experience Platform generally available after a roughly five-month beta period. Earlier this week, Microsoft got vocal about its new CDP offering, and Salesforce, whose CDP is still in beta, has multiple CDP-related sessions on the Dreamforce agenda for next week. And last year, Oracle released its CDP CX Unity.
Large platforms are getting serious about CDP technology at the behest of brands that aren’t getting enough out of their data management platform investments. At base level, DMPs primarily collect and unify anonymous, third-party customer data, while CDPs do the same, but for first-party data, including CRM, analytics and offline transactional data.
“This is all about the challenge of bridging the gap between known and unknown data, and having governance controls in place to do that safely,” said Nina Caruso, a product marketing manager at Adobe Audience Manager who’s involved with the CDP launch.
Sprint, an Adobe client, is planning to use the Adobe CDP to better manage its data in support of real-time decision making and better personalization, which is “a massive need for many brands, including Sprint,” said Rob Roy, the telco’s chief digital officer.
“We’re constantly taking a look at what our customers are doing, where we can improve and using that data to better understand how we can influence or improve those flows,” Roy said.
Rather than a new piece of technology in its own right, Adobe’s CDP is about facilitating data-related use cases within Adobe Experience Platform, which is the data framework that underpins Adobe Experience Cloud. (Adobe Experience Cloud is what houses all of Adobe’s marketing, analytics and advertising solutions, including Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign and Adobe Audience Manager.)
The CDP stitches data together from all of those different sources into real-time profiles so that marketers can actually use it, Caruso said.
“We’re productizing the integration across owned channels, like email and in-app, and paid channels, like social and programmatic, so that marketers can package the data within the Experience Platform,” she said.
Activating different types of data from different sources consistently across channels is a perennial challenge for marketers, and one of the main reasons why the CDP category started to attract so much attention over the past couple of years.
“Marketers are usually able to get their anonymous data sources working together, but a lot of the time, known data isn’t readily at their fingertips to use in channels where you need to know who the customer is, like email,” Caruso said.
Adobe’s CDP is a value add to Experience Cloud, something to make a brand’s existing investment in Adobe technology more useful and stickier. But Adobe hopes that CDP-like functionality will also open up the opportunity to talk to new customers that are frustrated with their current data solutions.
“There’s obviously been a lot of buzz around this new CDP acronym, and we’re just excited to see where it takes us,” Caruso said.
But one place the quest for CDP capabilities won’t take Adobe is to the negotiating table. Although there’s likely going to be more CDP consolidation in the year to come, Adobe isn’t planning any big M&A for 2020.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen was clear on that point at the Adobe MAX conference in early November during an interview with CNBC: “We feel really good about our portfolio,” Narayen said. “It’s all about execution at this point.”