3 Types of Customer Data Platforms


The internet has grown to be a gigantic place with unlimited possibilities. Many of us partake by roaming the web on social media platforms, online forums, and information databases. While this is good fun and a bonus to the lives of billions, it can also make it harder to run a business in the internet age.

With current and potential customers scattered every which way across the web, it can be a challenge trying to market to an audience in the midst of so much data. How is anyone to sift through so much information, let alone find the right information pertaining to customers? The answers lie in customer data platforms.

A customer data platform (or CDP) is a collection software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned, and combined to create a single customer profile. So, rather than hopping from platform to platform for customer information, CDPs create one place to view information about a customer.

This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems. For this reason, it’s important to make your customer data platform your data warehouse for all customer information. But before doing so, it’s helpful to know that there are three different types of CDPs that carry out varying functions for their businesses. Keep reading for a closer look at these three types of CDPs that can help expand your business.

1. General-Purpose

As the name says, general-purpose customer data platforms are used to assess the general data needs of a business. It gathers customer data on a basic level to target a broad range of use cases. With this, customer data is pulled from varying corners of the internet and condensed into one user profile.

Businesses can use this to not only best market themselves to each customer, but can also compile their findings into a use case for the purpose of reaching a particular customer or business goal. If you’re looking for some CDPs that lead in the general-purpose space, companies like Segment and mParticle are a good place to start. Treasure Data is another entity that commonly comes to mind when most people think of CDPs.

2. Vertical

Customer data platforms that are vertical are most known for their ability to target a particular kind of business or company to solve a specific set of issues. Some vertical CDPs focus on companies based on industry—music, food, or retail to name a few—while other CDPs set their sights on a business’ size, smaller businesses versus larger entities.

This approach allows for a more detailed look at a business’ audience, their interests, and what they prefer. Additionally, because these CDPs are focused on solving problems in vertical growth, they stand out against their competitors who are mainly fixed on solving horizontal problems or structural issues. If your company is focused on vertical growth from software that is focused on the specifics of a demographic or group, Zaius and Amperity could be of interest to explore.

3. Conglomerate

Some companies are so big (and often so overreaching) that they practically need a category of their own. This is where conglomerate customer data platforms come in. Providers such as Salesforce, Adobe, and even Microsoft—many of which previously existed as customer relationship management platforms (CRMs)—use their information “clouds” to manage user cases and hold customer data.

Though this is beneficial for big business, conglomerates prove to be helpful to smaller entities as well for collecting and keeping customer data. Just about anyone can use these to keep up with customers and apply these platforms for their own growth. The above-mentioned conglomerate CDPs have been around long enough to run large programs while developing them to be simple to operate. And with such a wide reach, these companies have the software and power to back up their data and resources.

Future CDP

Customer data platforms continue to grow in popularity due to their strategy and effectiveness. There’s no need to compile customer information manually. Why slow yourself down working on research solo when you can use CDPs to accurately compile information while cutting down on time?

When you assess your own business needs, you can help determine what kind of CDP is right for you: general-purpose, vertical, or conglomerate. From there, you can use customer data to effectively market, develop successful practices, and meet your customers’ needs to the best of your ability.

It may seem like a lot of information to take in, but using a CDP is the first step to becoming better aware of your business’ impact and reach. With the right knowledge, your CDP can facilitate your growth. CDPs are definitely where the future is headed; build up your data warehouse with a CDP that will do right by your business.



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