Session Recap

CDPs Demystified: The Source of Truth for Customer-Driven Marketing

November 18, 2021 — Our martech leaders, Carrie Sinclair of Honeywell and Brian Prascak of Wawa, explained where martech succeeds and fails in capturing customer data, and how CDP tools can better segment and grow your customer base. They outlined instances in which CDPs may be useful (or perhaps necessary) for content personalization and collecting behavioral data, and explained why CDP implementation may be easier than you think.

Featured Experts

Brian Prascak Headshot

Brian Prascak

Director of Advanced Analytics,
Platform and Data Services


Carrie Sinclair Headshot

Carrie Sinclair

Vice President of
Customer Marketing for Performance Materials & Technologies



Although Customer Data Platform technology is relatively new, having only recently gained widespread recognition in the late 2010s, it has already fundamentally restructured how many businesses manage their customer data. Unlike most CRMs, CDPs can consolidate customer data from multiple channels and sources into one secure, easily navigable database. Crucially, the data structures are built with a focus on activation; CDP technology prioritizes accessibility of data elements across teams and departments, offering marketing professionals more flexibility and control. Additionally, CDP tools can aggregate and analyze large volumes of behavioral data to create more specific and actionable customer profiles while remaining well within the bounds of privacy regulations.

More recently, CDP capabilities are increasingly becoming embedded in existing CRMs and other customer data management platforms, removing the need for a standalone CDP solution—although purpose-designed CDPs may still be the most appropriate for your business. Other businesses may opt for an in-house solution with CDP functionalities, perhaps using a related technology (e.g., Azure, AWS, Databricks, Spark, Snowflake, etc.) to manage data pipelines.

Know Emerging CDP Best Practices

The strength of CDP platforms and technology comes from the ability to merge and analyze cross-channel behavioral data to create rich, meaningful customer profiles and journeys.

In the video, expert Carrie Sinclair showcased multiple targeted emails she personally received that exemplified some right (and wrong) ways to use customer databases.

Although Customer Data Platforms enable complex personalization, achieving optimal results comes from learning up-to-date best practices for activation.

Our expert, Brian Prascak, predicted that CDP technology will continue to expand using graph databases or networks. Network science, or data science for networks, involves mapping and modeling customers’ transitions between journey stages in terms of maturity and value. Better prediction of customer behaviors can lead to better targeting and personalization, as well as measurably stronger customer development.

CDPs can produce invaluable insights into how customers relate to your company’s products or services. Nevertheless, expanded opportunities for personalization mean that customers increasingly expect content to be well-tailored to their interests, with profound implications for the business-customer relationship. Marketing professionals can and should ensure that the most relevant content is delivered at all stages of the customer journey, which can be easily done with a CDP and some relevant training.

Framework and Discussion: Results-Driven Channel Integration

Our two experts both shared their experiences with customer data management and thoughts on CDP integration. Here are some highlights of their advice:

Sinclair: At the top of the customer lifecycle funnel, you have more chances to get customers engaged and grab them, but once you get to the middle of the funnel, you’d better have your message honed. Do your testing at the top, because closer to the middle they need to be more relevant or customers will unsubscribe.

Prascak: The benefit of CDP technology—it’s real. Providers continue to mature very quickly, and even 5 years ago these processes would have been much more difficult. Customer-centric analytics is proven to work for businesses, but you can’t do analytics if you don’t have the data. CDP is the starting point; it took us 18 weeks to fully implement, but it’s doable and can give your business a lift.

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