Mapping the Customer Data Platform Landscape

Guus Rutten
Mapping the Customer Data Platform Landscape

The Customer Data Platform (CDP) industry is experiencing rapid growth, with over 150 distinct vendors offering a wide range of solutions. Each CDP vendor brings its own set of unique functionalities and services to the table. Navigating through this diverse landscape poses a challenge for organizations seeking the perfect CDP fit for their use cases. Therefore, understanding the nuances between different types of CDPs is essential in selecting the optimal platform to address your specific business needs. 

To be called a CDP you must meet a number of features required for a product to perform the functions that most users expect from a CDP. We are a member of the Customer Data Platform institute, which offers a certification program



Understanding the Varieties of CDP vendors


Then there are different vendors on the CDP market. This is broken down into independents, composable vendors, and suite vendors. 


The independents


Independent CDP vendors, often referred to as "pure play CDP" providers, focus exclusively on developing and offering CDP solutions. These vendors typically excel in their expertise and innovation within the CDP space, providing specialized features, customization options, and dedicated support tailored specifically to managing customer data effectively. The types of CDP’s they offer are explained below.


  • Data Processing oriented CDPs

These platforms focus on data processing and are specialized in efficiently managing and organizing customer data. They ensure the collection, storage, cleaning, privacy and analysis of data from various sources, aiming to create a unified and comprehensive view of customers. This involves tasks such as data integration, transformations, prediction and data quality management to ensure accuracy and consistency in the data. Additionally, these platforms have the capability to extract audience segments and transmit them to external systems. 


  • Data Decisioning oriented CDPs

CDPs specialized in data decisioning provide advanced analytics and decision-making tools based on customer data. They leverage techniques such as predictive modeling, machine learning, and real-time data analysis to derive actionable insights from the data. These insights enable businesses to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and enhance customer experiences. Examples of decisioning tools include customer segmentation models, predictive scoring algorithms, and recommendation engines. Some of these CDPs also offer data activation capabilities such as on-site personalization. 


  • Data Activation oriented CDPs

Independents prioritizing data activation focus on leveraging customer data for marketing, advertising, and personalized customer experiences. They offer tools and functionalities designed to activate and utilize customer data effectively. This includes audience segmentation, targeting, campaign orchestration, and multichannel engagement capabilities. By harnessing customer data, these independents enable businesses to deliver relevant and personalized messages to their target audience, driving engagement, conversions, and loyalty.




Composable CDPs provide a customizable platform for tailored data management and activation workflows, enabling adaptable solutions. Leveraging robust data warehouses or data lakes, Composable CDPs efficiently access, analyze, and derive insights from customer data, driving personalized experiences and business growth.


New call-to-action

Composable CDPs offer flexible platforms that allow businesses to integrate with various data sources, tools, and systems. They provide customizable frameworks for businesses to build tailored customer data management and activation workflows, enabling modular solutions to meet specific business needs. A critical aspect of Composable CDPs is their reliance on a robust data infrastructure, such as data warehouses or data lakes.

These centralized repositories play an important role in collecting, storing, and organizing diverse datasets. By leveraging data warehouses, through for example Reverse ETL, Composable CDPs can efficiently derive actionable insights from customer data, thereby facilitating personalized customer experiences and driving business growth.


Suite vendors


The suite vendors provide integrated platforms that cover a wide range of features, such as data ingestion, analytics, engagement tools and campaign management. These vendors typically aim to address multiple needs of their customers within a unified platform, offering convenience and efficiency by centralizing various capabilities under one roof. 




So, which CDP vendors are the best ones? The honest answer: it depends. You have to ask yourself: what’s most important to your organization? The best vendor for you, is the one that fits your business.

We understand that this can be quite a complex decision. That’s why we always share our expertise to give you the best advice possible, so you make the right decision.

Need some advice? Contact us.