Customer Data, Industry Trends

How Does Gartner Categorize Today's CDP Vendors?

Customer Data, Industry Trends | July 09, 2020

If you’ve been following our blog recently, you’ve likely noticed that we’ve done a fair bit of analysis on the growth of the customer data platform industry and the number of vendors offering CDP products. Our goal has been to demystify the rapidly growing market for buyers and provide some clarity on what’s become an increasingly confusing space in recent years.

The reason for this rapid growth is that more and more organizations have begun to realize that the unique features CDPs provide are critical in today’s data-driven business environment. But as the popularity of CDPs have grown, so has the number of products available on the market. Unsurprisingly, this has created confusion among buyers as they try to align their specific needs with the features and functionalities offered by today’s CDP vendors.

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Previously, we took a look at the different categories of customer data platforms according to the CDP Institute (CDPI), one of the leading authorities on all things CDP. This time around, let’s examine how Gartner, Inc. -- the world’s leading research and advisory company -- defines the CDP and categorizes today’s CDP vendors.


How Gartner defines the customer data platform

According to Gartner, “to fit Gartner’s definition of a CDP, the technology product must feature a marketer-friendly, web-based interface that enables the following:

Data collection: The ability to ingest first-party, individual-level customer data from multiple sources, online and offline, in real time and without limits on storage. Data persists as long as needed for processing. This includes first-party identifiers, behaviors and attributes.

Profile unification: The ability to consolidate profiles at the person level and connect attributes to identities. This must include linking multiple devices to a single individual once that person has been identified and deduplicating customer records. Some solutions may support third-party data matching or aggregating customers into a household or account.

Segmentation: An interface that enables the marketer to create and manage segments. Basic offerings support rule-based segment creation. Advanced segmentation features may include automated segment discovery, predictive analytics and propensity models, and the ability to import and deploy custom models built in external advanced analytics or data science environments.

Activation: The ability to send segments, with instructions for activating them, to engagement tools for email campaigns, mobile messaging and advertising, for example. Marketers still need execution systems for the final mile. Some CDPs have added advanced support for consent-based filtering, suppression, personalization, journey orchestration, A/B testing and recommendations.”[1]

How does Gartner classify the CDPs on the market today?

Gartner classifies today’s CDP vendors into one of four categories:

CDP Engines and Toolkits: These vendors are often described as a CDP toolkit or are available as open source and include feature sets ideal for IT-led teams seeking to build new applications on top of a CDP. Controls over data-handling operations dominate over marketing orchestration, and business users would need substantial lift from SI partners or internal developers in order to take advantage of the platform.

Marketing Data integration: A frequent use case for CDPs is data operations — features that enable granular governance of event data streams from within a marketer-friendly interface. There is some control over delivering segments to downstream marketing touchpoints for advertising activation, but analytics and decisioning must be handled in other applications. Marketing data integration solutions are often chosen for mobile and connected device use cases. Strong real-time use case support dominates in these products over access to historical data. This is often the choice of growth marketers or digital commerce teams.

Smart Hub: These vendors emphasize marketing orchestration and personalization that by nature require both granular customer data analytics and controls for event-triggered and planned campaigns or journeys. The solutions are most likely to fit in a hub-and-spoke configuration that allows marketing teams to focus on sending instructions to execution solutions from a single interface obviating the need to log into several. Predictive analytics, segmentation and whiteboard or canvas-style interfaces for customer journey design are common, and support for real-time offer management may be more suitable for triggered messages than web-based personalization.

Marketing Cloud CDPs: Several enterprise software companies released or announced CDP solutions in 2019, promising to improve the tools that marketing and IT teams already possess. The inflexible data management and profile unification features of marketing clouds were a major driver of marketer interest in CDPs from the beginning. These new modules aim to shift the integrated suite value proposition to a more open and flexible embrace of enterprise data, leveraging trusted relationships with CMOs and CIOs.”[2]

Regardless of how they’re classified, to us at QuickPivot it seems that enterprise vendors have realized their mistakes and are now trying to catch-up to the established vendors in the CDP market. But while these vendors are well-known and trusted names, organizations with diverse MarTech stacks that are happy with their current lineup of tools will likely be deterred from considering them because these CDP offerings can only be found as comprehensive suites which may require full-scale tech stack changes to implement.

Vericast-QuickPivot listed as a Representative Vendor by Gartner

At QuickPivot, we've been an innovator in the CDP space since its beginning, and our CDP is designed to meet the needs of the most heavily data-driven marketers. The QuickPivot CDP features tools for customer data management, identity resolution, cross-channel campaign management, customer segmentation, and reporting and analytics, and seamless third-party system integration.

In the Gartner Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms, Vericast-QuickPivot was identified as a Representative Vendor in the Smart Hub category. We believe this makes the QuickPivot CDP a perfect choice for marketing teams looking to fully leverage their data to:

  • eliminate silos and create detailed and accurate customer profiles using cross-system data;
  • achieve a fully unified customer view;
  • more effectively plan and execute cross-channel marketing campaigns, including direct mail;
  • better understand the customer journey and execute journey mapping; and
  • deliver the personalized marketing experiences consumers crave.

The addition of a CDP to a technology stack is proven to be a worthwhile investment that delivers both near-term and long-term results, as QuickPivot customer MacKenzie-Childs can attest to. But as we’ve demonstrated through our recent analyses of the market, vendors in the CDP space offer products with a wide range of functionalities. So, before your organization adds a CDP to its tech stack, it’s critically important that you have a full understanding of exactly how a CDP can help your organization achieve its marketing goals.

To help potential CDP buyers gain this knowledge, we recently partnered with the CDP Institute for an analysis of the CDP industry titled "The Future of the Customer Data Platform." It discusses the history of CDPs, the current state of the CDP industry, and how CDPs continue to evolve to meet the increasing demands of data-driven organizations. It’s a must-read for any organization considering the addition of a CDP to its MarTech stack. And if you’re interested in learning why the QuickPivot CDP is one of the premier CDPs options on the market, reach out to us today. We'd love to show you how our CDP can take your marketing and data management to the next level.

Note: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s Research & Advisory organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

[1] Gartner, “Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms,” Benjamin Bloom, Lizzy Foo Kune, 8 April 2020.
[2] Gartner, “Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms,” Benjamin Bloom, Lizzy Foo Kune, 8 April 2020.

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