CDP Confusion: Our Research into Its Nature and Origins

Aug 20, 2021
Jeff Haws

If you’ve ever thought “I’m not even exactly sure what CDPs do,” you’re far from alone. Our conversations with marketers at thousands of enterprise brands over the past few years have shown us that there’s a significant amount of confusion over what CDPs actually are, and how they’re supposed to help marketers.

What may be most remarkable about this common confusion is that, despite this, CDPs remain a rather popular martech option for enterprise marketing teams. Instead of breeding mistrust or skepticism, the difficulty for marketers to pin down precisely what CDPs do has seemed to instill a sense of possibility — CDPs are whatever you want or need them to be in order to help you put your customer data to better use. And who doesn’t want that?

But we wanted to dig a little deeper into this phenomenon, and try to figure out where this confusion is coming from, along with who might be the most likely people to succumb to it. So we surveyed 200 marketing professionals at enterprise brands to better understand their views on CDPs. You can download the full set of research here, but here are some highlights to give you an idea of what you’ll learn in the whitepaper.

What role does familiarity play in CDP understanding?

To gauge this question, we asked respondents about how familiar they were with CDPs and how long they’d worked with them. This allowed us to see whether familiarity was leading to significantly better understanding of CDPs and how they operate.

While you would expect those who have used CDPs a great deal to be more knowledgeable about them, the gap between the two groups might have been a bit different than you’d expect. What might have been most interesting was how frequently the more familiar respondents answered very similarly pretty much across the board. That’s especially true when it comes to how important the CDP is compared to other martech tools.

Are CDPs trying to hit a moving target with feature expectations?

One of the toughest parts of this marketing confusion for the CDPs themselves has to be that each prospect may have a different view on what the CDP should do to help them. And that can make it difficult to know where to go with your product roadmap and to keep your customers happy.

Addressing this question, we looked at what respondents thought the primary purpose and business value of a CDP was, along with the features they thought were both most and least important. Especially when you look at how these answers differed based upon organization size and seniority, it was interesting to see how varied the answers could be, and how certain traits tended to nudge respondents in the same direction.

How do CMOs feel about CDPs vs. those who really use them?

When an answer to just about any question gets a landslide response — 98% of respondents said a CDP helps them do their job better — you start to wonder why. It’s tough to get 98% of people to agree on anything. So we started to wonder how much of a difference the answers to various questions might be among those who made the decision to buy the CDP vs. the people who use it every day.

So we split out the CMOs from the rest of the marketing team members to get a feel for how the top leadership viewed CDPs compared to everyone else. What we found was pretty interesting — there are some distinct, consistent differences in how CMOs thought about CDPs. What do those differences tell us? We try to answer that question in the whitepaper.

If you’d like to get a deep look at these questions and others, download the whitepaper today. Whether you already have a CDP or are considering investing in one, there’s lots of information to help you get a better feel for where any confusion might be coming from, and how MessageGears can provide many organizations with a simpler, less costly option to help you maximize the impact of your customer data.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.