Gartner recently released its first-ever Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platforms—a true testament to the growth and maturity of CDPs.

Although that was a major milestone, CDPs have been around for nearly a decade, and they have already become a critical part of one's overall customer data strategy.

Although many of us are not actively looking for even more technology to buy (see Scott Brinker's latest martech landscape!), there are key reasons successful global organizations are widely adopting CDPs.

Marketing in the Moment

For as long as I have been in marketing, the vision has always been to engage individual buyers on their terms: sending the perfectly crafted message, at the right time, on the channel or set of channels the buyer prefers.

Although most marketers agree on that goal, it is not as easy as wading in a shallow pool; historically, it's been the technological equivalent of swimming from Cuba to Florida—i.e., not something most people can do.

But CDPs are changing that.

CDPs help teams collect, unify, and activate data in real-time (in milliseconds), regardless of channel. So the possibilities are endless for the marketer to create dynamic segments, tailor messages based on the channel, and analyze what patterns are ideal for conversion optimization.

Imagine your team's goal is to grow a particular segment. With a CDP, the team could employ zero-party data to learn more about that segment while members of that segment are engaging on your website. When marketers understand more about buyers in the moment, the buyers are happier (because they can be directed to what they care about) and the number of steps to conversion are significantly reduced (fewer emails, website visits, etc.).

The CDP in that use case will have shortened the buying process, driving faster time to value.

Also, in an era where companies strive to reduce friction and customers have limited attention, the teams that can deliver in the moment will outperform those that can't.


Now, another area that has risen to the top of the priority list (another one) is the ability to ensure privacy and compliance standards are met.

No one wants the fines. But, more important, we all want to value the preferences our customers convey to us. CDPs can help teams collect "consented" data directly and ensure that privacy preferences are upheld across channels and throughout the journey.

Buyers respond positively to brands that are transparent about what types of data they collect and how it is used.

Many companies today have data residing in different departments or even multiple digital properties. CDPs can collect that data, unify it, and ensure the data is secure and meets key regulations (HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA...).

Adaptability and Response to Change

The last few years have brought us all a significant amount of change. We all need to be ready to adapt to new things quickly, whether that is an AI mandate, privacy regulations, or tracking the performance of a TikTok campaign.

CDPs help organizations have a formal process to collect, bring together data, and activate it—think of it like the blood in your body, supporting all different types of functions. By having a data-first strategy and CDP in place...

  • You will have data—consented, filtered—ready for AI.
  • You will have data that is collected with privacy in mind.
  • You will have the ability to see which of your audiences are engaged on social channels or prefer an in-store or on-site experience.

CDPs support customer data and its many uses, making it a key element of modern technology stacks. CDPs have many integrations and therefore can also support new technologies or change if it arises.

Let's take AI as an example. The key to successful AI outcomes is the ability to have the right data to feed the models... and that is where most groups struggle. If you have access to consented, filtered data from day one, you can activate AI models can glean the benefits sooner.

* * *

The first-ever Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platforms by Gartner is a major stage in in the maturation and essentiality of CDPs within the technological and marketing ecosystems.

Having evolved over nearly a decade, CDPs have become a key component of comprehensive customer data strategies, catalyzing a shift in how organizations engage with their audiences.

The integration of CDPs in tech stacks transcends mere technological adoption: CDPs now constitute a strategic imperative for organizations aspiring to excel in a data-centric, customer-first marketplace.

More Resources on Customer Data Platforms

Customer Data Platform vs. Customer Engagement Platform: Differences and Use-Cases

Choosing the Right Customer Data Platform: A Guide

CDPs, DMPs, CRMs... Oh My! Which Data Solution Is Right for You? (A Guide for Marketers)

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image of Heidi Bullock

Heidi Bullock is CMO at customer data platform Tealium.

LinkedIn: Heidi Bullock