Going Beyond a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Carl Bleich
Carl Bleich

When customer data platforms (CDPs) first hit the market in 2010, they were built to collect, compile, and store customer data in a manner that would be particularly useful for companies with an online presence. 

Spawned from its distant cousins, the customer relationship management (CRM) software and data management platform (DMP), the hope was that the CDPs would help companies meet the increased demand for an improved customer experience online. The days of CRM data being in one spot while DMP data was in another were gone forever because a CDP could unify that data and present it in one place. 

While CDPs have more than accomplished that initial goal since their inception, digital commerce has changed a lot since the inception of CDPs. And while the importance of compliantly collecting and caring for customer data cannot be overstated, it’s even more important that companies are able to take revenue-generating action with that customer data. 

That’s why just having a CDP that collects and stores customer data isn’t enough in today’s market. 

Make no mistake, your company needs to have the ability to break data silos and build a single customer view for every individual customer by connecting, tracking, and unifying data from all online and offline sources. But, if you want to understand customer behavior, enrich your data through artificial intelligence, and instantly launch omni-channel campaigns, a run-of-the-mill CDP in itself is insufficient. 

Let’s dive in further to learn about the functions a great CDP should have and what can help fill in the gaps left by average CDPs. 

The Capabilities of a CDP

A customer data platform is a type of software. It creates persistent, unified records of all your customers, their attributes, and their data. A good CDP should both easily integrate with your existing data and allow for easy retrieval of the data it stores. 

CDPs have a growing role in today’s ecommerce marketplace because they build a complete picture of your customers on an individual level. A CDP collects first-party customer data (transactional, behavioral, demographic) from a multitude of sources and systems, and links that information to the customer who created it. 

This creates a 360-degree customer profile, also called a single customer view, which can then be used by third-party tools or built-in marketing automation tools to execute marketing activities and analyze their performance.

Most CDPs have the ability to neatly organize data and make it available for immediate use. There are technical resources that are required to set up and maintain the CDP but generally speaking, it does not require a high level of technical skill compared to a traditional data warehouse. 

If you have a good CDP, the data that is collected and organized is visualized through individual data profiles for each user. This single customer view allows CDP users to take action with the data since the data is all in the same location. 

Disjointed data points from multiple online and offline sources can be combined in a CDP to create this unified single customer view. This is one of the biggest advantages of a good CDP: being able to abolish silos and unify customer data for actionable usage. 

While internet browsers undergo major changes to third-party cookies and third-party tracking, a CDP is the perfect solution to help your company in this regard. Data contained within a CDP is ready for use in third-party systems focused on adtech and campaign delivery. Just ensure that your CDP provider is serious about data privacy and security. 

Why Your Company Needs More Than An Average CDP

Bloomreach acquired Exponea, the most loved CDP on the market, and now offers Bloomreach Engagement. This platform is designed to unify all of your customer data and deliver connected customer experiences across multiple touchpoints. 

Bloomreach Engagement is far more than an average CDP — it has important additional capabilities that ensure marketers can take meaningful action with the customer data that has been collected. 

It is important to understand the differences between an average standalone CDP and Bloomreach Engagement. While they have many similarities, there are also key differences that users will find very important. 

Many CDP vendors are only providing a standalone CDP, rather than a CDP plus other important marketing automation capabilities. It is crucial to understand what a vendor is providing because this distinction makes all the difference when it comes to how your business will eventually be able to use its platform. 

Standalone CDP

A standalone CDP is exactly how it is described: a customer data platform without any extra features or capabilities. It does not go above and beyond. 

It will ingest first-party data and use that data to build complete profiles of customers. It will also typically offer analytics capabilities that allow for granular segmentations of an audience. 

The data that a standalone CDP collects is accessible for use by other systems but the standalone CDP itself cannot execute campaigns. It needs the help of other dedicated platforms or tools that can make use of all of the customer data it collects. 

If your company does not have campaign execution tools, or campaign execution tools that you are fully satisfied with, a standalone CDP may not meet all of your needs. 

Bloomreach Engagement

Bloomreach Engagement represents the future of the CDP market. It combines all the benefits of a standalone CDP with an experience cloud — creating a single, powerful, customer-centric marketing platform.

It gives marketers the complete toolset they need for creating incredible customer experiences. It does this by bringing together AI-driven marketing automation, real-time analytics, and UX optimization with best-in-class data collection capabilities.

It simplifies workflows and increases productivity by collecting frequently used tools into one integrated interface. But Bloomreach Engagement is also flexible, and can fit into your existing tech stack. It molds around what you already have and fills gaps, creating the perfect solution for your company.

Some of the key benefits of Bloomreach Engagement include: 

For even more proof that Bloomreach Engagement is a platform that is far above average, consider the ability offered to users to build campaigns natively, own activation themselves, and easily process complex use cases. The same cannot be said for many average CDPs. 

Build Campaigns Natively

Whether it’s in using email, SMS, or our myriad of other marketing communication options, Bloomreach Engagement offers a native built-in editor to create and send these campaigns. That means you build the campaigns in the same user interface you use to collect, report, and analyze customer data. 

This makes targeting your customers with messages they need to hear infinitely easier with Bloomreach Engagement than with many average CDPs. 

In an average CDP that does not allow you to natively build campaigns, marketers must feed data from the CDP’s single customer view to a different platform altogether to create and send certain communications. This is a much more complicated experience for the marketer behind the scenes and a potentially fragmented experience for the customer receiving the campaign. 

Bloomreach Engagement cuts out the middleman and makes creating and sending marketing campaigns simple for the marketer because it is an all-in-one platform. 

Real-Time Marketer-Owned Activation

Speaking of marketers, it is clear that Bloomreach Engagement is designed with the marketer in mind. The same cannot be said of many other CDPs. 

Bloomreach Engagement allows marketers to very easily create reports and segmentations whereas many average CDPs just allow access to a pre-built set of reports. Many other CDPs also require heavy involvement with IT teams for basic everyday functions. Bloomreach Engagement is easily accessible and navigable for marketers and their everyday tasks. 

And maybe most importantly, real-time activation actually means real-time with Bloomreach Engagement. Since it is an all-in-one solution, there’s no waiting for outside platforms to update or process data. Campaigns are processed within milliseconds of completion and communication throughputs could not be faster. Real-time consent management is also a huge advantage in our new privacy-centric world. 

Easily Process Complex Use Cases

If your company traditionally works with complex automated flows or desires to begin doing so to better serve your customer base, Bloomreach Engagement is the perfect platform to facilitate this.  

Scenarios can be created — both simple and complex — to connect with your customers at any point of their journey by using email, push notifications, or webhooks. These scenarios can be created via a drag and drop editor that is simple to use and can be A/B tested along the way. 

It’s simple to create, test, and trigger scenarios with Bloomreach Engagement. The same cannot be said for many average CDPs as they do not have a feature comparable to scenarios. While simple flows can be executed, complex flows have limitations to lack the ability to be edited or fixed once live. 

What Does Success with Bloomreach Engagement Look Like? 

All of that is well and good, but what does it really all mean? 

To be succinct, it means that Bloomreach Engagement customers have solved their problems and found other successes using the platform. 

Specifically, Bloomreach Engagement customers have been successful by creatively using the platform to connect with their customer bases and drive revenue. How, exactly? 

Those are just three of the dozens of examples of Bloomreach Engagement customers going above and beyond their goals thanks to the platform. 

The Future is Bigger Than Just CDPs

With the growth of digital commerce showing no signs of slowing, marketers need every tool they can possibly get at their disposal to help retain customers and generate revenue for their companies online. 

The growth of the CDP market over the past few years has inspired marketers to stop at no end to connect with customers compliantly. But the market has matured to a point where a standalone CDP just doesn’t cut it anymore. The ticket to success in today’s market is Bloomreach Engagement. 

Bloomreach Engagement will allow you to provide the best possible experience to your customers, increase brand loyalty, and increase customer lifetime value across key segments. Schedule a personalized demo today to learn more about how we can help turn customer data into marketing magic.


Carl Bleich

Head of Content at Bloomreach

Carl works with Bloomreach professionals to produce valuable, customer-centric content. A trusted expert with over 15 years of experience, Carl loves exploring unique ways to turn problems into solutions within digital commerce. Read more from Carl here.

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