News,  Vendor Selection

Managing Your Customer Data


Providing an optimal customer experience is impossible without having a unified Customer Data Management (CDM) process in place. The CDM process is the consolidation and aggregation of all data that is being collected in separate systems across the company about a customer, down to the individual level. This is not an IT-centric data warehouse or data lakes approach — ideally it should be a Marketing-led CDM initiative, helping to ensure the data unification project is focused directly on marketing requirements. But that is not always the case, as I hear from many of my marketing executive clients. 

So, “who leads the CDM project” was one of the questions I asked in my latest global survey and the results of that and other questions are written up in my new Vendor Selection Matrix report on Customer Data Management, to be published later in the week. As always, this report is based upon feedback from 1,500 businesses globally plus my view of the each vendor’s strategy and viability. I report that:

  • Nearly 80% of CDM initiatives are marketing-led projects and over two-thirds of the projects are top-down projects that serve the complete enterprise.  
  • In depth interviews reveal that Consent Management becomes a critical driver for CDM investments. Legislation like the CCPA and GDPR require marketers to be completely transparent on how they use customer data. But, in addition to compliance pressure, another driver of transparency for the marketers is establishing brand trust. I expect data ethics processes to become routine in the deployment of many marketing technologies.
  • Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will drives CDM adoption in B2B. Even large enterprises with ABM projects admit that their biggest success inhibitor is “lack of deep customer insights”.  Often, they rely on tactical predictive analytics vendors instead of addressing the fundamental CDM challenge. Capable CDM vendors can win more B2B customers with effective thought leadership programs on this topic.

Now, depending on how much you believe the claims, there are between 120 and 150 vendors with CDM solutions, often calling their software Customer Data Platforms (CDP). We also asked the respondents to give us their feedback about those CDM vendors they know enough about. The resulting vendor landscape for CDM is a broad mix of vendors with a wide variety of claims: data consolidation, collecting entire clickstreams, creating a “golden record” through identity resolution, enabling intelligent engagement, and identity tagging. The CDM challenge varies across the B2C and B2B spectrum and also differs by company size, which we describe in detail in the report.

Who came out on top? Well, these are the Top 15 vendors as selected by the 1,500 surveyed based upon their rating of product, company and service quality (listed alphabetically):

Acquia, ActionIQ, Adobe, BlueConic, Commanders Act, CXSense, Eulerian, Evergage, NGData, Oracle, Quaero, Redpoint Global, Salesforce, Sitecore, Tealium.

Although CXSense and Evergage have since been acquired by Piano and Salesforce respectively, I have left their scores in the matrix for completeness. Time will tell whether the brand prevails or becomes absorbed into the larger corporate identity. 

Remember, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, some respondents deploy two or more vendors to cover their needs.

If you would like to see more of the report, such as the individual vendor profile sheets and full scoring schema, please contact me.  

Always keeping you informed! Peter

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