A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a marketer-operated system used to collect, connect, and unify data from the multiple sources and touchpoints associated with the journey a user takes with an organization.


Commonly confused with a Data Management Platform (DMP) which refers to a centralized database meant for building audiences to support advertising initiatives, the CDP acts as a System of Insight (SoI) for companies looking to manage disparate user data in order to better deliver personalized experiences at scale across multiple channels such as web, email, mobile, and ads.

What sets the CDP even further apart from the DMP and other tools in the customer data category like Data warehouses, Data lakes, and CRM systems is its unique ability to onboard and authenticate Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in real time from both online and offline channels.

Here’s a high-level breakdown of what each does:

Data lake – Basically, an online storage unit with large amounts of raw data in its native format.

Data warehouse – A central repository for a wide range of structured, somewhat-structured, and unstructured data.

CRM platform – A tool meant to engage customers and capture interaction-specific information.

Customer data platform – Connects information from various sources (including all of the above), normalizes the data, and sends it to downstream systems for activation.

While all can help build out user profiles, there is little overlap in what each accomplishes. This is largely why the CDP has risen to such prominence, supporting a single view of the customer that organizations have craved after struggling with fragmented data and siloed systems for so long.

As an end-to-end personalization solution, Dynamic Yield performs similar jobs in data management, connecting, reconciling, and mapping information from different devices, channels, and touchpoints for the creation of a unified customer profile. The only difference is, while CDPs act as a System of Insight, sending data to downstream services for activation, Dynamic Yield serves as the both the SoI and true System of Engagement (SoE) for personalization. While marketers can, in fact, trigger campaign activity through a CDP or integrated third-party vendor, a personalization platform is meant to act as the main hub for delivering individualized experiences — from data onboarding, audience building, and campaign creation all the way to testing and optimization.

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