CDPs are new and quickly evolving category of marketing software that has only been around since 2013. They solve a lot of the common data problems faced by marketers. The standard definition of a CDP was coined In 2013 by David Raab:

A customer data platform is a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.

David Raab, CDP Institute
CDP Basics

What Does a CDP Do?

Customer data platforms are one the fastest growing area of marketing technology. They allow B2B companies to combine multiple customer data sources to create rich marketing segments and coordinated communication. A CDP's primary functions are illustrated below.

Import and Merge

CDPs allow you to easily import CRM, web analytics, call tracking and enterprise data into a single system. CDPs offer no-code connectors for popular services such as SalesForce, Google Analytics, Amazon AWS, Hubspot and more.

Segmentation

Once customer data has been imported, CDPs can help you merge that data based on unique attributes such as contact ID, user ID or email address. Once that data is merged you can create more dynamic segments using CRM, web analytics, call tracking and customer order data.

Messaging

CDPs allow you to target a specific segment on multiple messaging platforms. This makes it easy to communicate with segments in a coordinated way across search, social, email and web.