In episode 11 of our Datavana Podcast, Chris O’Hara (VP of Global Product Marketing at Salesforce), Martin Kihn (SVP Strategy, Marketing Cloud at Salesforce), and RingLead’s own Russ Artzt (Executive Chairman and Head of R&D) talk Customer Data Platforms (CDPs): what they are, where they’re going, and why data orchestration platforms are their best friends.
Whether your CDP is a system of insight or a system of engagement, it needs clean data to function optimally—and that’s where a data orchestration platform like RingLead comes in. “Our role…is really to empower the CDP,” says Artzt. And that empowerment can bolster the CDP’s projected future, which O’Hara traces from first party data management to activation beyond marketing to AI.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of evolution over the next four to five to really 10 years,” says O’Hara. “And to me, this is the most exciting place to be in marketing.”
“[CDPs are] an evolution of CRM.” [Martin] The CDP concept popped up in the mid-2010s, when a man named David Robb wrote about it in a blog post. The idea caught on and, to this day, marketing experts like Chris, Martin, and Russ are refining the CDP definition. [The CDP] “arose to solve...disconnected data,” says Martin. “It's a kind of a data organization tool.” Martin and Chris go on to describe the two types of CDPs: the system of insight and the system of engagement.
Before the CDP, “what people were essentially doing was using their CRM.” [Chris] The CRM was forced to act as a single source of truthful marketing data. The task, then, was “stitching that data together and making it useful, maybe even using a tool like RingLead to sort of take the data from the CRM and start orchestrating it into different things for, you know, passing leads on or data quality or data enrichment.” The team at Salesforce was struck by the obvious need for a unique data management application, i.e. the CDP. So while the CDP is still a relatively new concept and there is some confusion that surrounds it, the business case for it has been apparent for some time.
“The CDP or data warehouse…[is] only as good as the quality of the data.” [Russ] The CDP isn’t so different from the CRM when it comes to data quality. Clean data is king, wherever it resides—and a data orchestration platform like Ringlead makes a great housekeeper. When it comes to data, says Russ, “if the quality isn't there, you're going to run into the same problems you run into when you're using your CRM, you know, so we think of [RingLead] as empowering the CDPs to ensure that they have the highest quality data.”
“The CDP game may be in the bottom of the second inning at most.” [Chris] In other words, the “CDP game” is just getting started! How will it end? No one knows for sure, but Chris definitely has some hunches. After attaining a single source of truth, CDP phase two involves “[attaching] that system of insight to all the various systems of engagement you might have in your company.” Phase three takes shape as activation beyond marketing, with phase four rounding things out with some good old—or new, rather—AI.
[14:45] So I think the CDP game may be in the bottom of the second inning at most, and I think we're going to see a lot of evolution over the next four to five, to really 10 years. And to me, this is the most exciting place to be in marketing because when you really get down at a data transformation or digital transformation at score is really all about how you're managing the data. [Chris]
[16:32] So that we've at RingLead, we've really dedicated ourselves to build a very strong data orchestration platform to make sure that the data, wherever it might reside, it might sit in a Salesforce CRM in a marketing automation system, in a CDP. You know, we're dedicated to making sure that the data gets cleaned, we get rid of all the poor quality data. We make sure the data isn't stale. We enrich it, et cetera. [Russ]
[19:20] We don't pretend to be a CDP, but instead we empower the CDPs with our data orchestration platform. [Russ]
[20:56] ...the systems, the CDP or data warehouse, you know, it's only as good as the quality of the data, you know, and if the quality isn't there, you're going to run into the same problems you run into when you're using your CRM. You know, so we think of ourselves as a way of empowering, you know, the CDPs to ensure that they have the highest quality data. [Russ]
[23:00] There will be a box for CDP, but it's surrounded by the rest of MarTech. It's just a component. It's a very useful component and it'll help you to future proof your MarTech stack, but there's still a data pipeline. There's still, you know, data that you need to source your data. You need to be able to do data hygiene and all the stuff that RingLead does. [Martin]
[30:21] So we see ourselves as the orchestrator of the data working very closely and what I call empowering the various CDPs, but we would generally get control when the segment gets activated or, you know, we'll also get control when we're sending data back to the CDP in the form that they request. So I think there's a good fit. There's a lot of synergy there. [Russ]
[40:03] ...when it comes to things like data orchestration quality, you know, you're going to need partners to attach to that CDP box, to, to do the route and it's quality orchestration things that can make that experience not only happen, but make it better. [Chris]
The History of the CDP
Different Types of CDPs
The CDP vs. CDP-like Architecture
Data, the CDP, and RingLead
The Future of the CDP