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Customer Data Platform: Can it replace my CRM system?

What sounds like a lung disease is actually shorthand for a top-class marketing software: the Customer Data Platform, or CDP for short, is a digital solution developed specifically for marketing. It does not replace an existing Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), but can very well complement it in an ideal way. By using a CDP, marketers can see at one glance how, when and where exactly a person comes into contact with their company and how they behave. This knowledge holds enormous potential for improving every customer experience – it just needs to be tapped in full.


  • It organizes all the data about a contact that is collected directly or indirectly throughout a company (behaviour, interaction, transaction etc.) into one single 360 degree contact profile.
  • The CDP obtains the companywide data masses from various sources (CRM, e-mails, websites, campaigns, servers, sales, customer service, direct mailings etc.), stores them centrally on the platform and sorts them into the specific individual contact profiles automatically.
  • It thus breaks down existing data silos of the individual departments in the company and makes the valuable information about the individual contacts usable across departments


The content of the comprehensive CDP contact profile exceeds the customer profiles that e.g. a CRM system can create. This is because a CRM system is specially designed for sales and primarily concerned with the direct interaction between the company itself and the (potential) customers it already knows. Collected data from other departments of the company on e.g. surfing behavior, interests etc. are hardly or not at all classified here, so new target groups cannot be developed with a CRM system alone.

A CDP therefore serves primarily as a marketing extension to an existing CRM system. However, the platform cannot plan or coordinate automated marketing processes; that is left to the CRM system or specialized marketing automation software.

The following table illustrates clearly that there are numerous differences between the two software solutions. But they serve the same purposes: customer acquisition, customer retention and customer experience optimization.

220404_Table_Customer Data Platform2


In the end, this depends on your company's goals and the amount of data that arrives in the individual departments. CDP can only complement an existing CRM system, if appropriate data is collected. If the quantities are manageable, a CRM system may be sufficient. However, if the incoming data exceeds the manageability and needs to be processed in a more marketing-relevant way, the benefits of implementing a Customer Data Platform are clear.

In the era of data-driven marketing, remember more than ever: knowledge is power. And with a CDP, it is no longer a problem to process the existing internal company knowledge about your own target groups, their preferences and their behaviour in a clear and accessible manner.

Would you like to know more about how the advantages of a CDP can be used for your company? Contact us – we will be happy to advise you!

Tags: Customer Experience Management Marketing Technology Digital Marketing

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