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CDP vs CRM: The Seven Differences Every Marketer Needs to Know

Thekla von Plate,
Content Marketing Manager @Mapp
CDP vs CRM: The Seven Differences Every Marketer Needs to Know

CDP and CRM are two terms that are often used synonymously – yet both systems differ significantly in how they work and what they do. But don’t worry, we’ve summarized the most important differences for you below.

1) What’s the main difference between Customer Data Platforms and a Customer Relationship Management solution?

Customer Relationship Management solutions have been around for quite some time. CRMs help companies strategically align and structure customer contacts – a key aspect of documenting and organizing customer relationships.

Customer Data Platforms, on the other hand, are still relatively new on the market. A CDP is a solution that combines sociographic, historical, and behavioral customer data and analyzes this data to predict which customers will buy what products or services, under which preconditions, and with what incentives.

In a CDP, data is automatically fed in from various sources and consolidated. This means collecting data from sources other than the company’s own online store, such as marketing activities via email or social media. Using this, CDPs generate key customer profiles that give companies a 360-degree view of each individual contact. Sociographic characteristics, transactions, and interactions are all considered in the process. This results in coherent customer profiles that include order and engagement information.

The customer insights acquired in the process are useful for granular segmentation and automated communication. CDPs eliminate data redundancy as well by matching and standardizing customer data across all channels.

CRM systems are primarily used in B2B – while CDPs are better suited for B2C, particularly retail, e-commerce, and direct sales.

2) Which data belongs in a CRM, and which in the CDP?

A CRM collects data from other companies that have a relationship with the company itself, i.e., customers, suppliers, service providers, and partners. CRM systems provide a coherent view of every area of a business, from supply chain management to HR.

In comparison, the scope of a CDP is much broader, including both transactional and behavioral information. The data acquired by a CDP comes from a wide variety of sources. In addition to website and application analysis data, the platform also factors in-store visits, sales negotiations, past interactions and orders, or online forms and newsletter subscriptions.

3) What is the purpose of CDP solutions?

CDPs manage customer data that are distributed throughout a company’s entire Martech stack. The CDP collects and structures data from various online and offline sources. Analysis’ from online stores and apps as well as information from backend systems and transaction systems are among the data compiled in addition to that of the CRM. This allows companies to use customer information to produce targeted communication in the relevant marketing channels, such as personalize websites, emails, or discounts.

4) How are Customer Data Platforms different from Digital Experience Platforms?

While CDPs are essential to the analytical process, Digital Experience Platforms provide cross-channel customer experiences. Digital Experience Platforms help companies to implement customer journeys rigorously. This area has numerous touchpoints and intersections with web content management systems. On the other hand, Customer Data Platforms capture and concentrate data from a wide variety of sources and render it usable for a coherent view of each contact. Businesses often find that Digital Experience Platforms can only realize their full potential when coupled with the insights from a Customer Data Platform.

5) How does this data get into the Customer Data Platform?

The Customer Data Platform should be at the heart of an integrated data infrastructure. Thanks to API interfaces and standard connectors, data can be easily and flexibly merged in the CDP. The data is taken from different systems, consolidated, and enriched, all in real-time – and given a unique identifier for further use.

6) Why is a CDP so important, especially for e-commerce?

Retail and e-commerce are multichannel providers by definition. End customers shop in the real and virtual world. In both spheres, it’s about providing a perfect customer experience for each individual customer. Therefore, the marketing strategy should be designed to address users in the appropriate channel, at the most opportune time, and with the right message. Thanks to the data they consolidate, CDPs make segmentation and personalization incredibly simple. Retail and e-commerce profit from maximum engagement as a result – and from more sales overall.

7) How does Mapp’s CDP differ from the competition?

Our CDP is integrated into our digital marketing platform Mapp Marketing Cloud. This eliminates the need for complex links to analysis and marketing tools. Customers benefit from the market-leading capabilities and expertise of our customer analytics component Mapp Intelligence. Our solution is designed to use acquired insights to leverage the full potential offered by first-party data, achieving effective personalization as a result. At the same time, our cross-channel marketing module Mapp Engage enables end customers to be addressed from a single source via email, direct mail, push message, SMS, or the web, thus automating contact throughout the customer journey.


If you’d like to learn more about our customer data platform, we’d be happy to give you a platform demo.


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