Salesforce and Adobe announce they’re working on a CDP

Salesforce and Adobe have both announced (within a day of one another) that they are each working on developing a CDP – customer data platform…

The past month in Martech has certainly been an interesting one. Not only did McDonald’s announce an surprising marketing automation acquisition of Dynamic Yield, but Salesforce and Adobe have both announced (within a day of one another) that they are each working on developing a CDP – customer data platform.

Not Just a Passing Fad

Why is this somewhat out of the blue? Up until recently (June 2018), the CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Bob Stutz, spoke of CDPs as “a passing fad.” Hence why it came as somewhat of a surprise that both Salesforce and Adobe have now announced these plans.

The reason behind making this step – Brands want to get as personal as possible with their customers. To do so, they need to be able to interpret a massive amount of data from each customer – email opens, website visits, exact page visits, items placed in cart, shopping cart abandons, offline loyalty scheme data, demographic info… and the list goes on. This data should be flowing into one profile per customer, and ideally, in real-time (e.g. customer makes a purchase, their profile is updated with that information). This has exponential effects on the customer experience. After all, we all hate receiving a discount on a product we purchased a day previously.

This sounds like an easy thing to achieve, and most vendors promise this level of personalization. However, there are very few that are actually delivering on this promise.

To understand this shift in focus to CDPs, and why the promise is unfulfilled, you need to review the history of the industry, and how we have ended up in the situation we are in today. It all starts with acquisitions. Let’s take Salesforce Marketing Cloud as an example:

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Timeline

2000 – ExactTarget founded as an Email Service Provider (ESP)