Do CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) Suck?

Well, you can paint a very bad picture of them from a bean-counter’s perspective. The technology costs money, they add another item to the marketing technology stack, they have to be set up to receive data from many different sources, they then have to store all that data, and have to keep on being fed with it. Someone even has to hit a few keys for something to come out of them.

We think there is a bright side, which is not surprising to hear from people who are intrepid enough to actually build and sell CDPs.

Obviously, in themselves CDPs are worthless; the value only comes when you start to do something useful with that data. But as an enabler today’s CDPs can be something quite special.

The big picture view is that if you don’t have everything known about each customer structured and held in one place then you have no chance of meeting the customers’ expectations. And this holds true for every occasion when you are interacting with customers.

However below this Olympian vision there are a growing number of applications that are either made possible, or made to work better, when they can be powered by a customer data platform.

Here is a checklist we have made or current uses that our clients have been making of a CDP:

Outbound marketing

  • targeted and personalised direct mail
  • segmented email campaigns
  • triggered email campaigns
  • SMS push notifications

GDPR/Call center support

  • consent storage
  • privacy portal for SARs
  • customer recent activity search


  • customer and sales performance
  • linked to web browsing activity

Digital advertising

  • website personalisation (segmented and one-to-one)

Technical/ analytical

  • includes browsing history in the SCV
  • bespoke engineered data fields based on the SCV
  • SCV data exports for analysis

For those not entirely immersed in the jargon, what we now call a CDP we used to call a customer database, and after that a customer data warehouse, and then a single customer view. One of the differences between now and then is that in the now we expect data to come in from far more sources, and these include on-line browsing as much as off-line transactions.

Customer Data Platform timeline diagram
Customer Data Platform evolution timeline


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.

If you can lend us your customers’ data, we can tell you the truth about them!

Increasing Customer Knowledge

Estimates differ, but apart from the largest companies who all have their own data scientists, and the smaller SMEs who are not into customer analysis, around 60% of those in the middle do not have the customer knowledge they would like to have to run their businesses.

This does not mean that you don’t have answers to some of your queries, but that you probably don’t always have the ability to ask detailed questions about your customers’ behaviour and get correct answers back.

Every organisation has their own very focused areas where they would like to know more about their customers, and we would like to hear what yours are.

To give you a flavour of some of the questions our data scientists have been asked recently to investigate:

  • how do the different channels, and means, by which we recruit customer impact their longer-term customer value?
  • once customers have made their first purchase what is their next most likely purchase, and what is the likely interval between first and second purchase?
  • what proportion of my customers am I retaining year on year, and what appears to be the factors causing better and worse retention?
  • can I score up my customers with their likelihood to respond to my next campaign?
  • what is the relationship between people browsing my website on multiple occasions, and purchasing?

In reality we never know exactly what we are going to be asked to look into next!

But we want to remove the barriers between your needs for customer knowledge, and our capability to deliver it.

The simplest way is for us to meet up. We can discuss a brief together, take it away, and come back to you with a fixed cost proposal. If it’s too high you can say no, and all you have lost is the time for the briefing meeting. If it’s ok you will get the customer knowledge you need at a reasonable price, delivered on time.

Members of our team have been delivering customer knowledge to clients for over 20 years, so we have built up some experience in the area.

And by using us you avoid the problems and costs of recruitment, when you may not need someone full-time to do the work for you.

Interested? Please email our Head of Data Science Anthony Antoniou to arrange an appointment.


UniFida partners with Tableau for developing data insights at speed

Following a market review we have picked Tableau as UniFida’s data analysis partner.

UniFida can build your customer data platform, whilst Tableau helps you understand it.

Tableau logo

Tableau has been labelled as a leader for a fifth consecutive year in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for business intelligence.

UniFida users will discover that they can seamlessly use Tableau for their data analysis and visualisation.

Our head of Data Science Anthony Antoniou likes Tableau because its speed of handling large data sets, its ease of data integration, and the simplicity of building new dynamic analyses.

If you would like to discuss how UniFida + Tableau can help your organisation please contact us.