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Customer data platform - an overview of categories

In the following article you will get an overview of the different categories of Customer Data Platforms - based on the classification of David Raab from the Customer Data Platform Institute and further developed by the b.telligent experts on the subject of CDP.



These systems collect customer data from source systems, link data with customer identities and store the results in a persistent database which is available to external systems. This is the minimum set of functions required to fulfil the definition of a CDP. Systems in this category often use special technologies for data management and access. Many began as a provider of tag management or web analytics, and have an extensive legacy business in these areas. Depending on the manufacturer, data are integrated here either via service teams (hatched in the diagram) or via a self-service interface in the tool (fully featured


Unlike the Customer Data Platform Institute, we use an adapted definition for the key area comprising analytics. We define the customer segmentation feature not as an exclusively analytical key area, but assign it partly to the engagement area.

If the tool has comprehensive scoring, AI or ML support, as well as reporting / analysis functions, it is fully featured. If the tool only possesses functions for forming customer segments, it is represented in hatched form.


These systems cover the key areas comprising data storage, analytics as well as customer addressing.

Customer addressing can involve personalized messages, real-time interactions, product or content recommendations, outbound marketing campaigns, customer trip orchestration or other forms of contact. They are distinguished from pure segmentation by the fact that messages to be delivered are also configured here.


A distinction is furthermore made between three subgroups in the engagement area, and defined as follows:

Engagement Campaign

Channel-agnostic tools with extensive campaign management and segmentation functions, such as the possibility of defining multi-stage campaigns. Tools in this group usually involve collaboration with a broad portfolio of channel technology partners covering almost every channel. These manufacturers optionally also offer their own channel modules.

Engagement Web

Engagement tools with clear strengths in web personalization. These tools originate mostly from web personalization, but can also integrate various customer data and usually also place them via other channels. Campaign management functions here are often oriented toward the web channel, however.

Engagement Channel

Engagement tools which focus distinctly on a channel (e.g. e-mail, push), and whose platform is complemented by campaign management functions.