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DMP vs. CRM vs. CDP: choosing the right martech

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Author photo: Christina Scannapiego

Christina Scannapiego

Director, Content Marketing

DMP, CDP, CRM … it’s enough to make your eyes roll back in your head. But before you zone out, we’ll give you a quick and dirty breakdown of these martech acronyms. Because choosing the right technology to drive your marketing and sales engine is critical to your business growth.

Changes are on the horizon

In 2022, Google will stop supporting third-party cookies. If your business still relies on third-party data that’s obtained through cookies by then, finding a provider that will give it to you will be tough—to say the least. And don’t worry, this is relevant to the choice between DMP, CRM and CDP software. Because the death of third-party cookies will essentially make one of these systems obsolete.

Making sure you’re clear on what CRM, CDP and DMP systems are, and what they can do for your business will enable you to continue to use customer data—and leverage that data more effectively—even after Google retires the cookie.

The definitions: DMP, CRM and CDP

Acronyms are everywhere in the business world, but the three discussed here—DMP, CRM and CDP—are often confused, even though they refer to three different types of systems. Sure, they can complement each other, but they don’t perform the same functions. Here’s a quick martech cheat sheet:

Data Management Platform (DMP)

Data management platforms are cookie-based, which means they focus on analyzing anonymous segments and categories of customers rather than the individual customers themselves. This means that most of the information collected will be anonymous and general in nature.

These platforms generally don’t create precise customer profiles, and their integrations tend to be limited to advertising purposes. DMPs were designed to target, and re-target, anonymous users for marketing, but they provide very nonspecific results. The consumer segments derived from anonymous data are typically very large because it does not contain personally identifiable information (PII), such as emails or phone numbers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

As the name suggests, a customer relationship management system helps you to better manage and keep track of your customer relationships. It’s designed to build and nurture relationships with clients by organizing all data related to prospects and customers and enabling cross-team collaboration and oversight. One of the big benefits is that it helps teams be more efficient. Any employee can access a contact profile to inform their communication with customers or prospects based on both historical and general information.

CRMs provide more insight into actual interactions between your company and your customers. For example, you can track communications between customers and your sales team, see the last time customer success interacted with the customer, or view their purchase history. You’re essentially able to have a view of your organization’s relationship with a client from beginning to the present.

Customer Data Platform (CDP)

A customer data platform is packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. This software aggregates and organizes customer data across a variety of channels. It can also collect and structure real-time data into individual, centralized customer profiles.

These profiles are put together using a combination of first, second and third-party sources. Things like your CRM, web forms, email, website, social media activity, behavioral data and more are used to develop comprehensive views of your customer data. In short, a CDP is designed to collect and unify all first-party data, manage customer data, and to make this data actionable.

It comes down to data

Where CDP and CRM systems can use first-, second- and third-party data, DMPs cannot. With Google holding 64% of the browser market share, when they end the use of third-party cookies, most website owners will be forced to rely much more heavily on first- and second-party data (which we think is a great thing).

First-party data (customer data that your company has collected directly) has always been important, but now it’s essential. Data obtained directly from your customers, with their consent, creates twice as much revenue in ads and significantly improves marketing cost efficiency. It's more accurate, more exclusive, creates better personalization, and substantially increases your marketing relevance. A CDP relies on that first-person data (as well as some second-party data) to help companies better manage their marketing. Combined together, that makes for some pretty powerful relationship building.

What’s the right system for you?

Most companies use some sort of CRM system to help them stay on top of customer relationships. A CRM like Copper offers robust functionality that extends beyond the sale to help you cultivate meaningful, lasting customer relationships as well as drive better first-party data for future initiatives.

After this year, DMPs will be pretty much obsolete. Sure, there will still be some browsers still using cookies, but without Google’s massive market share participating in third-party data collection, actionable insights will be difficult to find. In response to a growing demand for consumer privacy, many other browsers already fully or partially block third-party cookies.

CDPs are just getting started, though. They’ll become even more valuable to businesses because their first-party data focus will allow them to mine their own customers (who have opted into their data collection) for actionable information. This data can then be used for more than just marketing purposes, especially when paired with a powerful CRM. Plus, a CDP can still use what third-party data you do get after 2022 to segment customer profiles for advertising. At this stage, you lose nothing by choosing a CDP over a DMP.

At Copper, we’re leading the charge for privacy-first marketing through the rich first-party customer data you can get from your CRM. By adding a CDP to this process, you’ll be able to zero in on more specific customer data for a variety of purposes, allowing you to make better business decisions.

Try Copper CRM to discover the valuable first-party data you already own and leverage that information to better serve your customer base.

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