Customer Data Platforms Finally Get Their Moment of Glory in the Marketing Supergraphic

George Corugedo | March 25, 2016

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Get out your magnifying glass, it’s time to review Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic! Brinker is known around the MarTech world for trying to put his hands around this massive universe of technology that we’re in. Every so often he puts out a graphic that organizes it according to categories.

His first, in 2011, had 150 companies, and last year he cataloged about 1,900. In January, we joked about how many more would be added to the supergraphic and it’s amusing to think we weren’t so far off. This year he fits nearly 3,900 logos onto the chart, making it a comprehensive and fascinating look at the industry.

Despite the immense task, Brinker does a good job of placing companies. He certainly placed RedPoint exactly where we belong. As far as we can tell (seriously, these logos are small!) he put us in two spots that line up well with two of the main capabilities of the RedPoint Convergent Marketing Platform: Marketing Automation and Campaign/ Lead Management, and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). You might notice that Brinker separated CDPs from data management platforms (DMPs). This is a critical distinction, one which is not yet well known in marketing.

The “golden record” of the customer is not possible with a DMP. This is because DMPs were originally designed around one channel, online ad networks, and cannot and do not store any personally identifiable information (PII). As a marketer, if you’re looking to take all of your first-, second- and third-party data to create a system of record (aka “golden record”) for your customer, then a DMP won’t cut it. Moreover, a DMP cannot store as much data as a relational or Hadoop-based system. As we futureproof our technology investments in the age of the Internet of Things, a DMP doesn’t look as attractive as a CDP for achieving that elusive “golden record.”

CDPs do something unique – they can capture, integrate, and manage all types of customer data to help create that “golden record.” However, to what degree and how this is achieved varies widely, vendor to vendor.

In his write up announcing the graphic, Brinker points out correctly that the “One Platform to Rule Them All” idea has never truly come to fruition, and what exists instead is a cobbling together of platforms to perform certain tasks. Marketers turn to one solution for email, another for web, another for data and so on.

The catch is that Brinker never made a place for orchestration platforms like ours, so we end up clustered in with the likes of Hubspot and Marketo. Not bad company, but not exactly competition either. Though, I should note that several of our partners, including Merkle and Acxiom, are in the same box. That said, because of how he organizes the companies from the top down, there really isn’t room for a category that works across all the different pieces.

Even though we’re in Customer Data Platforms, we touch on everything in that corner of the grid, including the iPaaS, Cloud/ Data Integration & Tag Management and Predictive Analytics. Brinker can only put companies on the page a limited number of times, so companies tend to be limited to a single definition, even if they have multiple uses.

There are, of course, notable exceptions, such as Adobe. They’re all over this graphic. But as Brinker notes in his blog copy, “…many companies have multiple platforms in their marketing technology stacks. It’s not unusual for them to have one vendor for their web experience platform, a different one for their marketing automation platform, another for the CRM, and so on.”

That means a company like Adobe, which is selling a full marketing platform, competes with each individual solution and must win head-to-head with each. Their job is not just to be the best all-around platform, but to have the best point solutions as well. It’s a tall order for any company, including one with the resources of Adobe.

Brinker openly admits he isn’t an analyst, just an interested party (his company Ion only gets one slot on the chart). With the release of the chart he becomes the hero of the marketing world with his Herculean effort, but he’s given himself a Sisyphean task as now we’re all waiting to see the size of his next chart.

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George Corugedo
George Corugedo

A former math professor and seasoned technology executive, RedPoint Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder George Corugedo has more than two decades of business and technical experience. George is responsible for directing the development of the RedPoint Customer Engagement Hub, RedPoint’s leading enterprise customer engagement solution.