Oct 09

Marketers looking for a better customer database can now get help from a new class of vendors, according to a new report from Raab Associates Inc.

The Guide to Customer Data Platforms describes systems that give marketers control of building a customer database to support cross-channel marketing programs. Unlike traditional marketing automation systems, these products do not necessarily deliver marketing messages. Instead, they provide shared data and analytics to coordinate and optimize messages delivered by multiple channel systems.

“Customer Data Platforms fill a critical void in today’s marketing technology landscape,” says Raab Associates Principal David M. Raab. “Most marketing automation systems have very limited database building capabilities, and most database building tools are designed for IT specialists. Marketers will only get the databases they need when they control their own systems.”

The Raab study profiles eleven vendors that load data from multiple sources, merge data relating to the same individuals, store the information in a persistent, continuously-updated database, and make information accessible to marketing execution systems. Nearly all of the vendors also provide predictive modeling and many can also recommend the best treatment for individual customers in specific situations.

The vendors fall into three subgroups, reflecting their current customers and original applications:

• B2B data enhancement systems, which use a large external database of company and individual information to enrich their clients’ own customer records. Vendors include Infer, Lattice Engines, Mintigo and ReachForce.

• Campaign systems, which integrate the clients’ own multi-source data and recommend marketing treatments. Vendors include AgilOne, NICE Causata, RedPoint Gobal, and Silverpop with its Universal Behavior feature.

• Audience management systems, which combine cookie-level data with non-cookie data to recommend treatments for Web advertising, Web site personalization, and other channels. This group includes [x+1], IgnitionOne, and Knotice.

Raab predicts that distinctions between these groups will blur over time, as each set of vendors adds features from other groups. Other trends covered in the study include greater end-user control over data management rules, more automated predictive modeling, and recommendations based on the long-term impact of marketing treatments.

The Guide to Customer Data Platforms is available at www.raabguide.com/cdpguide. It is priced at $795.

About Raab Associates Inc.

Raab Associates Inc. helps marketers to select and deploy marketing technology. Typical projects include needs definition, vendor selection, and performance measurement. The firm also offers industry vendors assistance in understanding customer needs and establishing thought leadership through white papers, surveys and presentations.

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