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Structured Management is Critical to Unified Database Success: Customer Data Platform Institute

November 28, 2016 – Marketers building a unified customers database need to take a structured approach, according to a survey report released today by the Customer Data Platform Institute.

The survey found that companies using long term plans, formal value metrics, agile development processes, and technical standards were more likely to have a database in place than companies not using those techniques.  Companies where a single customer view was considered extremely important were also more likely to have a database in place.

“A unified customer database is not a skunkworks project, “ said CDP Institute CEO David Raab.  “It requires careful planning and management support.   Strong evidence is that companies using both agile development and a long-term planning process are almost twice as likely to have a customer database as companies that used just one of those methods, and three times as likely as companies that used neither.”

Plan vs Agile Graph

“This type of practical insight is the purpose of the CDP Institute,” Raab continued.  “We want to move beyond asking  how many marketers have a single customer view or want one, to helping them build to it successfully.“

Statistics from the survey include:

- 48% of companies with a central customer database have a long term plan for marketing technology, compared with just 25% of companies planning to build a database. 

- 70% of respondents rated a single customer view as “very important” or “extremely important”, but just 14% have a shared customer database in place.

- marketing was responsible for martech at 66% of companies, while IT was responsible at 11%.  Responsibility was shared at 9% and unknown at 13%.

- companies where responsibility for martech was shared were less likely to have a central customer database or plan to build one than companies where either IT or marketing was fully in charge

- top uses for a single customer view were personalization (70%), customer insights (65%), and measurement across channels (51%). 

- top obstacles to a single customer view were budget (51%), inaccessible data (39%) and organizational roadblocks (31%)

The report is titled Best Practices in Building a Unified Customer Database.   A full copy is available for free at    The survey was taken in October and November 2016 through email and Web solicitations by MarTech Advisor and Raab Associates.

About the Customer Data Platform Institute

The Customer Data Platform Institute educates marketers and marketing technologists about customer data management.   Activities include publishing of educational materials, news about industry developments, creation of best practice guides and benchmarks, a directory of industry vendors, and consulting on related issues.

The Institute is focused on Customer Data Platforms, defined as “a marketer-controlled system that maintains a unified, persistent customer database which is accessible to external systems.”  It is managed by Raab Associates., a consultancy specializing in marketing technology and analysis. Raab Associates defined Customer Data Platforms as a category in 2013.







The CDP Institute educates marketers about the issues, methods, and technology used to manage customer data, with a special focus on Customer Data Platforms. Join the CDP Institute for free access to valuable information and insights.


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