The CDP Institute Backstory

The Customer Data Platform category was named in a blog post published in April, 2013 by David Raab, a long-time marketing technology consultant and industry analyst. Mr. Raab noticed a number of new marketing applications that included features to assemble a unified customer database from multiple sources. Before that time, most marketing applications were limited to using data they generated internally or connected to multi-source databases that were built separately.

Mr. Raab published the first industry report on Customer Data Platforms in September 2013, profiling eleven systems. He continued to develop the CDP concept in writings and presentations in the following years.

Interest in the CDP category began to grow sharply in 2016 when CDPs first appeared on the Gartner Hype Cycle and the Customer Data Platform Institute was founded. The mission of the Institute is to help organizations manage their customer data. Activities of the Institute to promote this mission includes a Web site with a library of papers, directory of CDP vendors, and blog on CDP topics; Institute-created content including explanatory papers, reports on the industry, and surveys of CDP users; a daily newsletter and event calendar; workshops and training sessions; and presentations at industry events.

Since 2020 the Institute has been expanding internationally. It currently has standalone regional chapters in Europe, Latin American, Southeast Asia and Australia.

CDPI Staff

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  • David M. Raab

    Founder and CEO
  • Susan S. Raab

    Co-founder and Managing Director
  • Emily Fineberg

    Social Media and Web Site Manager

CDPI Board of Advisors

The Board of Advisors is comprised of industry experts and representatives of Institute Sponsors and Partners. The current list includes:

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What is the CDP Institute?

The CDP Institute is an organization that provides information and services related to customer data management and Customer Data Platforms.

What is the mission of the CDP Institute?

The mission of the Institute is to help marketers and others make the best use of their customer data.

What does the Institute do?

The Institute creates and distributes information related to customer data management and CDPs, including white papers, evaluation guides, use cases, videos, directories, surveys, workshops, newsletters, Webinars, and presentations at online and live events. We frequently add new services as seems appropriate to our mission.

The Institute does not sell CDP products, vendor selection services, or implementation services, although we maintain relationships with affiliated organizations that do these things.

Who runs CDP Institute?

The CDP Institute is operated by Raab Associates, a marketing services firm. CDP Institute Founder and CEO David Raab named the CDP category in 2013 and was an early leader in developing the CDP concept.

When was CDP Institute founded?

The Institute was founded in 2016.

How is the Institute funded?

Institute funding comes from CDP vendors and companies with related products and services.

Is there a charge for individual membership?

Individual membership is free.

What are the benefits of membership?

Members receive our email newsletters, convenient access to our library of papers and studies, vendor comparison reports, discounts on industry events, early notice of limited-enrollment training classes, participation in online discussions, and use of online tools including our Request for Proposal Generator and Use Case Generator.

How can I be involved with CDP Institute as an individual?

The CDP Institute maintains a Slack™ channel to encourage discussion among members of the CDP community. We welcome involvement in regional events when these take place and are pleased to hear from members who might be able to contribute expertise for projects such as creation of educational materials. Please contact if you’d like to help.

How do I get my company on the CDP Institute Web site?

Companies with systems that meet the Institute’s RealCDP™ definition are listed at no charge in the CDP Vendor Directory. Companies with related products or services may be listed in the Service Provider Directory, usually after setting up a partner agreement with the Institute.

What is the RealCDP program?

The RealCDP program is a certification issued to vendors whose products meet the RealCDP standard set by the CDP Institute. RealCDP requirements include: ingest data from all sources, capture full detail of ingested data, store ingested data indefinitely, construct unified customer profiles, and make profiles available to any external system. CDP systems can be audited without being paid sponsors of the Institute, although they must pay an audit fee. The audits are conducted by an independent third party. See the RealCDP section of this Web site for further details.