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CDPs and the Myth of the 360-Degree View of the Customer

By Benjamin Bloom | December 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

Marketing Technology and Emerging Trends

Earlier in this year, our Maverick* Research hypothesized that increasingly high levels of technical, regulatory, and consent hurdles would challenge the construction of a 360-degree view and lead many to abandon their efforts to unify all customer data. 

In the meantime, we anxiously awaited the insights from our 2021 Customer Data Survey, which asked leaders across disciplines about their customer data efforts. Our initial findings reveal that just 14% of organizations have achieved a 360-degree view of their customer, a nod to the substantial resource demands, technical hurdles, and cross-functional collaboration needed to achieve this milestone (see Gartner’s Customer Data Survey: The 360-Degree View of the Customer Is More Myth Than Reality subscription required). Just 2% of respondents to our 2021 survey reported that they have abandoned their efforts to achieve a 360 degree view.  An alarming proportion stated that they are too far along in their efforts to stop what they are already doing.

Yet the survey results confirm what we have heard anecdotally in conversations with vendors and clients: a strategy to achieve a 360-degree view has a slim chance of complete success, and many organizations struggle to gain cross-functional alignment on what constitutes a 360-degree view. 

There’s no silver bullet, not even CDPs

For those teams that make it to the 360-degree view utopia,  Is there a silver bullet technology stack?  No such magic exists.  Out of a basket of nearly a dozen different technologies, adoption of any individual technology was far more widespread than achievement of the 360-degree view.  Although only a sliver of teams report successfully achieving a 360-degree view of the customer, it is CDPs, and not CRM, that are most frequently cited as the solution where the 360-degree view of the customer resides (see Survey Analysis: Organizations With a 360-Degree View Prefer Customer Data Platforms Over CRM Gartner subscription required)  This finding is in line with the pain points that arise from traditional CRM solutions: a steady diversification of customer engagement channels creates data that CRM solutions are poorly equipped to hold, let alone unify.  

As you approach 2022, re-set what you are attempting to achieve and ensure it is rooted in customer outcomes, rather than hype.  A core component of our Maturity Model for Managing Marketing Technology (Gartner subscription required) is that more advanced marketing technology teams take a pragmatic, rather than idealistic look at data.  They recognize that scoping down to the right data creates a faster path to ROI than harvesting all conceivable data with the expectation of creating specific use cases down the road.  If you’re struggling with these issues, we look forward to discussing in inquiry – contact your service partner to schedule a call.

Thank you to Lizzy Foo Kune, Mike McGuire, Karen Carter, Matt Brooks, and Brett Blackledge for their collaboration to bring this research to fruition!



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