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The CDP Institute

The CDP Institute is a vendor-neutral organisation dedicated to helping companies, in particular marketers, to manage and make the best use of their customer data. 

We have partnered with the industry association to deliver an overview programme to bring you up to speed on what you need to know as the software is usually bought and controlled by business users, most often in marketing. 

We'll deliver a 4 part curriculum aimed at covering:

  1. the concept and industry overview,
  2. how to select the right solution for you,
  3. how to go about deployment
  4. and finally how to manage it on an ongoing basis. 

So what is a Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is basically a piece of software that combines data from multiple sources to create a single centralised customer database containing data on all touch points and interactions with your product or service. You can then segment that database in almost endless ways to create more personalised marketing campaigns.  

Understanding what a CDP does

So for example, a CDP gives you a better understanding of your customers by collecting data from all touch points like Facebook, LinkedIn, your company’s website, chatbots, email, and any other place a customer might interact with you. The CDP collects all of those data points, consolidates them into an easily understandable, unified customer profile, and then makes that profile usable to other systems that might need it — like the Google Ads platform.

You can use that process to segment and better understand your audience to create more personalised marketing campaigns targeting them. You can create an advertising audience based on everyone who has visited a specific webpage or quickly segment and target visitor who’ve abandoned their carts with a focussed campaign.

Our CDP Curriculum Topics


  • define CDP concepts (definition, functions, vs other systems, CDP types)
  • industry overview (status & trends)


  • use case definition and design
  • core CDP use cases
  • select your use cases: define business strategy, select programs, build use cases


  • define requirements based on use cases
  • assess resources, find gaps vs resources, identify system type(s) needed
  • define CDP requirements
  • business case, justify to mgt
  • build vs buy
  • select vendors 


  • identify drivers and assess organizational readiness
  • build project plan, assemble team
  • assess data quality, integration, matching, privacy & security
  • design, select & sequence use cases
  • design & run pilot, define barriers and solutions, list expectations  

Want to know more about the CDP Institute? 

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.