I’m pleased to announce the publication of The B2C Customer Data Platform Landscape, Q1 2024. Forrester’s landscape research is a valuable resource for marketers to understand and differentiate the range of solutions available to them in a very dynamic market. As consumer data platforms (CDPs) approach mainstream adoption, Forrester’s coverage emphasizes practicality and granularity, such as in last year’s research that helps buyers determine solution suitability and best practices for implementation. Forrester’s CDP coverage will continue this year, with a landscape report covering CDPs in Asia Pacific and the inaugural Forrester Wave™ evaluation on B2C CDPs that will look at the most significant providers in the space.

2024 is a critical year for the CDP category. CDPs are based on the premise that marketers need access to more, better, and faster data to personalize experiences, serve customers across channels, and maximize the value of enterprise data. This core value proposition resonates as much, if not more today, as it did years ago during the founding of the category.

CDPs have always had good intentions and intuitive appeal to marketers, but the category has been historically characterized by chaos in the form of immature functionality, confusing product marketing from too many vendors, and disappointing solution results. In the beginning, this was a tolerable short-term trade-off because any new, high-growth category is disruptive as it establishes itself. And indeed, by 2023, CDPs were finally establishing credibility and expanding their capabilities while buyers have become better prepared to select and use CDPs, with solution results showing steady improvement. This represents encouraging progress, but we’ve got to keep pushing forward.

CDPs Must Own Customer Data For Marketing Or Lose Ground To New Tech

The slow-burn progress of CDPs isn’t acceptable any longer because marketers face multiple challenges TODAY and need sophisticated solutions NOW. CDPs aren’t an emerging category and shouldn’t be treated as such. 2024 is the year for CDPs to show us what they’ve got. We’re bought into the potential, we’ve seen glimpses of success, and now it’s time to follow through. CDPs must own customer data for marketing and share a true vision for supporting customer experiences. If CDPs can’t get there in 2024, they’ll lose ground to new technologies and approaches entering the marketplace, and marketers will be forced to seek solutions elsewhere.

I believe that CDPs can be successful; doing so will require answers to the following questions:

  • What value can CDPs add to the data that they store?
  • When will CDP solutions be scalable, secure, and performant?
  • Who are the CDP vendors that will lead this category?
  • Where will CDPs expand beyond marketing?
  • How can CDPs truly innovate how marketers work?

2024 is going to be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to the clarity it will bring about the CDP category and working with marketers and the vendor community to make CDPs the best they can be. Check out the landscape report, and if you’re considering implementing a CDP or looking to optimize your existing CDP implementation, we’re here to help. Schedule an inquiry or guidance session today.