Todd Belcher (CDP Resource)
2 min readApr 5, 2023


Re-defining the Customer Data Platform

A white morph squirrel enjoying a day in the park

What I learned in trying to help organizations buy and implement the right CDP was this:

The only way there was such thing as “the right CDP” was to flip the definition on its head.

No software provider can define what it is. It does no good. They’re just stating what they do or aim to do, often using intentionally vague terminology. To put it nicely.

Since we’re all entitled to our own definitions, I define The CDP, or organizational Customer Data Platforms, as:

Accessible, organized, enriched customer datasets designed and implemented by organizations that make use of 1st-party (and 0-party) data.

  1. A highly accessible customer dataset means that the systems and teams that rely on the data can access it, and it’s up-to-date.
  2. Being organized allows teams who can access data work with it independently, and across teams there is an understanding of what’s what.
  3. Enriching a customer dataset enhances its efficacy through creation of attributes from bringing multiple data sources together with business and experiential data.

It should always be understood that there are underlying data privacy regulations being followed. Being organized means keeping up-to-date on this, having a process for DSAR, delete requests, etc.

CDP software. CDP software is a huge help in getting organizational CDPs built in an organized, accessible fashion… but the problem has always been bigger than what the proposed solutions could handle.

In 2018, I was running CDP Resource, independent analyst of customer data platforms. I thought I could make sense of the market. I produced a CDP Buyers’ Guide detailing 95 systems in the realm of the customer data platform.

Read a retrospective on the CDP Resource 2018 Customer Data Platform Buyers’ Guide.

Of course, in the four years since the guide came out, the “composable CDP” concept has been unleashed upon us, to further ugh it all up. You’ll notice plenty of CDP providers have jumped on the composable bandwagon… and then, where the composable CDP falls apart, some CDP software is there to fill the gap. I’ll get there later in the month.

Thanks for reading!



Todd Belcher (CDP Resource)

A customer data usefulness enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in technical, pre-sales, and customer success roles for customer data companies.