Collette Lazor
Collette Lazor
Posted 27 July 2022

ESP, CDP, and CDMP – What’s best for your marketing tech stack now?

There is a lot of information out there about which marketing tech is best for who, when, and what. In an attempt to de-mystify some of the confusion that occurs around the different tech/ platform types and their capabilities, we’re going to delve into the different types of marketing technology available and their pros and cons. Ultimately, what’s best for you is going to depend on your brand’s unique needs, challenges, and objectives, but hopefully, this outline provides a rounded view that can form the basis for further evaluation.  

This blog follows a recent post on the key considerations for streamlining your tech stack ahead of economic uncertainty, which explores why now is the perfect time to evaluate what you have, what tech you need, and where you can be more efficient. 

1. Deep Dive: ESPs

Usually owned by marketing, Email service providers (ESPs) are often built for marketers and have good cross-channel functionality and automation. Most claim some data management functionality. ESPs are built to send emails, but customer data is often an afterthought.

ESPs tend to be campaign-centric rather than customer-centric. 

While they may have great capabilities in sending marketing messages to email addresses, they’re not great at giving marketers the full picture of their customer behavior, or the ability to personalize their marketing.

This leads to limited personalization options, difficulty gaining meaningful insights, and little opportunity to build effective customer journeys and market based on real customer activity. 

ESPs usually need extra solutions to meet their customer experience needs.

ESPs (especially traditional ESPs) can often have gaps in their functionality that require multiple solutions to fill in, for example, a channel that they don’t deliver to that requires a specialist solution. This can often lead to multiple different solutions being patched together to give marketers the functionality they need.

Not only does this mean higher costs to implement additional solutions, but it’s also often hard to bend into shape with patchwork solutions that may be disjointed, creating complicated workflows creating roadblocks to building a cohesive customer journey in a timely manner. 

ESPs tend to have poor and misleading ‘predictive’ functionality.

Many ESPs have marketing ‘predictive analytics’ that, because of a lack of consolidated customer data, are often not good enough to provide marketers with actionable insights they can trust. In addition, this data is usually generic and not focused on retail touchpoints.

This leads to confusion and flawed insights, it’s often difficult to trust the usefulness of these features. 

TL;DR

If you’re having trouble with disjointed solutions, complicated workflows, lack of full and actionable customer data, and limited personalization, it might be time to review and upgrade your marketing tech stack and consider a customer data and marketing platform (CDMP).

ESP comparison table

Ometria is a customer data and marketing platform that is built with data at its core. We give marketers a customer-centric approach determined by real customer data, deliver real insights over vanity metrics and an in-depth understanding of how a retailer’s marketing activity is working toward their goals. This foundation enables marketers to accurately optimize campaigns and give their customers highly personalized experiences they will love. We’ll explore CDMPs in more detail a little later on, but next up – ESPs + CDPs. 

2. Deep Dive: ESPs + CDPs

Oftentimes, marketers outgrow their email service provider (ESP) functionality and look to supplement with a customer data platform (CDP). This might feel like the right next step but it might hold you back in the long run. Here’s why…

Your marketing stack is reliant on two solutions playing nicely together.

Many CDPs are moving in the direction of becoming CDMPs, either through building functionality or acquiring marketing platforms and as a result, they don’t have the competitive incentive to maintain sophisticated integrations with ESPs.

That means it’s getting harder to take action on the data between two platforms and you’re at the mercy of two companies playing nicely to achieve your revenue goals. 

With CDPs, marketing teams are heavily reliant on tech teams.

Because a CDP is typically owned by tech, IT, or data teams, marketers are reliant on tech teams to integrate new data sources, or implement new data use cases.

This leads to inefficient data use, lack of visibility, and slower ‘campaign to market’ as you work to build complex marketing journeys across functions. 

ESP + CDP creates a complex, costly tech stack with large amounts of feature redundancy.

Combining a tech-owned CDP with a marketing-owned marketing platform creates a multi-layered solution that requires unique implementations, usually with the help of 3rd party implementation experts, to meet requirements (especially in the case of legacy marketing clouds). This can be costly to stand up and maintain, they have a steep learning curve, and can be subject to delayed implementations and support/training. 

It’s difficult to move beyond segment-level marketing.

CDPs are designed primarily to activate or sync customer segments into marketing platforms and point solutions, where the actual sending of the marketing message takes place. This makes it difficult to market to customers on a 1:1 basis through very granular segmentation, dynamic content, and personalized product recommendations since the single customer view is held in the CDP rather than the marketing platform.

Not only does that lead to challenges with personalization, but more importantly, it can lead to a risk of delay or lack of real-time cutting-edge marketing as it might not be as responsive between separate technologies.

TL;DR

Before considering adding a CDP to your ESP, take a look at your current challenges and needs. Disparate systems managed cross-functionally might cause more challenges than they solve. 

CDP comparison table

With a customer data and marketing platform like Ometria, all customer data is in the hands of marketers, making it easy to create and action not only sophisticated customer segments but also offers unlimited options for employing 1:1 personalization tactics such as dynamic content. Time to take a look at the CDMP in more detail. 

3. Why a CDMP Reigns Supreme 

As a CRM owner, we know your core ‘job to be done’ is to increase revenue by keeping customers coming back and shopping again and again. 

Typically, top-of-mind tech is email service providers (ESP) / marketing clouds and customer data platforms (CDP). While each serves a unique purpose, you may be experiencing challenges as your customers’ expectations continue to climb, as revenue goals become more aggressive, and as teams and budgets become leaner. 

Here’s a breakdown of how ESPs and CDPs stack up against core CRM owner challenges  

ChallengesESPCDP
Limited personalizationx
Managed by marketing teamsx
Managed by tech teams x
Lack of meaningful insightsx
Steep learning curve x
Hard to action on datax
Campaign-focused, not customer focusedx
Disjointed or requires multiple solutionsxx
Often costly to implement and manage x
Complicated workflows, slow to marketxx
Not retailer-focusedxx
Unstable predictive functionality x
Gaps in functionality requiring other tech integrationsxx

Enter Customer Data & Marketing Platforms (CDMPs). 

The best of both worlds, a CDMP represents an evolution of both the CDP and marketing orchestration categories. CDMPs are a response to the growing expectations of today’s customers. Technologically speaking, they combine the data capabilities of a CDP with the cross-channel marketing orchestration of an ESP or marketing cloud.

Acronyms aside, what this really spells out is the ability for marketers to easily use customer data to personalize their experience across every marketing channel they interact with your brand on, all from within the same solution.

CDMPs drive

  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and revenue growth: By taking a data-driven approach to the customer journey, CDMPs give marketers the means to increase loyalty and drive repeat purchases.
  • Increased engagement: By empowering marketing teams to make their marketing more relevant and timely, CDMPs reduce the risk of shoppers tuning out of marketing messages, and help retailers deliver marketing experiences their customers love.
  • Increased marketer autonomy: By making customer data directly actionable within marketing campaigns, CDMPs remove marketers’ reliance on data science teams or other third parties to get them the data that they need for personalization.
  • Increased operational efficiency: By removing manual tasks (hello, hours spent downloading and uploading csv files) and centralizing the orchestration of marketing messages, CDMPs save teams from hours of tedious, repetitive work each week.
  • Increased marketing efficiency: By giving the marketer the ability to test and optimize their campaigns for the right content and channel mix, CDMPs help teams create more impactful campaigns, and allocate paid channel spend more efficiently.
  • Simplified data governance and compliance: By acting as a centralized source of customer truth, CDMPs ensure all customer data is stored in a compliant, secure way, in which a customer’s opt-in status is stored and respected across all channels.

With Ometria, you’re getting a best-in-class CDMP that helps teams efficiently create next-generation customer experiences in one tool. You own the relationship between your data and your marketing. There’s no need to rely on workarounds and nuanced implementation to get your data and marketing working together effectively.

CDMP comparison table

For more information about why a customer data and marketing platform is the right choice for your brand, why not take a look at our CDMP buying guide?

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