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How much does a customer data platform cost?

If you’re one of those shoppers who look at price first (like me), it can be frustrating to decipher customer data platform (CDP) pricing.

CDP pricing is complicated for two reasons.

  • CDPs do different types of things.
  • CDPs have different “origin stories” and their pricing is often a relic of what they were and did.
  • CDP, which is originally an email service provider, may be priced based on events (eg emails sent, page views, clicks, etc.). Pricing originating from an analytics platform might be based on total network traffic, while a CDP that was once a data warehouse might be priced based on the number of profiles managed.

    There are many other price models, including:

    • Profiles of “known” individuals.
    • The number of user records in the database.
    • API call and incoming data volume.
    • Components used, such as data cleanrooms or built-in ESPs.
    • You must get a custom quote from every supplier you’re considering, but a quote doesn’t tell the whole story.

      Why CDP’s Origin Story Matters

      MarTech defines CDP as “a marketer-managed system that Designed to collect customer data from all sources, normalize it, and build a unique, unified profile for each customer. The result is a persistent, unified customer database that shares data with other marketing technology systems.”

      Most CDPs start out as something else and then add or acquire features to become full-fledged CDPs. Understanding CDP’s origin story can give you insight into:

      • How applications are priced.
      • Company culture and biases.
      • How they might see their work.
      • Their service.
      • If there is a conflict, it can be a hidden cost of increased development time and workarounds. A good fit can be better than a good price. In the long run, a provider of CDPs tailored specifically to your business and industry may be the ideal choice.

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        If you Buy CDP in the market, you may have some solutions CDP offers content. For example, you may already have a service to manage paywalls, and most CDPs can do the same.

        Right from the start, you have to make the best choice with the Swiss Army Knife.

        Some CDPs insist on a narrow focus. They provide a consistent, single view of the customer (that’s a myth – but don’t mind it for now). These best-of-breed CDPs rely on other applications to send emails, clean data, create interactions on websites, build forms, provide content recommendations, and more. They position themselves as narrowly “best in class” and want you to use other solutions for other tasks.

        The Swiss Army Knife CDP incorporates some or all of the above capabilities into its solution. shortcoming? You can use the functionality provided by your CDP provider when a solution from another provider that specializes in that functionality or service is a better choice. Let’s face it, the can opener on a Swiss Army Knife isn’t the best, but when it’s the one in your pocket, it gets the job done!

        There is no easy solution to this option. It’s easy to think it’s wise to use a best-of-breed solution for each feature. However, aside from the fact that “good enough” is usually good enough, this may not be practical.

        • There is no guarantee that all of these services will integrate seamlessly.
        • Contracting with multiple suppliers can be very expensive.
        • There can be no assurance that these other companies will not merge, change focus, or go out of business.
        • What’s best today may not be the best tomorrow.
        • All of this has to do with pricing, because CDPs cost more than what you’re quoting. You also have to think about what you can save by eliminating duplicate services (provided you can get out of the contract), or what you might need to add to get all the features you’re searching for.

          Here are two examples. A CDP that sends email may save you money you currently spend on an ESP. But a CDP that is not fully integrated with basic services can incur development or middleware costs.

          Start with the use case

          These and many other factors add to the complexity Sex to CDP pricing. It depends on your size and the service you are looking for, so you have to start the process by developing a use case. How will you approach CDP and what return on investment do you expect? Documenting these cases will help you list all the features you need.

          With use cases, you can increase and decrease the cost of CDP bids based on the current services you can forgo and the additional services you need.

          is enough! How much does CDP cost?

          The minimum investment for a CDP is approximately $5,000 per month. It will go up from there based on volume etc. It’s pretty easy to hit multiples of six figures or more per year, so you should only invest in CDPs if your use case is likely to result in substantial savings or additional revenue.

          If the price tag scares you, don’t let it stop you from investigating. You probably don’t need a full CDP. By working on your use cases and thinking about the functionality required to implement them, you may find something you can build yourself – or some “incomplete CDP” solution to your needs.

          The best thing about considering a CDP is that it requires you to think about what you are doing, why, and how these current or potential activities will benefit your company and customers. This exercise can make you more focused, and you may discover income opportunities that make the price less exciting.

          ) The views expressed in this article are those of the guest authors and not necessarily those of MarTech. The authors of the staff are listed here.

        About the author

        Greg’s decades-long career in B2B and B2C publishing includes editorial, marketing, product development, web development , management and operations. He is an expert in bridging the knowledge and cultural gap between technologists and creatives. As a consultant, Greg addresses technical, strategic, operational and process issues for publishers. His expertise includes customer data platforms, acquisition and retention, e-commerce, RFP, fulfillment and project management. Learn more at



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