Defining the Customer Data Platform and Why You Should Care

January 11, 2021 | 6 minute read
Abbas Makhdum
Director of Product Marketing, Data and AI
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Have you ever been talking with a customer service agent and had to repeat yourself?  Of course you have. We all have, and we all hate it. It still happens today, and when it happens once, that’s one time too many.

When we engage with a brand, we don’t care how its service or marketing departments are set up. We just want our issues resolved—quickly. When each interaction with a brand is an opportunity to please and delight that customer, forcing them to provide the same information repeatedly creates a terrible brand experience.

The problem begins with the data! When every customer interaction operates as its own distinct conversation, each touch—marketing, sales, logistics, delivery, service, loyalty—produces more siloed data, making a single view of the customer impossible. Without a single view of the customer, delivering a great, consistent customer experience (CX) across the customer journey itself is impossible.

Today’s customer data platform (CDP) solutions fall short

Customer data platforms have emerged with a promise that they’ll enable marketers to unify their customer data across their organization and activate audiences across the broader ecosystem to deliver consistent experiences across channels. CDPs are the latest step in the evolution of data management systems that use data from platforms such as CRM systems and data management platforms to help you get a 360-degree view of your customers and deliver unified customer experiences.

But point CDP solutions generally fail to provide a unified customer profile to all systems across the enterprise. The key problem is they’re too narrowly focused and do not consider the entire end-to-end customer experience across marketing, sales, service, loyalty, commerce, etc. The customer information contained in a CDP is of value to everyone across the company, not just marketing.

In its October 2018 report, “For B2C Marketers, Customer Data Platforms Overpromise and Underdeliver,” Forrester stated that “CDPs lack crucial capabilities to solve for identity resolution, data hygiene, and cross-channel orchestration.” The analyst firm further noted that without these capabilities, CDPs “can’t meet enterprise B2C marketers’ expectations for personalized and targeted customer engagement.”

The next evolution in the customer data platform (CDP)

The next evolution of the enterprise-grade CDP incorporates anonymous, third-party data, as well as first-party known data to provide a complete understanding of the customer. These enterprise CDPs have a layer of intelligence that uses machine learning for predictive models and recommendations to produce more powerful and actionable insights. The best CDPs share those insights with any other system to enable sales, service, marketing, commerce, field service, finance, social, and others with more, better intelligence. For example, if a customer is interacting with a service agent to report an issue, it’s imperative the CRM system informs the agent that this is a high-value customer who just made a major purchase.

Similarly, if a customer has an open support ticket, it’s crucial that the marketing system informs the marketer not to include that customer in a marketing campaign until their issue is resolved. It’s infuriating to get a marketing email from a brand asking you to refer a friend or consider an additional purchase when you're having service issues. This approach helps you maximize customer engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and increase customer lifetime value.

Micro-moments matter more than ever before

The Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform delivers intelligence 

The customer relationship with brands is in constant motion. As marketing, sales, commerce, and service professionals, we must adapt to these shifts or our customers will take their business elsewhere.

Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform is an enterprise customer data platform that creates a single, dynamic view of each customer in real time. With built-in AI and machine learning, Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform brings data together from all sources, applies intelligence, and activates insights to improve the B2B and B2C customer experience across marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform applies that data-driven intelligence to determine the next best experience by feeding those actions directly into Oracle and non-Oracle applications.

The power of an enterprise customer data platform

Unified profiles

Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform connects and unifies all of your customer data together in context, in motion, and in real time, regardless of source or size. This ensures that each and every customer interaction is data-driven.

Across the entire customer lifecycle, we are identifying and building profiles, capturing each customer’s key event data to help better understand passions, interests, needs, and attention. With built-in ID resolution, Oracle Unity unifies and resolves customer identities across all disparate systems to build a single, unified customer profile for each customer. It captures events based on behavioral data, not just profile IDs that it collects, but it analyzes what those profiles are doing behaviorally at the granular, individual level in real time.


While most marketers’ view of the customer may stop and end here, there is so much more about your customers that you simply just can’t glean from various sources. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform has an enrichment layer that provides seamless access to the world’s largest third-party data market, Oracle Advertising.

You can learn much more about your customers, such as geo-demographics, estimated net worth, family size, offline shopping behaviors, intent, and much more. Augment your connected customer profiles with data enrichment that blends second and third-party data with first-party deterministic data to provide a true understanding of your customers’ intent for hyper-personalization.


A single view of the customer is great. But that view doesn't mean much unless it’s actionable. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform provides deep, granular, segmentation of one scale across as much data as you want in real time with built-in predictive modeling and machine learning algorithms.

Segmentation as a core offering allows you to centralize audience creation and then execute those audiences across your entire CX ecosystem. AI/machine learning is natively embedded, allowing you to pick your campaigns' best audiences.

Customer analytics

Detailed analytics provide an in-depth understanding of why something performed the way it did. Often, causality is still hard to identify when you are looking at terabytes of engagement data. A detailed root cause analysis helps you optimize your campaigns by taking actions straight from the analytics.

Personalized experiences

After you decide what experiences you want to serve your customers, you have to actually deliver them. Customers don’t think in channels. They expect an individualized experience wherever, whenever, and however they interact with the brand. Great experiences should be delivered through every channel – direct mail, contact center, email, mobile, social, your website, and through advertising channels like search and display. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform enables one-to-one personalization at scale. Create a faster time to value with out-of-the-box integrations and a push-button ability to build and publish segments into Oracle and non-Oracle applications.

More and more, we see the most innovative companies are starting to compete with this type of holistic experience, and Oracle is the only vendor that has the pre-integrated and industry-leading solutions across this entire range of CX.

Your customers deserve a great experience whenever they interact with your brand. Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform enables companies to deliver contextually aware and highly personalized experiences that delight customers whenever and however they engage with them, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing greater customer lifetime value.

To learn more, see Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform in action with an interactive demo.

Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform

Abbas Makhdum

Director of Product Marketing, Data and AI

Abbas Makhdum is the director of product marketing for AI and emerging technologies at Oracle. With experience in SaaS-based marketing, artificial intelligence, analytics, customer experience platforms, and personalization solutions, Abbas helps companies launch new markets, products, sales enablement, and demand generation strategies that grow ARR.

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