Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Should you use an MMP or CEG? What is a CRM vs a CDP? What the heck is a DMP? Don’t worry. After reading this blog post you will be ready to mix it up with the best of the best in the sales and marketing field.
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS — content management system — is a piece of software hosted on the web that allows you to create, manage, and modify content on a website. Most commonly a CMS is used as a company’s website platform. Typically a CMS is managed through your web browser and will allow multiple users to collaboratively manage the content.
In most cases a CMS will provide a drag and drop editor, allowing users to enter the content in a what you see is what you get interface, meaning no coding is required.
There are several CMS platforms out there. Below are the most common.
I find WordPress to be the easiest to use CMS, and covers most use cases. WordPress also has a highly supported ecosystem, with a number of web hosts out there providing a white glove level of service. In the case of WordPress, my favorite web hosts are Cloudways, Rocket, and Kinsta. Other CMS platforms out there also have specialty web hosts, like Acquia for Drupal. In the event there isn’t a specialty web host for your CMS platform of choice, there is always an opportunity to host it at a platform agnostic service like Digital Ocean, or Linode.
Content Distribution Network (CDN)
A CDN — or content distribution network — is less likely to be used by marketing but marketing should still know what a CDN does. A content distribution network is used to improve the speed of web traffic. Most commonly a CDN is used on a website to improve browsing speed and web performance. A CDN can also be used to serve downloads, such as game updates, or in front of an API to improve the scaling and speed of the API.
If you’re a small or medium business, the best CDN for you is Cloudflare in almost all instances. It is easy to setup and includes additional security functionality. Bunny.net is also a fast rising CDN competitor, with a growing solution portfolio. Other CDN providers include Fastly, and Amazon Cloudfront, as well as many more.
Customer Data Platform (CDP)
A customer data platform or CDP for short is a tool used by marketers to collect, and manage data for all touch points with your customer. Typically a CDP is a licensed platform that is provided by another company, who then provides a login for you to manage the service. A CDP can be implemented on a company’s website, and any desktop or mobile software they sell. Then a CDP can be integrated into third-party services for data collection, as well.
Once a company has implemented a CDP, marketers then have all their customer data in single database which they can use to make informed marketing decisions, and personalize campaigns catered to a prospect’s specific interests. An example would be to create a Facebook advertising campaign of users who looked at a specific product but did not purchase the product. Alternatively, you could use a CDP to re-engage past customers by sending an email offer, or by creating an advertisement, offering a similar product they might be interested in.
The best customer data platforms (CDP) out there are the following.
Customer Engagement Platform (CEG)
Customer engagement platforms (CEG) are the new kid on the block, and everyone wants to be one. This has resulted in many legacy vendors attempting to become a CEG but in many cases they’re under delivering on their promise. A customer engagement platform allows you to track user behavior and provides the capability to engage with them. Typically a customer engagement platform will provide the following touch points.
- SMS text messaging
- In-app messaging
- Web modals
With a customer engagement platform you can begin to see where the marketing ecosystem can drive highly personalized touch points. Many businesses will integrate their customer data platform — which collects and manages prospect & customer data — with their customer engagement platform, which engages and interacts with their prospects and customers. This makes it important to understand what available integrations there are for your CDP and CEG choice as you don’t want to either custom build the integration, or worse: end up with marketing silos.
In my opinion, Braze is the best customer engagement platform available at this time. OneSignal is a close second in terms of functionality, but OneSignal is still catered to the developer, rather than the marketing user. If your organization is heavily developer led, OneSignal may be a better option for you.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The trusty old black book of connections: the CRM, or customer relationship management.
The CRM is likely the oldest the marketing technology out there, and has now been used by sales people for decades. The CRM is the evolution of the rolodex, and contains prospect and customer contact information to be used by your sales team. A CRM will also track all customer contact points, and many will track historical purchase information.
While the CRM is mostly sales driven, marketers will need to use a CRM. Typically a marketer will use a CRM to monitor lead performance after a prospect becomes a marketing qualified lead. Monitoring your lead performance in a CRM will allow a marketer to identify which channels result in the lowest customer acquisition cost.
The most common CRM platforms include Salesforce, and Hubspot. I suggest smaller businesses use Hubspot as it is much easier to manage than Salesforce. If your business can afford a full time sales operations specialist to manage Salesforce, then it is hard to beat the functionality and ecosystem Salesforce provides.
Data Management Platform (DMP)
A data management platform, or DMP for short, is very similar to a customer data platform. In many instances a business will need to choose whether they’re going to implement a CDP or DMP. A data management platform stores and processes prospect and customer data. Businesses can then use a DMP to identify prospects and personalize the communication sent to them.
Where a CDP and DMP do differ is the data that is stored in them. A CDP typically collects first-party data, such as data from your own website, or application. A DMP is used for third-party data, such as data that is purchased to either add new prospects or augment existing prospect data.
If you’re a new business, with limited prospect information then a DMP may be best for you. If you have a significant presence already, then a CDP is likely better for you.
With that said, in the post-GDPR world, a CDP is almost certainly better in all instances even if you’re a new start up.
Mobile Measurement Platform (MMP)
A mobile measurement platform – or sometimes called a mobile measurement partner, both abbreviated as an MMP, is used to track customer signup data on your mobile applications. With an MMP, you’re able to provide attribution for a user who downloads, creates an account and signs up for service within your mobile application.
Compared to the web, an MMP functions very similar to tools like Google Analytics. In the mobile world, an MMP lets you see the total number of mobile application downloads, and signups by specific advertising channel. It can then be further broken down by specific advertising network.
An MMP is a must-have for any business that sells through a mobile application, including single purchase events or subscriptions. In my experience, Adjust is the overall best MMP on the market today. However, AppsFlyer comes in a close second, and with the right team can actually be a better choice than Adjust.
Are you comparing mobile measurement platforms? Unsure of the one that is best for your business? See the full comparison mobile measurement platforms, and find out which is best for your business.
Can these marketing tools be used together?
YES! This is where your marketing can truly become magical.
For many years users have connected their CDP to their CRM. Perhaps unknowingly, even. When your CDP is connected to your CRM, your entire organization benefits. Marketing is able warm leads to the point they’re ready to purchase, and then notify sales once the user takes a definitive purchase action. Alternatively, if a lead goes cold, marketing can use the CDP to identify leads that have not progressed and re-engage them. Sales is able to benefit — not only from marketing warming leads — but also they can see which marketing campaigns a customer has engaged with.
Now with mobile added into the mix, marketing can take things one step further. Remember, your CDP keeps all your customer data. I view it as the central piece of your marketing stack. You’re able to connect your CDP to your CEG — your customer engagement platform — and then you can specifically engage certain segments of customers with highly targeted communications. You’re able to take that one step further with your MMP — your mobile measurement partner — to then augment your CDP data. So for example, you could target a customer who arrived via Facebook Ads, and is located in Ohio. This could allow you to offer special discounts, or in the case of subscriptions, provide highly personalized on-boarding assistance.
As you can see, there are numerous marketing tools out there now designed to make a marketer’s life easier. With these tools not only are you able to better communicate with your customers — but you can provide better attribution data for your CFO, allowing you to get continued investment for your marketing activities.