As a customer data platform (CDP), we're often asked how Evergage compares with Salesforce.

This is a fair question. Salesforce has been the leader in CRM for a long time, and the CRM was long considered to be the central repository of customer data in an organization. The CDP is a natural extension of Salesforce’s mission.

Salesforce has just started working on its CDP

In a recent post published on the Salesforce blog, Bob Stutz, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, announced that Salesforce was working on a CDP. He said:

We believe the time is right for a dedicated solution designed to help them manage their customer data better, using advanced technology, at the scale and with the built-in trust they can only get from a partner such as Salesforce.

Allison Schiff of AdExchanger.com said in her article about Salesforce’s CDP (emphasis mine):

The CDP that Salesforce has in mind will be built from stuff it’s already got, including components from its DMP (formerly Krux); analytics and marketing intelligence from its Datorama acquisition last year; and identity management through Customer 360. MuleSoft, the API management platform Salesforce bought for $6.5 billion last March, also has a role to play, “but exactly how it will intersect with the CDP is TBD,” Kihn said. [Marty Kihn is Salesforce’s SVP of Strategy]

Salesforce is also still figuring out exactly where the persistent customer record will live, which is a core component of any CDP. The Salesforce CDP will build on Customer 360, which helps Salesforce create a single identifier to use across its own cloud offerings, but more work will have to be done before it can serve as a true database.

As the customer profile is the central component of any CDP, it is clear that Salesforce is still at the very early stages of planning.

Salesforce has the right vision: A unified system of insight and engagement

Bob Stutz went on to articulate Salesforce’s vision for the enterprise CDP:

Ultimately, I think marketers are asking for two distinct but related things. Existing CDPs deliver parts of one or the other – but none of them delivers both yet in a meaningful way.

  • Insights: The first thing marketers want is what I call an "Insight Platform." This is a flexible customer database, storing information from multiple sources and exposing that data to analytics and other systems.
  • Engagement: The second thing they want is an "Engagement Platform.” This is the technology layer that takes the customer insights and delivers them in real-time to real people. It is the platform that enables true omnichannel marketing and delivers on the promise of personalized engagement at scale.

This is similar to what Martin Kihn, Salesforce’s SVP of Product Strategy, said at LiveRamp’s RampUp conference this past February:

I’ll boil down the CDP world into two types: systems of insight or systems of engagement… Existing CDPs, I would argue, do one or they do the other.

If you look at the VC world today, no one is going to fund a combined CDP. It’s too ambitious, too difficult, it would take too long… My contention is that the enterprise CDP does not exist, yet. There aren’t that many companies that could deliver it.

Both Stutz and Kihn are:

  • Right that an enterprise CDP must be a unified system of insight and engagement
  • Right that most CDPs are either one or the other
  • But wrong in thinking the enterprise CDP does not yet exist

Evergage’s enterprise CDP is a unified system of insight and engagement

In Salesforce’s recent announcement, Stutz stated that “Salesforce is building the first enterprise-grade Customer Data Platform.” This is inaccurate. Everything he described, Evergage has been providing for years.

Evergage began with the vision of being a combined system of insight and engagement. Yes, Evergage and our VCs were “crazy enough” to start a company that focused on correctly solving the most pressing problem in marketing. For the last eight years, we have worked to build technology that allows marketers to deeply understand their customers as individuals and respond to those customers with relevant experiences across channels. We began in this way because we realized that the only way to correctly solve marketing’s problem is to combine both insights and engagement in a single system from the beginning. You simply can’t engage a person with a personalized message in real time if you don’t know anything about that person.

The Evergage platform was built around a unique unified customer profile for each person (known or anonymous) or business account from the beginning. All of the data that Evergage collects (such as deep behavioral data) is stored in this profile. Data from every other source is stored in this customer profile as well. That data can then be interpreted with Evergage’s affinity modeling and predictive scoring to uncover a person’s preferences and his or her likelihood to take certain actions in the future. Marketers can learn and analyze at the segment level, for each channel, across channels, and more. This is Evergage’s system of insight.

Deeply integrated and integral to the very same platform is Evergage’s system of engagement. This includes robust decisioning — triggers, segments, and machine learning — to determine which products, content, categories, navigation, offers, promotions, etc. to deliver on what channel. With Evergage, marketers can activate on the individual-level data to engage customers at the 1-to-1 level across channels (website, mobile, email, push, in-app, advertising, social, in-person channels like in-store, in-branch, call centers, etc.) with campaigns that they set up and manage themselves. And, because it’s natively one single platform, all of this can be done in real time at the 1-to-1 level easily by a business user.

Final Thoughts

Here’s the point: Salesforce has a long way to go to catch up to Evergage. Our customers have been making use of Evergage’s unique combined CDP and personalization platform (a unified system of insight and engagement) for years.

If you’re looking for an enterprise CDP that is a combined system of insight and system of engagement, talk to Evergage. Request a demo today.