Breaking Down The Three Types of CDP Data

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A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is built very much like a news team. It consists of multiple different data types and delivery vehicles. When combined, they become a powerful team dedicated to providing a “360-degree-view” and understanding of the world today.

We commonly hear the expression “360-degree view of a customer” but this is extremely broad and needs to be explained. A CDP uses three types of data to build a 360-degree view; demographic, transactional and behavioral. This article describes all three and gives examples.


The Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of an individual. Their name, address, birthdate, loyalty tier, interests, favorite brand, etc. The list is potentially endless and will be based on a company’s business model and/or targeted personas.

Example: Ron Burgundy registers on, a retailer of leather bound books and rich mahogany scented candles. He uses his Facebook login which upon authentication and permission, provides Ron’s personal information like birthday, occupation, likes and marital status. These attributes are stored in the CDP.

Possible CDP segments: San Diego, Scotch, Jazz, Flutes, Dogs, Bathrobes, Age:37, Single

Possible external personalization: On his birthday, Ron receives a promotional email for matching pet loungewear.

demographic data - customer data platform


An action or event that occurred between a company and its customer. A sales order, helpdesk incident, chat with customer service, filing a claim, received campaign email, etc. It’s made of persisted digital interactions across any application.transactional data - customer data platform

Example: Brian Fantana purchased a rare panther cologne online months ago but received a delayed shipment email. He engages in a chat session with customer service to locate his package. Multiple transactions occurred here.

Possible CDP segments: Purchased Online, Dissatisfied Customer, Received Email, Used Chat, Panthers

Possible external personalization: Upon his next visit, the site is automatically redirected to a personal care landing page with cologne recommendations plus a free shipping offer on his next purchase. 60% of the time, this personalization will work every time.


Digital actions the customer makes online on any device. Visiting a specific page, entering search terms, downloading content, posting to social, logging in, scrolling, filtering, etc. Every single mouse click, keystroke, or swipe can be captured.

behavioral data - customer data platform

Example: Brick Tamland is browsing on his iPhone. He searches for “lamp”, sorts by lowest rated, opens a detail page, adds to his wishlist, switches to his iPad, searches for “trident”, searches for “HELP!”, opens his wishlist, adds to cart, transacts, rates it 2 stars then posts a review to Facebook. Every single one of these actions can be persisted to his profile.

Possible CDP segments: Reviewer, iPhone User, Safari User, Facebook User, High Engagement, IQ:48

Possible external personalization: Next time Brick returns, an optimized for mobile and simplified version of the site is displayed. He is presented with a larger search box followed by recently submitted user reviews and lamp recommendations sorted by user rating.

These three data types used individually but more commonly together give marketers unique opportunities to segment. The segments can be discovered and nurtured through real-time business intelligence dashboards that help visualize the story. Company's then become enabled to make data-driven decisions that drive their personalization strategies.

customer engagement data in jExperience dashboard

Creating the elusive “360-degree-view” of a customer requires a tremendous amount of data. Most companies are already storing customer demographics, behavior and transactions but it’s all over the place. Utilize a CDP to aggregate this elite team of data types and then segment. Customer Data Platforms are kind of a big deal.

Chris Janning
Chris Janning

Chris leads the SE team at Jahia and has built a career on selling software through compelling stories. The secret to his approach is well timed pop culture references and quotes.