Power lies in Product Adoption

Power of system is realized when users adopts the system. Number of subscriptions or units sold is a great metric to calculate revenue and initial success of a product but the true to success of the product is based on how well it is adopted. Once a product is well adopted, it confirms all aspects of its success like product objectives, customer impact, profitability, market share etc. As product managers we must focus on adoption as the key goal/OKR besides the normal financial metrics.

Most importantly, adoption doesn’t means it has to be a fancy solution. On a product demo from a vendor, I learnt that the most adopted feature of their financial planning tool for CFOs and their financial teams; is the ability to generate data loaded cubes in excel. Who will believe that in today’s world, but that is what finance teams want. Providing the solution that the customers need and continuous improvement is the key to product adoption.


During Customer Data Platform (CDP) and Data Lake discussions, I often come across wild assumptions on Data Lake’s ability to solve every problem while CDPs end up being heavily underestimated. In my opinion, neither CDP and nor Data Lake is replacement for each other but a perfect complement to each other. Data Lakes are a key source of data for CDPs while CDPs can help improve the quality and completeness of data in Data Lake. Another key platform in this mix especially for marketers is the Data Management Platform (DMP). I will like to spend some time to answer the DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake question.

Don’t think DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake but DMP+CDP+Data Lake.

If you don’t have the patience to read through all of this article on the difference of DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake, please skip directly to the summary section in the end.

DEFINITIONData Management Platform (DMP) collects anonymous web and digital data. It comprehends information about prospects psychographics and demographics.  

Manage segments of customers with anonymous profiles.

For broadening marketing reach by building segments, audience mining etc.

Capture targeted audience at the right time in the buying funnel through relevant messaging.

Better optimization programs and smarter media buying decisions can be taken based on audience analysis and latest campaigns.
Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a type of packaged software which creates a persistent, unified identifiable customer profile that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, anonymized, cleaned and combined with third party data, intent data etc. to create a single profile of a customer.  

CDP enables real time activation of omni-channel experience across. CDP data can be leveraged in real time to provide more personalized content and delivery over web, mobile, Email, ABM, Ads etc. CDP data is accessible by external systems and structured to support digital and marketing team needs for experience management, campaign management, marketing analysis and business intelligence  

CDP is always a hot storage meaning easily retrievable and live connected to like customer master. CDP doesn’t need technical skills to manage and operate.
A Data Lake is a centralized repository that allows you to store all your structured and unstructured data at any scale. You can store your data as-is, without having to first structure the data, and run different types of analytics—from dashboards and visualizations to big data processing, real-time analytics, and machine learning to guide better decisions.

The key focus of Data Lake is to ensure that highly connected data is available to all enterprise systems and functions.

Data lake can have a combination of cold and hot storage. Cold storage for more older data like over 3 years.  Data Lake need very technical resources to build and operate it. Data Lakes don’t offer integration with last mile solutions like MarTech solutions.

Data Lake provides ability to understand what data is in the lake through crawling, cataloging, and indexing of data. It always ensures data assets are protected.

Data Lake allows to run analytics without the need to move data to a separate analytics system. Generate different types of insights including reporting on historical data and doing machine learning where models are built to forecast likely outcomes and suggest a range.

Different types of analytics on your data like SQL queries, big data analytics, full text search, real-time analytics, and machine learning are needed to uncover insights. You can create new business models based on historical data and new financial models based on customer behavior, product categories, market data, risks and opportunities
 USERSAdvertising Professionals Ad agencies Marketing (limited)Digital Marketing Customer Experience Sales (limited)Data scientists, Data developers, and Business analysts (using curated data)
DATA SOURCES & MANAGEMENTData is ingested   from various client and media sources like marketing analytics, CRM, ad-servers, publisher partners and point of sale (POS).
Data is also collected from mobile apps, client’s website, as well as other channels that use native apps.
It is then augmented and enriched with   3rd party vendor data; private data exchanges are established.
First Party Data:
Web Analytics
Advertising Data
Marketing Automation Data
Second Party Data
Third Party DataIntent Data
Marketing Lists
Device data
Data Lake can connect structured and unstructured data available in:
MDM (Master Data Management) systems
Commercial Data
Product Data
Multiple other critical backend IT and Data systems in an enterprise
Line of Business Applications

Summary and Recommendation on DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake


So how should we use this information on DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake and apply it to your business? DMP can take care of most of your needs if you are only focused on marketing segmentation and advertising. There are many mature products in the market that you can buy and start using immediately. If you have use cases broader than that (I hope so), then you must look into CDP and Data Lake. If you are a CDO, CMO or CIO reading this, you must look into CDP and Data Lake. CDP and Data Lake are both required by every organization as both provide solutions to different problems. While Data Lake brings the data from enterprise together and makes is useable immediately, CDP focused on doing the same for the use cases limited to teams focused on the customer side. These are primarily digital and marketing teams.

If you have a functional Data Lake, you should build a CDP (light) as data lakes are not built to solve last-mile use cases. Your digital and marketing experiences will struggle as you will not be able to utilize Data Lake to full potential.  CDP implementation will be lightweight and primarily focus on

  • Append digital and marketing specific data that is not available in Data Lake.
  • Create customer 360 and build segments for activation
  • Connect with last-mile experience and marketing systems to activate the data

If you only have CDP, you should look into building a Data Lake to solve bigger use cases and enable digital transformation in other areas like Sales, Customer Service, finance etc. Data is the blood for a Digital Transformation. 

If you don’t have both, you should start at least with CDP as those can build quickly and you can start hacking growth while you build data lakes that can take years in a large enterprise. As I mentioned above, you will still need a Data Lake. Plan to have that in the long term.

The question of DMP vs CDP vs Data Lake is not right as all these systems come together and help you enable transformation in the digital age that we all call Digital Transformation.

More suggested content from some experts in this space

Some additional content from the post on LinkedIn where I got some good feedback from experts in this field:

Most organizations are looking to add CDP to their MarTech stack as they are getting a data lake stood up, leading to parallel efforts and often times the 3rd party CDP (with speed to market) beating the in-house data lake build initiative. Then it gets to be buyer-beware as all CDPs aren't true and good CDPs. It's all about having laser-focused CDP use cases ready to deliver business value and knowing which vendor to partner with to maximize ROI. - Fauzia Chaudhry (Senior Manager, MarTech, Robert Half)
Today’s customer is on at least 5 or more connected device at any given point in time and with this device hopping the expectation is to have the same intimate moments of delightful and seamless experience on all of the channel of engagement and that is where CDP makes an immense impact, especially with privacy and regulations. - Raphy Mathias (Domain Information Officer, Toyota Financial Services)
CDPs are designed from the ground-up to solve both of these problems using AI to make sense of the data, and automation to active data into individual channels. As channels proliferate and customers move to Digital consumption modes, this combination of activation + automation is a must-have to grow Revenue without adding complexity and cost. - Shashi Upadhyay (EVP, Dun & Bradstreet)

Problem Reframing

Reframe Problems Before Solving

I recently understood the importance of reframing the problem before looking into solutions. It helps in creating simple, effective and economical solution in far shorter time.

Problem Reframing
Image Source: HBR

Here are Seven practices for effective reframing of problem in few minutes that I learnt from HBR article:

  1. Establish legitimacy: It’s difficult to use reframing if you are the only person in the room who understands the matter. Share this article with your team https://hbr.org/2017/01/are-you-solving-the-right-problems
  2. Bring outsiders into the discussion: Someone who works with your team but not part of it. They will think differently and challenge the group’s thinking.
  3. People’s definition in writing: This helps in ensuring everyone have the same view and understanding of the problem.
  4. Ask what’s missing: This ensures the description of problem is accurate and complete.
  5. Consider multiple categories: Invite people to identify specifically what category of problem they think the group is facing.
  6. Analyze positive exceptions: Look to instances when the problem did not Occur, asking, what was different about that situation?
  7. Question the objective: Reframe by paying explicit attention to the objectives of the parties involved first clarifying and then challenging them.

What I learnt on Day 1 of MarTech Conference

Martech Conference at Boston turned out to be one of the best conference I have ever attended. Here is the recap of what I learnt at MarTech Conference in day 1. I think twitter is a very nice global notebook to take notes. This way you are not selfish to keep the good notes from MarTech to only yourself.

Why I am attending Marketing Technology Conference

Marketing Technology Conference  is the first ever event for the practice of Marketing Technologies. I go to many conferences but I never write about them and especially before the conference. Few of my friends have recently inquired me on why I am attending the Marketing Technology Conference and what are the benefits I see by attending Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference).

Marketing Technology Conference
Marketing Technology Conference

The first Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) is very special for me as it is about my passion and it is a conference that I was praying for few years now. So this is my attempt to share with you why I am attending Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) and why you may also like to attend it next time (they are already sold out). After the conference I plan to post another article on what I learnt at Marketing Technology Conference.

Rising Role of Marketing Technologist

Almost 3-4 years ago I came to know the term that describes the role that people like me play in the business world today. This was the time when I was introduced to the role of Chief Marketing Technologist. Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) is the first ever conference that will bring all of us in this practice under one roof for a day.

Here are some of great reads on this role that have helped me understand the role better and also educate others on this role and its importance.

Here are some of the profiles of Chief Marketing Technologists who are already impacting the success of some big companies (collected from from LinkedIn Search and Scott Brinker’s blog)

Few of the above Marketing Technologists, CTOs, CMOs are also speakers at Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference)

Scott Brinker “The Pioneer of Marketing Technology”

I was introduced to Scott Brinker’s blog by my previous manager. It has been almost 3-4 years that I have never missed any update from Scott Brinker. I have always tried to attend as many events where I can go and learn from him. He is the person who put this concept together and really guided the entire industry why there is a need of such role and why it is no more a choice. Scott Brinker may have spent hundreds of hours in putting together the vision, thought leadership and detailed plan on how to make this happen. There is not one other than Scott Brinker who is the ultimate expert in this field. Scott is the chair and the key speaker at Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference).

Why I  am attending Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) 

I have discovered that great people are willing to share their ideas and you can learn only if others are ahead of you. There are many professionals in this space who are definitely ahead of me in this field or atleast they know what I may not know.

Here are the top few reasons why I am attending the Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference)  at Boston.

  • This Marketing Technology Conference is Chaired by Scott Brinker. So obviously this is the best chance to learn from the pioneer in this field.By now you may have already noticed that I am firm follower of Scott Brinker.
  • Connect with peers: Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference)  is the only and the first event in the industry where I can connect with all my peers. A great chance to network, connect, learn, share with them.
  • A great place for personal development in this space.

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers

  • Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) is vendor-agnostic hence no hidden agendas & no sales pitches. The reason I got to conferences is to learn and not to buy. It is good to connect with vendors but the main reason I go there is to learn.
  • Broad Agenda : The agenda very well covers the following main questions that most probably each one of us face today:
    • How do we support new marketing strategies with the right technology strategies?
    • How can technology transform our marketing operations and customer experiences?
    • What management practices do we need to govern this new breed of marketing?
    • How do we develop talent and culture to leverage marketing technology investments?
  • Better understanding the complex world of Marketing Technology: As you may already know that the world of marketing technology is getting complex day by day with new products and more consolidations by big companies. If you are unaware, here is the best illustration of the complexity:Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2014)

    Marketing Technology Landscape
    Marketing Technology Landscape
  • With more in depth understanding of the marketing technology space I will be more equipped to better design my marketing technology stack.
  • Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference) is a great place to share your own challenges with other and help other with the challenges they are facing in this field. A great quote on collaboration

“Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” -Don Tapscott

  • Marketing Technology Conference has a very good line of speakers. Most of them come from different perspectives and can help put together the right & complete picture. Here are some of the speakers on the agenda (Pasted from PR2020 )

1. Scott Brinker (@chiefmartec), Conference Chair & author, chiefmartec.com

2. Mayur Gupta (@inspiremartech), Global Head of Marketing Technology & Operations, Kimberly-Clark

3. Laura McLellan (@lauramclellan), VP Marketing Strategies, Gartner Research

4. David Raab (@draab), Principal, Raab & Associates

5. Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), CEO, PR 20/20, author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint and The Marketing Performance Blueprint

6. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (@kaykas), CMO, BitTorrent

7. Erica Seidel (@erica_seidel), CEO, The Connective Good

8. Jane Hiscock (@janehiscock), Founder & CEO, Farland Group

9. Wes Hunt, Chief Data Officer, Nationwide Insurance

10. Lisa Ritchie, SVP Customer Knowledge and Insights, Scotiabank

11. Travis Wright, CEO, MediaThinkLabs

12. Erik W. Holt (@erikholt), Partner Strategy Leader – Technology/ISV, IBM ExperienceOne

13. Lou Pelosi, Sr. Director LaunchPoint, Marketo

14. Suresh Vittal (@sureshvittal), VP Product Marketing and Strategy, Adobe Marketing Cloud

15. Erik Brynjolfsson (@erikbryn), Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

16. Sheldon Monteiro (@sheldon_tm), CTO, SapientNitro

17. Sheryl Pattek (@sherylpattek), VP & Principal Analyst, CMO and Marketing Leadership Practice at Forrester Research

18. Jason Heller (@JasonHeller), CEO, Agiliti

19. Sean Ellis (@SeanEllis), Founder & CEO, Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.com

20. Christopher Penn (@cspenn), VP of Marketing Technology, SHIFT Communications

21. Shawn Goodin (@shawngoodin), Director of Marketing Technology, The Clorox Company

22. Michael Krigsman (@mkrigsman), Co-Host of “CxO Talk”

23. Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), Chief Marketing Officer Extreme Networks

24. Robert Tas (@TasRobert), Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President, Pegasystems

25. Steve Mann (@stevemann), Chief Marketing Officer, Research Solutions, LexisNexis

26. Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh), Co-Founder and CTO, HubSpot

 Check out Twitter list by PR2020MarTech Speakers

  • Case studies make great collateral for sales. In the role of Marketing Technologist we play a sales role on a daily basis when we have to influence our colleagues, managers and senior leadership. Case studies are a great asset for winning those pitches.

I look forward to Connect with you

See you at the Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference), I look forward to connect with you and learn from you. Please feel free to reach out to me via

My Background

Today I live on the cross roads of marketing & technology. Marketing Technology is a new practice that is become more and more prevalent today in every company. I would like to share my background so that you can  better understand my perspective on attending Marketing Technology Conference (MarTech Conference)

I started my career as a software engineer. Java, Struts, SQL, Hibernate, Spring, etc. were the technologies that I spent my first 7 years of my professional life. Got a great opportunity and moved into a sales and relationship management, it was fun. It was a period of great learning. Really understood what happens in the business world on a daily basis and the challenges of customer relationship management. Since last 5 years my professional journey took me into Marketing teams. I got into Marketing because of my passion to bridge the gap between tech and business.

Today my key focus is on Digital Marketing Strategy and Marketing Technologies but that is not what I have always done. I understand technology, have a passion for sales and I love marketing. On a daily basis I have to connect these dots and that needs a great amount of understanding of all these fields.

Connect with Me

MyBlog, LinkedIn or Twitter

Some other great posts on this subject:

10 Reasons to Attend the Inaugural MarTech Conference (Aug. 19-20)

8 Reasons Why You Should Register Now for MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference