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SAP Customer Experience LIVE 2020: SAP Launches its CDP

October 26, 2020

The SAP Customer Experience LIVE event took place from October 14, 2020 to October 15, 2020, which was a digital experience where SAP customers, partners, and industry leaders shared best practices on how to deliver a connected customer experience. In addition, there were also sessions that focused on SAP product innovations and roadmaps. Below is a quote from Joanna Milliken--a theme I took away from more than just the SAP Marketing Cloud session.

“In order for marketers to deliver a seamless experience, they need a seamless experience themselves. Marketers want to spend less time configuring, and more time strategizing and differentiating.” - Joanna Milliken, Head of SAP Marketing Cloud

The quality bar for personalization that consumers expect keeps getting higher and higher, as well as the expectation around transparency and privacy when it comes to how brands use customer data. The importance of true one-to-one personalization is apparent now more than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the shopping habits of consumers, and brands need to better understand how to tailor their messaging and marketing content to provide a unified, holistic customer experience across digital channels.

Notable highlights of the event

Two highlights from SAP's customer experience LIVE:
  1. SAP announced its customer data platform (CDP): SAP may be late to the customer data platform (CDP) party, but SAP’s CDP is more generalized than other enterprise CDPs, as opposed to the ones built specifically for marketers. SAP’s CDP handles data not only from marketing and advertising sources but also from customer service and offline operations applications, like inventory systems.
  2. Introduction to Emarsys, announcement of acquisition: This move will result in more effective multichannel messaging and cross-channel personalization. Emarsys will enable SAP customer experience solutions to link commerce signals with the back office and activate the customer’s preferred channel for engagement.

SAP announces CDP to build customer loyalty

During the keynote presentation, SAP announced the launch of its CDP, which will be available in November 2020. SAP entering the CDP market isn’t much of a surprise as CDPs continue to steadily proliferate the martech market, and we predicted back in 2019 that the CDP industry will grow by 45% in 2020.

The CDP Institute releases a semiannual industry report, and back in July 2019, the report stated that $317 million was raised in new capital by CDP vendors and 19 new vendors entered the market in the first half of 2019. In 2019, we witnessed enterprise companies like Salesforce, Adobe, and Oracle announce their own CDP offerings, as well multiple strategic mergers and acquisitions take place, including Informatica acquiring AllSight and Dun & Bradstreet acquiring Lattice Engines.

The SAP Customer Data Platform is engineered to tackle four key opportunities to increase brand reach and effectiveness: connecting every data source in the organization, respecting customer data with a holistic data privacy strategy, understanding large volumes of data, and hyper personalizing engagements based on a comprehensive view of the customer. The SAP Customer Data Platform is built on the foundation of SAP Customer Data Cloud solutions, which are based on Gigya technology.

The customer data platform from SAP

Source: SAP Customer Experience LIVE session

In 2020, we’ve also seen the announcement of Salesforce acquiring Evergage to enhance their CDP offering, as well as the recent announcement of Twilio entering into a definitive agreement to acquire CDP platform Segment. In the July 2020 industry report from the CDP Institute, it was announced that despite the pandemic-related strains, vendors and buyers reported continued interest in CDPs, and the CDP Institute estimates the industry revenue will reach $1.3 billion in 2020, a 30% increase over 2019. Additionally, the report highlighted how new companies continue to offer CDPs and are clustered into two groups—large established companies that offer campaign and delivery CDPs and are mostly based in the U.S., and small, young companies offering a mix of all CDP types.

The CDP Institute estimates the industry revenue will reach $1.3 billion in 2020, a 30% increase over 2019

Source: CDP Institute Industry Update

SAP to acquire Emarsys to reinforce customer experience business

In October 2020, SAP announced its intention to acquire Emarsys, an omnichannel customer engagement platform. During the SAP CX LIVE session ‘Product Vision for SAP Marketing Cloud & A Short Introduction to Emarsys,’ Omer Sharon, Chief Product Officer at Emarsys discussed some differentiators that Emarsys brings to the market.

A key differentiator highlighted was the strong one-to-one personalization capabilities that Emarsys has, which are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and are channel agnostic—meaning, marketers can configure personalization use cases from different technologies. There are a number of obstacles when trying to achieve true one-to-one personalization, which CDPs help businesses overcome, including disparate, disconnected data systems and a lack of martech integrations. Without robust marketing integrations within a company’s CDP, it is difficult to deliver seamless customer experiences across channels.

Accelerating time to value was also highlighted alongside generating use cases quickly by moving customers from first to second purchase. Finally, the ability to provide measurable outcomes, like attributing how many conversions of first to second purchases occurred because of a specific marketing action was discussed. Measuring the success of ongoing campaigns helps refine and improve future campaigns, including decisions about channel, spend, and creative. With the use of CDPs, marketers can understand who a customer is, regardless of channel, and it enables attribution to assign a value to any factor that may influence the success of a sale.

With the upcoming acquisition of Emarsys, SAP will be able to utilize the omnichannel marketing solution designed to deliver messages to customers wherever they are, including email, mobile, social, SMS, and the web. Austria-based Emarsys was founded back in 2000 and now has 13 offices across the globe. SAP expects the deal to close in its fiscal fourth quarter in 2020, until then Emarsys will continue to operate independently.

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