CDP, CRM and DMP: It's all the same, right?

Pia Heßler 6/20/2024

We show you the common interfaces and differences between Customer Data Platforms (CDP), Customer Relationship Managements (CRM) and Data Management Platforms(DMP)

Table of contents
  1. What is a CDP?
  2. What is a CRM?
  3. What is a DMP?
  4. How do CDPs, CRMs, and DMPs differ?

All three programs have one thing in common: The software behind them serve the same purpose. They process and manage customer or patient data. But are Customer Data Platforms, Customer Relationship Managements and Disease Management Programs therefore the same? In this article, you will learn what binds them together and how they differentiate from each other.

What is a CDP?

CDP vs CRM vs DMP.png

Source: element61

The abbreviation CDP stands for Customer Data Platform. CDPs gather customer data from different sources and unify them on one platform. This includes collecting first party data, standardizing and transforming it. CDPs align the individual customer identities in the different systems – such as your CRM and your Marketing Automation Tool – and link them in a single customer profile. Every new action triggers an update of the customer profile in the CDP. Users can use CDPs to trace and analyze their customers' behavior across all media.

With CDPs, you can track interactions and their duration and frequency on all channels. These include, for example:

  • Homepages
  • Online shops
  • Apps
  • Live chats

In addition, with CDPs you can find out all transaction data and demographic data about your customers and their behavior.

Anyone who collects and processes customer-related data must comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). To comply with data protection legal aspects, you can set consent attributes in CDPs. Based on this, your customer data platform automatically forwards data to authorized bodies. You can also delete your data with CDPs, for example, when your customers exercise their right to deletion or legal deadlines require this from you. They identify the corresponding data system-wide.

A CDP is the heart of your marketing. It connects all your marketing platforms and supports your marketing department with campaigns, market analysis and business intelligence without having to involve your IT or sales department.

Common CDP application areas:

  • Customer segmentation
  • Lead scoring
  • Retargeting
  • A/B testing
  • Marketing automation
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Deliverability optimization in email marketing
  • Online review optimization
  • Customer journey optimization

What is a CRM?

CRM vs CDP vs DMP.png

Source: Zoho CRM

The abbreviation CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRMs serve as a common, cross-channel work surface for teams – especially in sales, marketing, e-commerce, partner management and customer service. In CRMs, team members can record, analyze and evaluate interactions between them and other business partners. Interactions can occur via email, phone, social media or personal conversation. Even the smallest information – such as hobbies or birthdays of your conversation partners – can be recorded to improve communication in the long term.

With CRMs, you can gather all kinds of information along with planning and executing actions.

  • Log conversation protocols
  • Plan, carry out and evaluate sales and marketing actions
  • Plan, carry out and evaluate appointments
  • Categorize contacts
  • Record inquiries

The information captured in CRM does not have to exclusively concern leads and customers. CRMs can also be used for procurement and recruiting processes.

A CRM is the digital place of action, where all actions and information come together that should improve your internal and external business relationships.

Common application areas

  • Customer and lead master data management
  • Status tracking in reaching goals
  • Customer journey tracking
  • Service status tracking (returns handling)
  • Onboarding process and candidate management

What is a DMP?

DMP vs CDP vs CRM.png

Source: Federal Joint Committee

The abbreviation DMP stands for Disease Management Programs. DMPs record regular counseling sessions and examinations during doctor's appointments for chronically ill individuals and the provision of background information. DMPs aim to enable a uniform treatment approach, taking account of current research and thus preventing unnecessary complications and hospital stays. Since 2002, DMPs have been offered in Germany by statutory health insurance companies in cooperation with doctors. Participating practices must meet certain requirements and quality criteria. The content of the DMPs are guided by the rules of the Federal Joint Committee.

At present, there are DMPs for the following chronic diseases

  • Diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2
  • Asthma
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Breast cancer
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) with the module chronic heart failure

How do CDPs, CRMs, and DMPs differ?

On closer inspection, CDPs, CRMs and DMPs have more differences than
similarities. We have summarized the details for you:

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)

Definition: A CDP creates an extensive customer database that all your systems can access. This allows you to analyze, track and manage your customer interactions.

Purpose: CDPs are supposed to unify all your marketing-relevant systems. They should also simplify the compliance with GDPR rules and serve as a basis for your customer data activation.

Functions and tasks of CDPs:

  • Collecting customer data
  • Creating customer profiles from the collected data
  • Dividing customer profiles into target groups
  • Creating buyer personas (Customer Journey Tracker)
  • Identifying preferred customers
  • Increasing campaign reach

Benefits of CDPs:

  • You no longer have to worry about data silos
  • Your piles of data are meaningfully summarized
  • CDPs simplify your data-driven projects
  • They offer you a data-based decision basis
  • They function across channels
  • and across devices
  • CDPs simplify GDPR compliance
  • A CDP is the heart of your marketing architecture


Can't make up your mind? Check out our Top 5 CDPs article!


Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)

Definition: A CRM is a digital meeting point where you can manage, process and analyze (customer) data.

Purpose: CRMs are intended to help you improve all your business relationships, regardless of your department.

Functions and tasks of CRMs:

  • Gathering customer data
  • Collecting interaction data
  • Providing a comprehensive customer overview
  • Tracking project status

Benefits of CRMs:

  • CRMs allow for structured data collection and processing
  • You get access to relevant information for all project members
  • They promote cross-team collaboration
  • CRMs provide you with a data-based decision basis
  • They include reporting functions
  • and facilitate goal tracking with sales metrics



Data Management Platforms (DMP)

Definition: A DMP allows chronically ill individuals to have a structured treatment program. Regardless of the facility, patients can be treated by their doctors based on a uniform research standard.

Purpose: DMPs aim to alleviate symptoms and halt the progress of chronic disease, thus improving quality of life.

Functions and tasks of DMPs:

  • Collecting and evaluating patient data
  • Basis for individual therapy plan
  • Documenting medicinal and therapeutic treatment
  • Coordinating educational appointments and control examinations
  • Tracking the status of treatment successes

Benefits of DMPs:

  • DMPs ensure treatment by doctors specialized in the therapy
  • They prevent treatment interruptions
  • DMPs facilitate the search for a doctor



You can find these and other user-rated Customer Data Platforms (CDP),Customer Relationship Managements (CRM) and Data Management Platforms (DMP) at OMR Reviews.

Pia Heßler
Pia Heßler

Pia war mehr als 10 Jahre im Vertrieb und Marketing verschiedenster Unternehmen aktiv. Danach gründete sie ihr eigenes Unternehmen und betreibt dieses zusammen mit ihrer Geschäftspartnerin.

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