No one could have imagined 2020 and its impact on the economy, education, and the state of martech. After a year like this, it’s difficult to predict anything with strong certainty. Still, I’d like to share my educated insights based on the current marketing and customer experience trends we are seeing across the industries and with the clients we work with every day. During a CMSWire webinar earlier this year—Data Enhancement and the Evolution of Marketing Data Platforms—I made a few predictions regarding the state of martech and major shifts in one of the largest industries—consumer packaged goods (CPG). As we move into 2021 with high hopes for the New Year, I wanted to revisit and reflect on these predictions. #1. Marketers will trade current campaign tools for CDPs. At the moment, marketers must continue to execute campaigns with whatever tools they have to get the job done. But as CDPs evolve and develop the capabilities for easy drag-and-drop campaign execution and journey orchestration, we will see marketers trade their current tools in favor of CDPs instead. I expect this sort of CDP adoption to grow over the next one to two years. In the short term, brands can leverage their CDP and the high-value audiences it creates to improve current campaigns. At Treasure Data, we believe that campaigns and journey orchestration will be more connected than ever in the future and our CDP continues to evolve to reflect that. #2. CDPs will replace DMPs for programmatic and social advertising. With the reality of a cookie-less world looming in the not-so-distant future of 2022, brands need to define their data strategy NOW. The phase out of third-party cookies will affect media and publishing across all industries, but one industry in particular has noticed a glaring data gap in its current relationship (or lack thereof) with consumers. For the CPG industry, the pandemic has accelerated the need to move to a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model. Brands are also recognizing the need to lean into their first-party data as a core strategy to mitigate the demise of the third-party cookie. And they are also seeing a need to create partnerships for identity graphs and third-party data to enhance their first-party addressable universe. I am currently helping clients leverage their partnerships and introducing them to partners that can enable their use cases in our CDP. One of the key use cases of DMP for media was the availability to create audiences in a DMP ecosystem. Now a brand can use their first-party data to create seeds and leverage third-party data directly from providers like Acxiom, Epsilon, Experian to name a few, and bring that into a CDP for segmentation and activation. #3. CDPs will integrate identity and data enhancement; third-party connectors will build high-value audiences. As you can see, the progression of the predictions are predicated on subsequent factors. During my time at Acxiom and LiveRamp, we often focused on identity and data enhancement use cases. Once we enable a CDP and create a single, unified customer view across an entire enterprise (including all channels and applications), the value added through partnerships that create high-value audiences or deterministic identity graphs becomes even more clear as the customer experience is further improved. We now integrate with partners to enable specific use cases for our customers and prospects. #4. Accelerated by COVID, CPG will move to DTC. This prediction has become a reality faster than expected. The direct-to-consumer trend across CPG is no longer in an education phase. Many consumer goods companies have embraced DTC as a way to leverage their first-party data and build a direct relationship with their consumers. It’s clear that a CDP is foundational to the success of CPG companies moving to a DTC model. The customer data platform connects consumer behavior across e-commerce sites and brand websites and enables conversion of unknown site visitors to known consumers brands can engage. Better Customer Experiences in the New Year. As this year wraps up, I want to encourage everyone to keep fighting for the customer and the experience they deserve. While martech and adtech continue to evolve through innovation and regulation, it is up to brands to make their products and experience exceptional—technology is just a tool to create the key use cases that add value for the consumer and the brand. I will be sharing new predictions at the start of 2021 so stay tuned, and always feel free to reach out and share your story, opinion, or use cases. I am happy to share my point of view with you.