Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platforms put Salesforce as top leader – 2024

Feb 22, 2024

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When it comes to enterprise customer experience functions, a persistent challenge surfaces across marketing, sales, service, support, and beyond — the formidable customer data challenge. The Gartner Magic Quadrant, well-recognised by all business leaders, states the need for strategic attention to data today. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are poised to wield a potent solution: the integration of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs).

This is the first edition of the Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platforms, a guide by Gartner. It’s a new version that replaces the old Market Guide for Customer Data Platforms.

What is a Customer Data Platform – Gartner’s Definition

Put in simple terms, Gartner defines CDPs as special software that:

  • Helps with marketing and making customers happy by bringing together all the information a company has about its customers from different places.
  • Makes sure messages and offers are sent at the right time and to the right people.
  • Helps understand how each customer behaves over time.

For all business leaders, CDPs are crucial because they gather and organise customer data in one place. Even though CDPs were first made for marketing, now other teams like IT and customer support are becoming interested.

Innovative leaders in digital marketing have used different systems to run campaigns on lots of channels. But these systems make it hard to control data and coordinate across different tools. CDPs fix this by collecting and organising customer data in one central place that marketers can easily access.

It’s important to know that a CDP doesn’t replace a company’s main data system. Instead, it ensures that important customer data is available for quick interactions. CDPs need to do 3 main things well:

  1. collect data,
  2. organise customer profiles, and
  3. activate segments.

To be appealing to business leaders, CDPs should also manage data models, protect privacy, offer analytic reports, and smoothly connect with other tools.

For marketers, they should make it easy to create and manage customer groups, use simple rules for segmenting, and give support for analysing data to make better decisions.

For all business leaders, the extra features like personalisation, managing customer preferences, using data science tools, grouping accounts, and connecting with different customer engagement tools make CDPs even more valuable. These platforms not only help in marketing, but also in following rules like GDPR and CCPA.

In a nutshell, choosing a Customer Data Platform isn’t just about technology – it’s a smart move for business leaders who want to improve how they connect with customers, manage data well, and boost their profits.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platform identifies Salesforce Data Cloud as leader, 2024.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Customer Data Platform – The Analysis

What Gartner has to say about Salesforce’s CDP, i.e. Data Cloud specifically:

“Salesforce is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant. Its Salesforce Data Cloud, a hyperscale data platform built on Hyperforce and integrated into the Salesforce platform, activates data across (and beyond) the Salesforce ecosystem. Its operations are geographically diversified, and its clients include B2B and B2C organisations. Enhancements include zero-copy data access with lakes and warehouses (e.g., Snowflake) and features to control and segregate data for profile unification, insights and other logical separations of business units and functions. Plans include GenAI for segmentation, prediction and activation, and data graphs to visualize data model objects to ensure users have the right data available for engagement and activation.


  • Multi-cloud Salesforce customer capabilities: Salesforce Data Cloud enables flexible interconnection among other Salesforce solutions like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud to analyse and activate customer data in the Salesforce ecosystem. This addresses longstanding data management inefficiencies that may have required additional software or costly custom data transformation.
  • Commitment to ecosystem innovation: Salesforce’s clear plan to innovate its CDP and incorporate new technology is evident in its enhancements, like zero-copy data integration between Data Cloud and other platforms, and bring-your-own-model for predictive and generative AI extensibility with Einstein for engagement and activation.
  • Strong partner network **: Salesforce’s partner network’s global reach and ability to cater to clients of various sizes, geographies and industries offer rich service options. These include independent software vendor (ISV) partners to build solutions to enhance Data Cloud on the AppExchange, systems integrator (SI) partners to aid implementation and reseller partners. ** Note that CloudAnalysts is one of the few consultancies who are certified and experienced with data cloud implementation today.


  • Uneven integration approach: Salesforce aims to improve leveraging customer profiles across its applications or cloud-based data warehouses, with minimal investment in prebuilt connectors with other martech and data tools. But buyers with few or no Salesforce tools or with use cases requiring access to other applications may need a paid solution from its AppExchange or MuleSoft iPaaS.
  • Expertise requirement:** Data Cloud is positioned as a self-service CDP, offering a freemium option. But, it’s a CDP within Salesforce’s complex ecosystem. Buyers who aren’t already Salesforce clients or who lack data talent may not benefit as much from Data Cloud as compared to customers using Salesforce products.
  • Confusing cost of ownership:*** Salesforce’s product strategy transformation from a marketing-focused CDP into the multifunctional Data Cloud makes estimating total cost of ownership difficult. It offers a profile-based pricing model or a consumption-based “credits” model with multipliers for workloads. The latter approach suits enterprise-wide operations, but not business processes in marketing and other functions.”

** To help you be successful with Salesforce CDP you must engage experienced, certified Data Cloud consultants who also have a deep understanding of marketing and marketing cloud. This is why CloudAnalysts is a sought-after consultancy in the Salesforce market place today, as we are positioned exactly at this intersection.

***Furthermore, you can easily waste a lot of money on data cloud with a DIY or inexperienced lower-cost consultants, or you can work with us and avoid this.

Besides initial data cloud implementations,

we also offer ongoing managed services and

can train your internal Data Cloud Product Owner

to ensure your ongoing success.

Interested to learn more?

We would be very happy to help you.

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