Case Study: Adobe Realtime CDP

A pros and cons look at Adobe Realtime CDP as well as a customer case

Steve Jackson
Written by: Steve Jackson

Steve, an Analytics practitioner since 2002 works as a fractional CAO, digital analyst and marketer. He has written 3 books, Cult of Analytics, The Sucking Manifesto and Asking Why. Today he's heavily focused on customer data platforms (CDPs) and how to get the most out of them for his clients.

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Date Published: 2023-02-28

There are many CDPs on the market. Indeed at the end of this article you can download a white paper outlining how 56 of them stack up against each other and this case study including another 5 systems. However this study focuses on the Adobe CDP system, a tool I've not worked with personally, but have seen demoed (and was very impressed with).

One of the unique selling points of Adobe Realtime CDP is that it is part of the Adobe Experience Platform, a comprehensive platform for managing customer experiences across various channels and devices. This means that Adobe Realtime CDP is well-integrated with other Adobe solutions such as Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target, providing businesses with a seamless and unified experience for managing and optimising their customer data.

In addition to its integration with other Adobe solutions, the CDP itself is in this authors opinion best in the group of 6 for features. It has everything from AI modelling tools to rule based triggering of emails and dynamic assets. However that means complexity and a lot of commitment.


  • Integration with other Adobe solutions: As mentioned earlier, Adobe Realtime CDP is part of the Adobe Experience Platform. This can be a major advantage for businesses that are already using these tools or that are looking for a comprehensive platform for managing customer experiences.
  • Real-time data processing: Adobe Realtime CDP is designed for real-time data processing, allowing assets to be pushed to different segments of users as they interact with the app/website.
  • Dynamic content generation: Adobe is one of the only companies that truly can can generate ready-to-deliver content using templates that select different items (text, images, offers, etc.) for different individuals based real-time data. So from designing the graphic to sending the email.
  • Best fit for: Adobe Realtime CDP is probably the best fit for companies that use Adobe products to develop creative and manage marketing and want a “one stop shop” from their platform as a whole rather than the CDP as a point solution.


  • Subscription-based pricing: Adobe Realtime CDP is priced on a subscription basis, which means that businesses will need to pay a recurring fee in order to use it. Minimum 6 figures per year.
  • Limited free package: Adobe Realtime CDP does not offer a free package or a free trial, which means that businesses will need to commit to a POC subscription in order to try it out. This can be a disadvantage for businesses that are considering a number of different CDPs and want to be able to test them before making a decision.
  • Worst fit for: Adobe is a solution designed to be a one stop shop for the entire customer journey managing assets and deliverables throughout that journey with their own tools. IE Email/App push messaging is direct from Adobe to the user experience. If you use other tools in your arsenal for things which Adobe already has a solution you may be wasting resources.
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Adobe CDP is a powerful platform is designed to help businesses create personalised customer experiences at scale, by consolidating data from multiple sources in real-time.

With Real-time CDP, companies can gain a holistic view of their customers across all touch points, allowing them to deliver personalised content and marketing campaigns that drive engagement and revenue.

Everything from designing a graphic in Photoshop to personalisation of those graphics, to the generation of campaigns at huge scale is what adobe CDP is geared up to handle.

Steve rightly points out our system won't work for everyone, you get out what goes in, but once it works we become a single source of truth for the business. Check out the Best Western case below. There are many more like it.

Kalle Heinonen - Senior Solutions Consultant - Adobe
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Case Western Digital

The Western Digital Challenge

The Internet has radically changed the way companies do business. It’s no longer sufficient to sell products solely through retailers, resellers and service providers. Today, many consumers and businesses prefer to buy direct from the manufacturer.

This direct-to-market model introduces enormous opportunities, but also formidable challenges. Ensuring that potential buyers receive the best possible experience and view only the most relevant content is remarkably difficult. Yet, it’s critical for maximising sales and boosting brand affinity.

Western Digital, a leading producer of hard drives, solid state drives, USB storage devices and cloud services, recognised how profoundly things were changing a few years back. With hundreds of products available under the SanDisk and Western Digital brands, “We required a single source of truth in order to use analytics to maximum advantage across the company,” states Tim Furlow, Senior Manager, Optimisation Analytics at Western Digital.

In the past, the company presented the same web pages and product recommendations to everyone. There simply wasn’t a way to measure results or adapt pages and messages to fit the customer journey. This made marketing and sales more difficult—it was impossible to run A/B tests and measure results, for example—but it also made it more challenging for customers to view things that mattered to them.

The data storage giant, which has a long history of innovation, embarked on an initiative to modernise its content and data framework to build a more powerful marketing and sales platform. The goal was to create a true 360-degree view of customers which allows teams at Western Digital to make data driven decisions. The unified platform would accommodate targeting, segmentation, content, and campaign automation and allow Western Digital to personalise content in real-time.

In 2016, Western Digital began a transition to a more modern, agile and flexible data architecture that would support next-generation marketing and commerce. Previously, data resided mostly in silos. “Understanding the customer experience used to be a huge challenge,” Furlow says.

Western Digital began integrating data within Adobe Experience Cloud, including Experience Manager and Marketo Engage. “We wanted to centralise logic so we could have reliable insights across departments, teams and groups,” Furlow explains.

Yet, the journey continues. Western Digital is now implementing Adobe’s Real-time Customer Data Platform. This will deliver additional benefits, including deeper supply chain analytics and improved campaign and engagement velocity across both B2B and B2C segments. Says Furlow: “We have a mindset to keep improving and continue optimising data. As business needs evolve it’s critical to adapt. We now have the technology and data analytics foundation to support the business.”

Personalisation powered by Adobe

Using machine learning and AI, Western Digital delivers website recommendations based on the specific buyer and what’s in a person’s shopping cart. For example, if someone is purchasing a portable SSD drive, a protective case might appear as an option. Says Furlow: “We’re displaying products that benefit customers while driving revenues for the business. It’s a win for everyone.”

With Adobe technologies at its core, Western Digital has put in place a framework to align with changing business conditions quickly and seamlessly. Creative teams produce new content within a couple of weeks rather than over a span of months. In addition, a new site visitor is greeted with a simple and uncluttered experience. As Western Digital learns what the person is interested in through machine learning and AI, it adapts and personalises the site dynamically.


Western saw a dramatic improvement by utilising the platform.

  • 100% The company has increased e-commerce transaction growth by 100% using machine learning and AI.
  • 15% Western has has witnessed a 15% spike in cross-sell/upsell purchases.
  • 1500% Western Digital increased velocity from an average of 1.46 tests a month to 22 tests a month.
  • 1 Source A single source for data and content now exists and it’s available across all channels in the company
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These kinds of result speak for themselves and means that yes while there is a significant expense in using the tools, the Adobe experience platform pays itself back very quickly. If you need to evaluate whether Adobe is right for you I am happy to help.

I hope you got some value from learning about the case study, as I said at the beginning of the article, you may download my white paper for free that has lots more information about CDPs by filling in the form below.

Steve Jackson - Author
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