Mastercard Acquires SessionM CDP

Financial services company Mastercard has agreed to buy longtime CDP vendor SessionM. To quote from the press release:

The addition of SessionM will enhance Mastercard’s ability to help brands around the world deliver personalized, real-time offers and comprehensive campaign measurement based on robust, data-driven insights.

Earlier, Oracle also acquired Loyalty Solution Provider CrowdTwist.

Is Loyalty the New Differentiator for CDPs?

Loyalty Management — along with capabilities such as campaigns, reward points, offers, coupons and discounts — is emerging as a major use case for CDP platforms. Several CDPs are now beginning to offer some capabilities in this area.  In fact, in our most recent update, we have added this as a separate scenario and will be evaluating vendors against these capabilities.

Just when you thought the scope of CDP couldn't get wider...well it's still broadening.

But What about Separations of Concerns?

While implementing MarTech capabilities, a valid architectural concern arises: should engagement capabilities such as Loyalty Management, Analytics, Campaigns, and Personalization become part of the same product that also handles core data management? Combining services in a single platform can simplify your stack in the nearterm. But you should also consider the strong case for keeping only data management within CDP.

Of course, there is no universally right answer. But if you are evaluating vendors, do consider the trade-offs between an omnibus platform and multiple specialized products.

It will also be interesting to see what happens to SessionM now that Mastercard has agreed to acquire it. Will it get inextricably bundled with other Mastercard data and marketing services or remain an independent CDP offering available separately to customers at large? Perhaps more significantly, will Mastercard recast it completely as a Loyalty play (RSG subscribers know this is a traditional strength of the SessionM platform), or keep sustaining other CDP use cases in the platform.

Fortunately, the CDP marketplace remains large and diverse, giving you several dozen other vendors to consider.


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