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Coexistence: SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud (SMC)

8 min read

Table of Contents


SAP Customer Experience Solutions allow SAP customers to offer their own customers the best possible service throughout the entire engagement going from quick and simple registration process using SAP Customer Data Cloud to the ability to run marketing campaigns using SAP Marketing Cloud or managing leads & contacts using SAP Sales/Services Clouds. Without an integrated environment, you cannot even think about having smart functions like these, let alone implement them. This article describes the design patterns to consider when implementing SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Customer Data Cloud in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) scenarios.

Before we go into specific functionality and design considerations, it is important to understand the role of each product. The below section gives a high-level overview of each product and how they typically interact with each other.

SAP Customer Data Cloud

SAP Customer Data Cloud is used to govern the creation of user accounts on your web/app forms and allows for login authentication to access your digital properties while enabling compliant consent capture and re-consent processes on all forms. Smart user preferences forms can be easily created in order to give full control to the end-user over their data. Intelligent integration flows can be easily created using Identity Sync, Webhooks, and REST APIs. SAP Customer Data Cloud is composed of these main pillars:

In case you want to learn more about the three pillars of SAP Customer Data Cloud, you can find introductory videos on SAP Customer Experience Enablement Portal.

SAP Marketing Cloud

SAP Marketing Cloud enables marketers to address their consumers and customers holistically, consistently, and highly personalized across all channels. Segmentation and campaign management allows targeting in real-time, enabling high volume multi-wave campaign execution across channels. The solution comprises six main business scenarios:

  • Dynamic Customer Profiling
  • Campaign and Journey Orchestration

  • Commerce Marketing
  • Lead- and Account-Based Marketing

  • Marketing Planning and Performance
  • Marketing Analytics

Should you be new to SAP Marketing Cloud and want to get a solution overview, please check out the Quick Guide video series on the SAP Customer Experience Enablement Portal. 

Business Value of integrating SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud

What are the main business benefits of integrating SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud?

Facilitate Legal Compliance

The integration of SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Customer Data Cloud can help in operating marketing processes in compliance with data protection legislation (like the European General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR). Of course, this does not mean that you cannot operate compliant Marketing processes in SAP Marketing Cloud without an integration to SAP Customer Data Cloud. The standalone SAP Marketing Cloud solution has strong capabilities of collecting and processing marketing permissions and subscriptions, including the campaign execution. However, data protection legislation often does not only regulate the usage of personal data within a system (for example in marketing for sending campaigns), but in a broader context of "data processing". This data processing also includes the operations of data collection and data transmission, for which the purpose of processing must be clearly stated.

In other words, before importing personal data into a marketing system (like SAP Marketing Cloud), you need to be able to acquire the consent of contacts that their data can be collected and/or transferred for this purpose. Now you see where the integration of a consent management system (like SAP Customer Data Cloud) is essential. It serves as a gatekeeper and only transfers contact data to connected systems (like Marketing) if the contact has granted consent for data processing. 

To learn more about the general concept of Permission Marketing and the importance of collecting consent for data storage and processing, please read the article "Introduction to Permission Marketing".

Authentication and Self-Service Profile

SAP Customer Data Cloud provides login authentication functionality on forms which (as of now) is not available with SAP Marketing Cloud Landing Pages (Release 2005).

Coexistence of SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud

SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud are flexible, but also highly configurable solutions. Therefore, it is key to thoroughly plan, design, and test all involved integration flows as it may affect the successful synchronization of contacts and permission data between the two solutions.

Based on our experience, we have identified the following areas which require special focus:

  1. Clear definition which criteria SAP Customer Data Cloud accounts must meet in order to be imported as SAP Marketing Cloud Contacts.
  2. Consistent ID Origin configuration between the two solutions. This is especially important if you have a solution setup involving multiple SAP Customer Data Cloud SSO Groups integrating into one SAP Marketing Cloud environment.
  3. Ensure data validity and consistent format (for example for phone numbers) of data being imported from SAP Customer Data Cloud to SAP Marketing Cloud. 
  4. Understand when to use "code list mapping" and "free text mapping" for integrating data attributes into SAP Marketing Cloud.

  5. Understand how to integrate contacts collected via social login, including the social provider IDs.

We will elaborate more on all of these aspects in this article series:

Further considerations

You may have encountered, or you may encounter, further challenges with the integration between SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud. The below table shows further considerations which we will address in a future version of the document. If you would like to raise any other concerns, please leave a comment!

Error Issue Current solution/alternative
Preference out of sync, because relevant actions in SAP Marketing Cloud are not replicated to SAP Customer Data Cloud
  • Easy opt-out link actions are not replicated to SAP Customer Data Cloud.
  • SMS opt-outs are not replicated
  • Manual changes of permissions in SAP Marketing Cloud factsheet are not replicated to SAP Customer Data Cloud
Include a link to the client preference center page where SAP Customer Data Cloud screen-sets are displayed
  • Creation, subscribe/unsubscribe from SAP Marketing Cloud landing pages not synched
  • Progressive profiling from SAP Marketing Cloud landing pages not synched
Avoid using SAP Marketing Cloud landing pages and leverage SAP Customer Data Cloud screen-sets
  • Hard bounces are overwritten when SAP Customer Data Cloud sends full record again
Use email verification in SAP Customer Data Cloud in order to avoid invalid email addresses


SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud can be configured in many ways and it is key to understand the impact the configuration of one Cloud has on the other Cloud in order to integrate the two Clouds successfully. We hope this document will help your implementation and we are looking forward to hearing from you with regards to your experience and any further topics we should cover in this article.

Continuing reading more on this topic by accessing the below articles within this series: