Seven questions to ask yourself when considering implementing a Data Management Platform (DMP) | DMA

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Seven questions to ask yourself when considering implementing a Data Management Platform (DMP)


In a fast moving, online and on-demand world, it is ever more important that brands can offer existing and potential customers what they want. By capturing, storing and integrating data well, brands can harness valuable consumer data to improve the relevance of their marketing messages by customisation and personalisation, increase conversions, understand the changing consumer behaviour across different channels and devices and target new audience segments.

So does this mean that all marketers should invest in a data management platform, (DMP)? Not necessarily, it really depends on your brand and how you use data. According to a 2016 Econsultancy study, 68% of marketers believe DMPs are “key to the future of programmatic marketing,” so it is understandable that many believe that employing one is absolutely essential, and for some brands, this will definitely be true. It might not be for everyone though. Before rushing out and purchasing one, you must firstly review how your data is currently being stored and used. It is important to put in place a strategy to ensure that the correct data is captured, organised and used effectively and efficiently. Once this is done, you can decide on the best technology for your brand. If a DMP is the solution for you, then it is important that you purchase the right DMP for your brand and if you already have a DMP, then it is essential to ensure that you are using it to its full potential to fulfil your brand’s goals.

What is DMP?

DMP is simply a marketing tool that collects comprehensive demographic, psychographic, and behavioural data about your target audience from a multitude of sources and puts it into a single unifying platform. At it’s most basic, it collects and aggregates first-party (from your own digital properties), second party (bought from a partner) and third-party (demographics or interaction from behaviour on sites you don’t own) user data from multiple digital marketing channels. Using a combination of data you’ve gathered on your own property plus third-party behavioural data, the DMP allows you to define narrowly targeted audiences that fit your criteria. When well organised, these narrow segments can be paired with targeted messaging and help you communicate with audiences in more meaningful ways.

Benefits of a DMP

  • Manage online advertising campaigns, connecting with other ad-tech platforms (e.g. ad networks, demand-side platforms, ad exchanges, and supply-side platforms, etc).
  • Increase conversion rates, improve the user experience on websites or apps, and increase brand recognition.
  • Lower advertising costs and improve campaign ROI across display, mobile, video, and social.
  • Personalise messages and content shown to customers and potential customers through advertising, remarketing, and other brand interactions (e.g. on the brand’s website and email newsletters) to increase engagement.
  • Learn more about your existing users and customers to help shape product offers and services.
  • Connect offline data with online data to create a Single Customer View (SCV).

1. Does my brand need a DMP?

Companies do things differently. Some save their customer information in spreadsheets and others use programmes such as Adobe, IBM, the Cloud. Some keep the data in different places. Whilst there are obvious benefits to having all of your data in one place, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Whether a DMP is a necessity or not varies from company to company. The key to answering this question lies in the amount and type of data that your organisation holds. Broadly speaking, an organisation that has large volumes of customer relationship manager (CRM) data is likely to require a standalone DMP. Take, for example, two British brands - British Airways gathers a large amount of CRM data, which provides insights into their customers' past purchase behaviour and informs how to influence future purchase decisions. A DMP would be helpful in processing this data, in order to segment customer audiences for targeted advertising. However, when you look at a brand such as Cadbury that uses digital channels mainly for branding campaigns, the case for a standalone DMP could be less of an imperative—assuming there will be little to no CRM-type data. Generally speaking, the use of data warehousing and the management capabilities of a DMP are more likely to be appropriate if using CRM and customer purchase history data, which adds significant value to your marketing campaigns.

2. What kind of data do I need to collect and analyse?

Whether you opt for DMP or not, it is essential that you are collecting the correct data. There is no point in having a copious amount of information that is useless or outdated in your system. Planning is vital here. What, as a brand, are you trying to achieve? What do you need to know in order to target your audience more efficiently? Examples of data you may want to consider are CRM customer data, website behavioural data, media campaign delivery, performance data and mobile and app behavioural data. Your DMP or data storage system has to be easy to use and informative. This means that a clear out is necessary in order to ensure that you can segment the data accurately and quickly.

3. How should I capture, manage and organise data?

Spend time working on a data strategy. Identify your data capture methodologies. There are different technologies and techniques to capture, digest and standardise data from different sources and channels. For example, for mobile and web data, you’ll use tags. If you just want to link visitors to your website to media impressions, then cookies will suffice. However, if you want to link these same visitors to existing customers in your CRM database, then you will likely need to consider an anonymous identifier to the tag (so that the user remains anonymous). You will need to make sure that you have data naming conventions, standardisation at the source, data filter/cleansing, data storage, data management through to reporting and automated optimisations. Once everything is setup correctly, there are some really interesting results from plugging the data into programmatic buying points, paid social and paid search.

4. How do I plug all this data into third party technologies to execute a successful marketing campaign?

However, you capture and store your data, your system will need to work with other third party technologies to execute a successful marketing campaign. It’s only when a DMP is linked to another platform which specifically targets your segmented audiences (e.g. a demand-side platform (DSP), an ad exchange, a supply-side platform (SSP), or even a content personalisation engine, that it starts showing its true potential. In this way, each time a new ad space is available for purchase the DSP can make decisions based on data in the DMP to allow the advertiser to only purchase and bid on ad space that matches their set criteria. This means that your DMP will need to be flexible enough to be compatible with other third party technologies now and in the future so as not to run into costly problems later. DATA PRIVACY AND USE

5. How do I use data to monitor how my marketing campaigns are performing?

Reporting and accountability are important in any marketing campaign. Not only does the right data enable you to target the right audiences, it can also measure your impact on them and therefore the success of your campaign. It is, therefore, important that you use your data effectively to monitor your campaign and tweak your marketing strategy or optimise your media buy and advertising creative as the campaign progresses to ensure you are targeting your customer base effectively. The right DMP will let you see how your resulting campaigns are performing in real time.

6. Do I have the right capabilities in-house to manage my data?

Data is complicated, but if the right steps are taken at the beginning to define your data and marketing strategies, then it need not be overly cumbersome for in-house marketing teams with the right help. Digital marketing experts can assist in devising and implementing these strategies. After doing a full audit of your existing data, they can advise on a data strategy for your brand and how to translate that to a successful online digital marketing campaign working closely with your in-house teams.

7. How can I ensure my data is secure?

Make sure you work with technology providers who have a history of safeguarding the security and privacy of your customer data. It’s the most valuable data you have and has taken a lot of time and investment to gather. However, in order to get the most out of that data, you will need to share it at some point in order to combine and enhance it with other data sources. Getting over this data anxiety is critical if you want to make the most out of your first party data. Therefore, whether you use DMP or any other platform, it is essential that you trust the technologies and the providers.

Strong, reliable audience data is like gold dust for marketers. Therefore, it is imperative that you have a data strategy in place to ensure the correct data is captured, organised and used in a meaningful way to inform your marketing and digital advertising strategies and to subsequently measure the success of those strategies. The key here is to make your data work – astonishingly 87% of marketers still consider data their organisation’s most underused asset (Teradata 2015 Global Data-Drive Marketing Survey). The type of technology you need will depend on your data and your brand goals. DMPs are clearly a valuable asset, but they may not necessarily be for you.

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