November 15, 2018

The Evolving Role of the DMP in the Digital Marketing Technology Ecosystem

Steve Chitwood

Steve Chitwood
General Manager, Digital Consulting - Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Transformation/Mindtree

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The Data Management Platform (DMP) is not a new player in the digital marketing space. Media buyers and agencies have relied on the DMP for building customer profiles from online activity, performing segmentation analytics, and exposing segments for targeted online advertising buys in the media buying ecosystem for years. With the trends toward personalization, and specifically person-based marketing across all channels the role of the DMP is growing. The enterprise digital marketer is increasingly focused on building comprehensive customer data assets to enable individualized omni-channel marketing and the DMP can play an important role in the technology and data stack.

Fundamentally, a DMP ingests disparate data, normalizes the data, and provides segmentation functionality. For the digital marketer, the DMP data warehouse houses online activity behavior, marketing campaign data, purchase data, 3rd party enrichment data, 1st party transactional data, and so on. Core functionality to match data from multiple sources into ever expanding user profiles as well as advanced analytics for segmentation building provides marketers with the necessary bridge between the marketing technology ecosystem (CRM, Marketing automation, ecommerce, CMS, etc) with the advertising technology ecosystem (Data Exchange, DSP, SSP, Publishers, etc.). Leading DMPs include both stand-alone products as well as combined functionality in products with adjacent features – leaders include Adobe Audience Manager, Oracle BlueKai, Krux, Lotame, Neustar and others.


Primary use cases for the advertiser


Most DMPs enter the enterprise to address a couple key use cases primarily around enabling targeted media buying. By exposing behavioral segments into buying platforms derived from analyzing profiles of online users, marketers can target specific audiences with greater precision and better return on ad spend (ROAS).

More sophisticated DMP users can leverage the tool and its tracking and analytics capabilities to optimize ad spend further. Attribution modeling and cross-channel performance tracking have yielded significant savings for advertisers who, without the comprehensive visibility the DMP can provide, are chronic overspenders.

The ROI of the DMP in the buying and optimization of online media is well documented. I have yet to hear of a marketer moving away from a DMP. It is a key tool in the media buying toolbox and, most likely, if your enterprise buys digital advertising at any significant scale, the tool is already in the ecosystem – though it might be hidden away with the media team or even an external agency. It’s time your customer experience strategy takes advantage of this powerful asset.


Evolving Use Cases


The role of the DMP in the enterprise is evolving. Two important uses beyond the core media activation role of the DMP will accelerate enterprise capability in two key areas:

1. Marketers are [rightly] focused on improving the customer experience across marketing channels. Leveraging the DMP – and specifically, the real-time access to segmentation triggers for both known and anonymous users -- to enable personalization on websites, emails, mobile aps and customer service interfaces enables the 1:1 experiences that yield higher conversions, larger baskets, and deeper loyalty.

2. As CMOs, CDOs and CIOs are driving initiatives to create deeper understandings of customers in order to inform a variety of enterprise activity (product development, customer service, marketing, research and analytics), the inherent ability of the DMP to ingest disparate data, both structured and unstructured, perform identity matching across devices and interactions and enrichment of existing datasets with behavioral attributes accelerates initiatives focused on building internal customer and prospect data assets.


Surprise and opportunity


I have been surprised at the number of at-scale organizations that already have a DMP in the ecosystem who have yet to leverage the tool to power at least website personalization. This is the quintessential low-hanging fruit. Similarly, many of the DMP conversations seem to initially ignore all but the initial media-focused use cases. Leverage this powerful tool and the rich customer behavioral data and effective user segments for a significant quick-win in providing tailored customer experiences to your users. From there the path will emerge and you will be on your way to insight-driven person-based marketing across every touchpoint.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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