DMP Myths Demystified

The top five DMP myths demystified explores misconceptions commonly associated with the role of a Data Management Platform (DMP).

My list of top five DMP myths has been compiled based on experience gained over four and half years working in this space formerly with Oracle DMP, and now with Salesforce DMP. As such, I wanted to write this article for those of you exploring this space in the hope it will help demystify common myths associated to a DMP.

Myth 1: The Primary Role Of A DMP Is To Optimise Programmatic Advertising

For companies starting-out on their DMP journey for the first time, a popular use case is to optimise programmatic advertising by activating audience data from the DMP to a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) or Supply-Side Platform (SSP).

Proving DMP Value In a Siloed Channel

With the right DMP solution in place, a company can continue to extend audience data activation across other digital channels beyond that of just programmatic advertising alone. In this scenario, we would consider the company to be advancing in terms of their digital maturity and DMP use case adoption as they continue to maximise the value from their DMP investment.

As a rule, the right guidance and strategic alignment is needed in order to deliver the desired business outcomes. Otherwise, companies risk falling into a virtuous test and learn cycle trapped in a single DMP activation channel like that of programmatic advertising. Subsequently, they will continue to perceive programmatic advertising as being the primary role of a DMP. This means they may fail to derive true value from their DMP investment in the long-term.

A DMP Should Be Considered A Long-Term Investment

A DMP can provide the greatest value when it is thought of and planned for as a long-term investment opportunity. When combined with the right approach to strategy, people, data, technology and tactics, it can help make a significant contribution towards:

  • Delivering a seamless cross-channel customer experience
  • Maximising business growth
  • Disrupting the competition

Some key questions to think about:

  • Are you on track to deliver against your company’s annual goals?
  • How do audience targeting KPI’s currently align to these goals?
  • How many different ways can a customer connect with your business?
  • Which of these channels drive the greatest engagement rates?
  • Where do you see the greatest audience drop-off?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are their favourite channels of engagement?

The Value Of DMP Beyond Programmatic Advertising

Looking beyond programmatic advertising, those companies who deploy a DMP to engage audiences across all digital channels are able to focus on delivering a better customer experience and maximising the lifetime value (LTV) of their target audiences in the process.

Another reason this wins the number one spot in my top five DMP myths is do with the past experience a business user has had with either a single channel DMP, cross-channel DMP solution, or possibly both. This will influence how they perceive the value of a DMP beyond Programmatic advertising. Together with multiple vendor stories and different approaches to the roles these platforms play, it all adds to the misconception that the primary role of a DMP is to optimise programmatic advertising.

Single Channel Vs. Cross-Channel DMP’s

Single channel DMP’s typically comprise of hybrid DMP/DSP solution offerings. As a result, many of them have a primary role to optimise programmatic advertising across different devices.

Cross-channel DMP’s on the other hand, can generally activate/optimise audience data across a multitude of digital channels and devices. This can include:

  • Programmatic media
  • Search
  • Social
  • Site optimisation/personalisation
  • CRM
  • Business intelligence (BI) applications for data modelling insights

Companies are using cross-channel DMP’s to improve the audience experience across the entire customer journey. This approach involves strategic alignment with different teams in the business, which includes Advertising, Customer Service, Communications, Commerce and Support. The length of time it takes for a company to undergo this kind of digital transformation is highly dependent on many factors, including:

  • The size the company
  • Current stage of digital maturity
  • Buy-in to drive change from top-down and bottom-up in the company

Myth 2: All DMP’s Are Alike

All DMP’s are alike is the second in the list of top five DMP myths demystified.

Take a look at the DMP section of the Marketing Technology (Martech) Landscape Supergraphic (2018). Of six thousand plus Martech vendors saturating the digital space, there are at least forty-company logos with a DMP classification. The reality is that there are just a handful of DMP’s with comprehensive cross-channel, analytics, data governance, and activation capabilities.

Fundamental Differences

While DMP vendors may share similar stories, there are often fundamental differences from one vendor to the next. This can be in terms of technology infrastructure, approach to advisory, local vs. global resource availability, or vision. This is why it is the second most important DMP myth.

If you want to learn more about this particular point, check out my ‘Top Five Tips To Evaluating A DMP For Your Business’.

Myth 3: B2B Companies Will Not Benefit From A DMP

B2B companies will not benefit from a DMP is the third in the list of top five DMP myths demystified. In principle, if a B2B company meets the following criteria then a DMP can potentially be of benefit:

  • Has a comprehensive communications and CRM engagement strategy
  • Invests in digital audience traffic to web, mobile and native apps
  • Actively engages customers and prospects through these channels

Finding the Right DMP Solution Provider

The key here is to find the right DMP solution provider who will help to:

  • Successfully navigate the data space for your business
  • Establish the right approach to data management and activation
  • Align DMP activities to achieving the desired business outcomes

Desired business outcomes for example could relate to:

  • Future-proofing the organisation
  • Driving operational efficiencies
  • Improving profitability
  • Increasing market share
  • All of the above

With the right resources and support, a DMP can potentially be of benefit in helping to achieve these business goals.

Myth 4: CDP Is The New DMP

CDP (Customer Data Platform) is the new DMP is the fourth in the list of top five DMP myths demystified. Before we explore how CDP’s came about, let’s look at my interpretation of the landscape back in 2004, where I wrote a post titled ‘The Evolution From DSPs to AEPs.’

This was my initial take at the time on an acronym for a new kind of technology, which was on the cusp of evolving. During this time, Adtech platforms began to pivot and augment their solution offerings. Therefore this was the beginning of fuzzy blending of the Adtech and Martech worlds.

A selection of platforms soon began to pivot:

  • Tag management platforms
  • Email platforms
  • Ad servers
  • Ad networks

There were different reasons for this such as:

  • The need to remain relevant in an environment of constant change
  • Service augmentation to differentiate against vendor saturation
  • New entrants coming to market daily
  • The need to engage audiences more effectively through use of data

The Emergence of DMP’s

DMP’s also started to emerge. Solutions such as Bluekai, Demdex and Krux first started off as standalone platforms. They continued to evolve over time and eventually got acquired:

  • Bluekai acquired by Oracle (Oracle DMP)
  • Demdex acquired by Adobe (Adobe Audience Manager)
  • Krux acquired by Salesforce (Salesforce DMP)

The Customer Data Platform (CDP) on the other hand has emerged as a relatively new entrant in the data space. Some CDP solutions have pivoted, whilst others are pure-play platforms purpose-built from the ground-up.

The Strength of CDP’s

CDP’s are focused on linking first-party sources of audience data using a persistent customer ID. This is then used to help engage with known customers more effectively.

Platform Capability, Vision and Vendor Activation

CDP’s are generally hybrid solutions. They often encompass email marketing capabilities and sometimes more. They also have the potential to activate data to select programmatic vendors. There are often huge variances from one platform to the next from a capability, data unification, vision and activation perspective. It may also be possible to activate first-party anonymised data from a DMP back to a CDP.

Trust: GDPR Consent Framework

Being a huge advocate for transparency in the use of data, I was pleased to see on joining that Salesforce have a dedicated GDPR consent framework built-into their DMP solution. This means companies using a CDP in conjunction with Salesforce DMP can easily enforce Data Governance because of this.

This is since any data source ingested or activated by the DMP is governed by the GDPR framework, for instance. It helps capture and pass the correct consent settings in the right way between platforms. Therefore this gets the fourth slot in top DMP myths because CDP’s are complimentary to a DMP. They can help to consolidate and streamline the flow of first-party data unified into a DMP.

Myth 5: Short-Term Pilot Tests Are A Good Way To Assess The Value Of A DMP

This is the fifth and final myth from the top 5 DMP myths demystified. As such, we are nearing the end of my post.

As highlighted in response to myth one, a DMP should be considered a long-term investment, since a strategic approach to playing the long game with a cross-channel DMP will NET far greater returns for your business. This can be achieved by planning how it can support business goals over the next 12, 24 and 36 months, and phasing in the necessary stages in order to achieve these objectives.

Timeline Of Typical DMP Deployment

Usually, a typical DMP technical deployment can be completed in two to three months. That aside, additional time should be accounted for in order to allow topics such as those below, to be properly addressed, agreed upon and then actioned:

  • Strategy vs. tactics required to achieve desired outcomes
  • Resourcing
  • Enablement

Thanks for taking to the time to read the top 5 DMP Myths Demystified. If you would like to explore any of the topics in greater detail, feel free to reach out.