According to the new eMarketer report, “Data Management Platforms (DMPs): Using Big Data to Power Marketing Performance”, DMPs enable marketers to make use of their Big Data, providing deeper insights for more efficient and smarter marketing decisions. Still, although brands are able to get a more and more holistic picture of their potential and real customers, many find it challenging to extract cross-channel insight from that data.
The American publisher and Internet company Ziff Davis revealed that 49% of companies polled worldwide had enacted a data management strategy as of fall 2012. And according to a survey from IT staffing service Robert Half Technology, just 23% of US chief information officers (CIOs) said they were collecting customer data such as demographic information or buying habits. Of that small percentage, less than half (46%) reported having the resources or systems to analyze the information they gathered.
DMPs actually emerged just a few years ago to serve the needs of marketers that collected more and more data, from even more sources, than ever before. Of course, in order to realize the full value of that information, they required a technology-driven solution to make sense of the enormous amount of data.
Some value DMPs as an advanced, automated approach to integrating data for use in ad targeting, others more as a tool for managing media efficiencies, but the majority embraces them as the epitome of a “Big Data” solution for multichannel advertising, marketing, media and audience activation.
Considering that ‘Big Data” can refer to first-party customer information, third-party audience data, offline purchase data, online advertising behavioral data, campaign analytics and much more, the integration of disparate sets of data coming from social media, campaign analytics, offline sources or third parties can indeed be challenging.
However, if data is digital marketing’s currency, then the DMP is its bank. Big Data is stored and standardized here so that each data asset can be tied to a particular customer or audience segment. Once standardized, marketers can use that information to power multiple functions, both within digital and across a company’s broader marketing program.
DMPs can house both structured data, typically quantitative in nature, as well as unstructured data, often qualitative in nature—for example, social network data. Once all of these disparate sources are entered, DMPs can standardize them to build a larger, more descriptive picture of a customer or audience base that marketers can act on.
The DMP’s ability to take all of that Big Data from first-, second- and third-party sources and then organize it into meaningful audience segments makes it an ideal tool for audience targeting.
This function—particularly for first- and third-party data—was also the top-reported competency of DMPs by US marketing professionals in a September 2012 surveyed by Winterberry Group.
Other than their role in organizing data on customers, DMPs are also a prime tool for campaign measurement, both within digital and across platforms.
According to the strategic consulting firm Winterberry Group interest in DMP technology and process solutions is to no surprise surging: revealing further in their whitepaper “The Data Management Platform: Foundation for Right-Time Customer Engagement” that:
- 92% said their organization’s (or clients’) interest in DMPs has increased over the past year ;
- 77% said DMPs will play either a “critical” or “major supporting” role in expanding the performance of long-term advertising and marketing efforts; and
- 62% said their company has already implemented a DMP, or has plans to do so within the next 12 months.
As the Winterberry Group summarizes it to the point: “DMP has emerged as a technology-centered solution for aggregating, integrating, managing and deploying disparate sources of information—informing the creation of new, actionable customer insights that may be used to improve performance across the enterprise” adding that “DMP is a hub for maximizing the value of critical customer data assets that would otherwise go underutilized”.