5 Considerations When Choosing a DMP

Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are the current must-have for many marketers, and, with good reason, as DMPs enable using customer data to power smarter digital campaigns. But there are hundreds of DMPs in the marketing technology space and choosing the right one is critical to success. We’ve developed five criteria to use in selecting the right DMP for you.

First, not all DMPs are created equal.

Many brands are already taking advantage of DMPs via media partners. We work with many on behalf of our clients. These DMPs leverage cookie data to target users on ad networks and can also use our client’s customer relationship data, or CRM list, to create lookalike audiences to target new prospects that look like current customers. When a client database has enough scale, we can target those actual customers digitally. 

These DMPs leveraged through media partner relationships can be valuable tools but don’t provide the same value as a DMP customized for your businesses. It enables all the capabilities a DMP described above and also allows you to connect and advertise to people across omni-channels from the one singular source. It builds your owned data over time, making future strategies and optimizations smarter. Even so, the capabilities of first-party DMPs vary, and while some platforms may meet the definition of a DMP, they don’t offer the things marketers and digital experts are seeking.

So, what criteria should you consider in selecting a DMP?

Your DMP should also be a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

Oh great, another acronym. But it is an important one! The CDP Institute defines a Customer Data Platform as a as “a marketer-managed system that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” Basically, it is a system that centralizes customer data from all sources, unifies this data into customer profiles and then makes this data available to other systems. DMPs have evolved so that now many include CDP functionality as part of the structure of the platform, and marketers should seek this if they want their DMP to have the most robust and complete capabilities.

Whether your business is global or US-based, your DMP should be GDPR-compliant.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),. In the EU, this greatly impacts how brands can leverage acquired audience data to target and advertise to consumers. GDPR only impacts EU citizens for now, but it is already inspiring data privacy laws in the U.S. This past June, the California Legislature passed their own data privacy regulation that gives citizens the right to understand what data is being collected about them, how it is being used and the ability to opt-out to avoid their data being shared or sold. Be ready for potential regulatory changes by choosing a GDPR-compliant DMP today.

Your DMP should be able to communicate with external systems.

The value of a DMP is its ability to leverage your customer data across all your digital marketing and advertising efforts - from 1:1 email communication to display, video, mobile, search, social, direct mail, and more. We have found some DMPs that only work across one or two of the touchpoints mentioned above. This means that your company could invest in a tool that only supports 25% to 50% of your business. That’s not acceptable when holistic solutions are available. Further, a less capable DMP handicaps you by requiring manual labor to manually export CRM and DMP data from the platform to impact the touch points not supported in the platform.

Choose a DMP provider whose model values partnership.

In our research, we’ve found many DMPs who see their platform as software-as-a-service (SaaS) only, meaning the client carries the full burden of implementation, whether they build their own marketing technology department or outsource it to their agency or another third-party project management team.

Those can be workable but sub-optimal solutions. We believe it’s important your DMP provider should have a client service team invested in making sure that you get every benefit of the platform. 

Invest in a DMP with relevant experience.

A DMP provider with experience in several industries, including your own, means they have likely experienced challenges and determined solutions to problems your business faces every day. Your business can leverage and learn from that experience when you choose the right partner, reducing implementation time and improving efficacy.

In conclusion, the right DMP partnership will allow you to use your customer data like never before, creating more holistic and ever-growing profiles of your customers (via CDP capabilities). The right partnership will power your marketing and digital campaigns across most touch points, not just a handful. Finally, the right partnership is with a DMP provider vested in making the DMP work hard to drive your business results. Choosing the right DMP means you and your agency can focus on creating work that works, rather than managing several different technology partners to accomplish what can and should be provided by the right DMP partner.