So you’ve decided you need a DMP. Congratulations on making a really smart decision – to put data and customers at the center of your strategy and programs! Now the key challenge is to choose the right platform for your business. You have a number of choices in DMPs – each with its own unique sets of strengths and features. As with all platform decisions, making the right choice will have a big effect on the amount of value you ultimately derive from a DMP.
Because a DMP is a complex piece of technology, it can feel daunting for a marketer to thoughtfully evaluate alternatives. That’s why we’ve created these posts – to help strategic marketing generalists understand some key things they should look for as they weigh their alternatives. In essence, to help you have the right questions so you get the answers you need.
The discussion questions in this document fall into five broad categories, each one of the core capabilities for a robust DMP. Each capability area contains just two questions to help you focus on the most important discussions with your potential partner:
COLLECT: Data collection and ingestion
ORGANIZE: Data management and profile development
ANALYZE: Ability to examine, transform and export insights and audiences
ACTION: How the platform integrates with your preferred set of partners and platforms
SERVICE: Critical component of any enterprise technology offering
The balance of these posts will review the questions and the rationale for each.
Can the platform collect or ingest ALL of the first party data types you wish to unite, including mobile app, mobile web, PC web, website interactions, estore activity and purchases, and email CRM interactions?
Your DMP is supposed to be the source of record for all of your data and customer intelligence. That means it needs to be able to collect or ingest all key first party data sets, including mobile app, mobile web, pc web, CRM interactions, site analytics, estore data and any other key data sets you might have. Most DMPs find mobile app data very hard to collect, process and associate with anonymized customer profiles. And given that mobile apps represent more than half of connected customer time, that’s a big issue.
Can the DMP work with all of the data collection partners you currently use, including your web analytics solution, ad server, email solution provider, estore platform, and mobile app attribution platform?
Your data platform should conform to you and your brand, not the other way around. Make sure that your DMP can ingest data from all of your preferred partners, so you keep implementation as simple as is practicable.
How does the offering unify and standardize all of the disparate datasets into anonymized profiles? What partner are they leveraging for device matching, and how accurate is the matching?
Perhaps the most critical task of a DMP is creating 360 profiles that encompass data from all sources. It’s important to ask questions about how each vendor does that. There are two big things to consider here – their adherence to digital privacy principles and practices, and the methodology with which they connect cookie data to other types of data. It probably makes sense to involve a tech expert in this part of the evaluation. There are a variety of companies in the business of device mapping today, and they vary with regard to the scale of matches they can provide, coupled with the accuracy of those matches. Ask about both. Make sure you are satisfied with the quality of their answers. And if you already have a partner of choice in this area, ask if they will work with them.
Can it offer additional contextual or 3rd party data as an enhancement to the first-party data that you bring to the platform?
First party data can help you understand customers and predict their needs better than any other type of data, but it can also be very beneficial to enhance your customer profiles with third party data including demographics, lifestyle and life stage, psychographics, and more. A good DMP will have preexisting relationships with leading third party data companies to make the process of enhancing your profiles in this manner easier.