It’s fascinating and intriguing to see how fast the digital world is evolving and how quickly we are changing directions and unraveling new opportunities to solve consumer needs and gaps. While Big Data has been the old new kid on the block for a while and understandably critical for certain types of organizations more so than the other, the need to solve for “smaller” data is equally or perhaps even more critical.
One of these “small data” problems is what I call “DATA FRAGMENTATION”, arguable the biggest show stopper in preventing brands from delivering an Omni Channel Consumer Experience or even get anywhere close to it – something I shared in my last blog post Data Convergence – The Marketing Glue for the Omni Channel Reality. Simply put, “data” is the FUEL or the WIRING that connects and stitches the consumer journey, it is the only piece of the puzzle that allows brands and marketers to pick up the engagement from where they had left with the consumer especially as she hops with a defined pattern across multiple channels and touch points. I have shared at length about how FRAGMENTATION across data, marketing technology and organizational structures is one of marketing’s biggest challenges; The New Marketing in an Era of Convergence and The Omni Channel Paradox.
Data Harmonization & Convergence – Enter the DMPs
The sudden and positive proliferation and awareness of Data Management Platforms presents a big opportunity for us to address the “data fragmentation” issue, finally we may have an ability to harmonize the consumer data from across the ecosystem and break the traditional data silos. Brands for the first time can have a “UNIVERSAL CONSUMER PROFILE” that is truly “360” whether you want to use that term or not. If implemented with the right strategy, you will finally converge your data across:
- Online & Offline Consumer Data – A huge focus area especially for multi-channel retail players
- 1st Party, 2nd Party & 3rd Party Data Sources – A huge priority for CPG and Manufacturers who for the most part don’t have visibility into the last mile especially what goes on in the offline world
- Behaviors Across Online Search, Social & Shopping – Imperative for anyone trying to drive participation through immersive seamless experiences.
The Sudden DMP Explosion – Everything is a DMP Now?
Every rose has its thorns. With growth and power come confusion and responsibility. While we are just beginning to understand and rationalize the power and opportunity these data management platforms DMPs bring to the table, there is already enough confusion around the different “flavors” of DMPs and how is one different from the other. There is also a simultaneous tendency within the vendor landscape where every marketing technology or media or analytics and insights platform is pitching themselves as a Data Management Platform adding to the confusion.
Here is a high level overview of just a few flavors:
1. General Data Management Platform DMP – It is a “data management platform” J, nothing more and nothing less with a caveat that it is focused on managing consumer data ideally across all the fragmented and isolated data sources. It provides a data storage with potential segmentation, insight and reporting capabilities and a potential service layer to drive data integration with internal and external systems. It’s a glorified CRM database and may even include like a Decisioning engine, API layer to syndicate data out to other systems and touch points and of course Reporting, Insights & Analytics
2. Media or Trading Desk DMP – Primarily originated from within the broader media ecosystem primarily as a result of the “programmatic” evolution – real time bidding (RTBs), media and portfolio optimization, behavioral targeting. These DMPs are tightly coupled with a DSP, which means that it can only be leveraged as a DMP in combination with the DSP, which is a typical Trading Desk model, and not as a stand-alone capability. Some of the leading DSP/DMPs will also provide predictive and attribution modeling, cross channel attribution capabilities especially within the world of Paid Media.
3. An Ideal Channel Agnostic DMP – An ideal DMP would be an independent layer that is agnostic of any channel or touch point in terms of collecting and connecting data, harmonizing it from across all channels, across paid owned and earned, across 1st party, 2nd party and 3rd party; and of course includes the usual components of a DMP – the Decisioning engine, reporting, analytics and insights, predictive and attribution modeling. BUT most importantly it should be able to communicate the “decisions and recommendations” around the right content, the right creative, the right OLA/OLV based on who the consumer is regardless of channel or touch point. It uses external data services like datalogix, liveramp or others to connect offline and online data, to connect 1st part and 3rd party data through cookie matching; ultimately creating a true UNIVERSAL PROFILE & IDENTIFY of your consumer base. The true DMP works as a backbone to make the omni-channel vision a reality by allowing brands to deliver the right content to the right consumer at the right time within her journey.
There are a number of key principles that you may want to think through as you define your DMP strategy, it will need a focused and detailed blog for itself but at a high level definitely think through:
- Assess your consumer data landscape – all data sources from 1st part, 2nd party to 3rd party
- Tagging Strategy – from across channels
- Right KPIs & Measurement Strategy – ultimately this is only useful once you figure out how to best utilize the data and don’t end up being in an analysis paralysis situation
- Personzliation and Testing Models – Using agile methodology
- Content strategy that will feed off all consumer insights – how does the data influence your content. The goal – show the right content to the right consumer at the right time and context
Whether it is Oracle’s acquisition of Bluekai or now Nielsons’s acquisition of Exelate, this space will continue to disrupt and grow and in many ways put the ball back in the marketer’s court because the data can provide all the insight and hypothesis, ultimately it still requires a holistic “Content Strategy” to deliver immersive seamless consumer experiences that will drive and change consumer behaviors.