Profile Data Alone Does Not a DMP Make

Patti RennerLast week we discussed what a data management platform (DMP) solution is, and why you might need one. Since then, a few questions have come up, so I wanted to take a minute to clarify things, specifically the difference between a DMP versus a data environment that stores information as individual profiles. Let’s take a look at why a DMP is much more than just a “profile based data environment.”
This diagram from a definitive report on the topic, “The DMP Is The Audience Intelligence Engine For Interactive Marketers,” (source: Forrester Research, Inc., July 2011) outlines the components of a DMP and how it works.

A DMP Sits Between a Marketer’s Disparate Data Sets and Its Live Marketing Channels

For marketers, when you have a DMP solution in place, details of clicks and preferences in an email could automatically inform display rules on your website or what display media image you’ll serve to customers while they’re out on the web. All this data (analytics, display, search, email, CRM and purchase history, etc.) is pulled together to make it easy to fuel analytics and message management to improve future results. An example in action is when the person does buy, that purchase history will feed the system so a different item is promoted in display ads and email content. Having a higher degree of consistency with a cross-channel integrated approach can make a serious impact on marketing ROI. (See a case study on this approach here.)

At the heart of a DMP is its data intake ability. It’s important not to confuse a solution that features a “profile-based data environment” with a functioning DMP – they’re not always the same. Just having a profile-based data environment does not a DMP make. For example, your email provider may offer profile-based data storage, but they may not be able to update those profiles with website activity, search history, purchase history, etc.

While some marketers already are actively using profile-based data solutions for various marketing functions, most remain unable to bring it all together so they can take action with it. They have data in separate platforms stored in profiles, but those sub-profiles are unable to merge together as one so the data is available for segmentation, analytics, etc. For instance, a major brand may already be using a customer database, plus a segmentation engine, plus a web analytics provider, plus an email-delivery platform. The problem is that they can’t pull together data from across profile-based platforms into a single universal profile environment – one that can drive actionable analytics and inform messaging across other digital channels.

Without seamless integration of multiple data sources, you don’t have a real solution. Some may argue your “solutions” are leading to serious problems moving forward. Now, if you take a “not me” stance and argue that your system is doing a great job, take a look at the chart above. This is the direction of data management moving forward. Even if a system does collect data from a couple of sources, how easy is it to use when you have to segment and send across channels? Can you even drive analytical results if those “not-quite-real-time” insights take days to pull together? Speed and ease matter.

Technology companies are working feverishly to catch up with this approach. Here at Knotice, we’ve had a unified data environment for years to support messaging and analytics, so much of this is already available right out of the box.

In a future post, we’ll look at the depth of information a fully developed profile might contain within a Universal Profile Management system.

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  1. […] who engages with your brand (both people you know as well as those anonymous), needs to be a key part of a data management platform (DMP) solution. That’s because once those data points from across channels are seamlessly integrated into one […]

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