Is it time to re-evaluate the DMP? Key questions to ask DMP vendors

To succeed with marketing, you need to reach your customers and prospects with relevant messages and measure your performance. One tool in the marketing stack that promised to help with this is the data management platform (DMP). But are they fulfilling the promise?

The promise and reality of DMPs

The promise: DMPs use first and third-party sources to unify your data, giving one comprehensive view of the customer.

When DMPs came on the scene, many people thought they'd solve all of our data challenges. The promise was that you’d be able to analyze and understand clients, prospects and visitors in a more real-time environment. The DMP was supposed to organize data in a way that promoted effective activation, prospecting and measurement. It was supposed to make relevant, personalized marketing more feasible.

Today, the role of DMPs is in question because they aren't delivering on those expectations.

The reality: DMPs do use first and third-party sources to unify segments, but the accuracy, recency and reach of a comprehensive,360 degree view of your customer is up for debate.

DMPs can take your ideal customer and create lookalike models based on third-party data. But you’re not able to accurately identify real people on their devices. And you’re not dealing with real-time data so even if you get the right people, you may have missed the ideal window to market to them. Even though you’re working with data, it’s still an educated guess.

It may sound dire, but the truth is very few brands have solved their marketing challenges by implementing a DMP.

Is it time to re-evaluate the DMP?

DMPs are complicated. They're expensive. They require significant time to implement. And they can’t do things that every modern team needs, like managing prospects or activating audiences in offline channels.

If you’re struggling to get the right performance out of your DMP – or are hesitant to sign that contract in the first place – it may be time to ask your current or prospective vendor some hard questions.

To help you get to the heart of the DMP issue, we’ve assembled a list of key questions. Pose these questions to your vendor and take note of whether their answers truly help you drive the business performance you’re looking for.

key questions to ask your dmp vendor

  • Does your platform contain any personally identifiable information (PII)?
  • How does your platform match real people across devices and channels, and how do you ensure it’s accurate?
  • What percentage of real people can you still identify after 6 months? 12 months? 18 months?
  • If site visitors aren’t logged in to my website, what percentage can you identify?
  • How many device IDs and cookies do you have connected to each person?
  • What information – demographics, transactions, online actions – do you have about each real person?
  • How quickly can your platform identify and activate in-market prospects? In real-time, within days or weeks?
  • What unique or exclusive data is available?
  • Are all inbound and outbound marketing interactions collected and linked back to an individual (e.g., display, direct mail, email, call center, POS, service center)?
  • Can I build my own data models, scoring and machine learning directly into your platform?
  • Does your platform require additional modules or vendors to execute end-to-end marketing programs (e.g., data onboarder, attribution vendor, decision engine)?
  • Can I activate audiences both online and offline?
  • Can you assign control groups globally, by campaign or by channel?
  • Does your platform contain a native attribution engine?
  • Are marketing activities and conversions tied back to real people?

Get a printable version of these questions.

Next steps

If your DMP vendor’s answers don’t satisfy you — or you identified gaps between platform expectations and reality — it may be time to consider other options.

First, get very clear on your needs, expectations and goals. What do you need your technology to do? What challenges do you need to solve? Identify exactly where the DMP — or other tools — were successful and where they fell short.

Then, look at your options. Maybe you need another tool to work alongside your DMP. Or, perhaps you need to change gears entirely toward emerging technology options, like customer and prospect relationship management (CPRM) platforms, that were built from the ground up to satisfy today’s real-time data and performance needs.

We can help

Finally, find a partner who is just as invested in your goals as you are.

If you need support in reviewing your DMP vendor's answers or want to talk through other options to help you meet your marketing objectives, send us a note.