The recent Krux acquisition by Salesforce marks the latest consolidation in a crowded marketing technology landscape. As companies continue to try to build end-to-end marketing tech stacks that bring data together from across media channels and from every corner of the business, they have the opportunity to go from merely identifying potential consumers to turning them into loyal customers.
Data Management Platforms (DMPs) can play a central role in this shift. Instead of just serving as an information warehouse, the DMP of the future can become a learning platform that drives marketing and business decisions. Doing this requires a change in mindset and capabilities: from “Data Management Platform” to “Data Activation Platform,” a complete media activation engine that unifies three primary marketing inputs – Audience, Attribution and Ad data – to optimize marketing channels and outcomes.
The robust DAP of the future will be characterized by the following:
Moving from identity to action in real-time.
Right now, there’s too much data inefficiency and time lag between seeing relevant data and activating it. Post-campaign analysis can yield insights that might have improved campaign performance, but you often don’t see the information until it’s too late – or the analysis sits in a different system from where your campaigns are actually running, making it far from seamless to implement insights. To eliminate waste and improve ROI, the DAP needs to do the heavy lifting of integration and interoperability across planning, activation, measurement and analytics platforms.
Cross-channel, dynamic optimization.
The typical use-case for a DMP is a one-way push from the DMP to partners. A DAP use-case would be dynamic and cyclical. In one direction, you still would have audience data pushed out to partners. Completing the cycle in the other direction, critical attribution—or action—data would return back to the DAP to inform effectiveness, automate optimization and lift performance.
This can in turn be dynamically analyzed to incorporate other inbound data streams (like site data, purchase data, creative results and other third-party data) to inform attribution and improve audience segmentation – insights that can be used across the organization.
From ad targeting to business decisioning
Today’s DMP is used primarily for first-party data storage to inform ad targeting and delivery. The future DAP becomes an active “brain” driving marketing performance. Think of a DAP as a marketing hub that unifies and enables data, workflow and analytics to ensure marketing decisions are made correctly and swiftly.
The DAP represents the convergence of ad technology with marketing technology. Properly executed, a single DAP strategy will apply to both paid and owned activation channels.
The promise of a DAP is evident. Here are some key steps to help brands make the shift from a Data Management Platform mindset to a Data Activation Platform approach to marketing:
Choose a DMP. It’s impossible to be DAP-enabled without getting your data ready for syndication and targeting. Focus on addressable marketing channels first (e.g., digital, TV, email, etc.), then move to future data-driven opportunities.
Pick an Identity Management Provider. In order to properly target and measure, you must be able to recognize the same consumer across multiple devices. Combine deterministic and probabilistic methodologies to maximize scale and accuracy. The key is to reliably bridge Device ID and Cookie ID to enable multiple use cases – online and offline.
Centralize Your Data Providers. Onboard and manage all first- and third-party data providers in a single DMP. Here is where audience modeling should take place to engage likely customer prospects. This is far less effective without first getting your Identity Management framework complete.
Select an Attribution Provider of Record. Now that you can identify and target audiences, let’s make sure you can properly attribute success by platform, screen or format. Your attribution provider of record can be your ad server, site analytics tool or specialized measurement partner, but the key is to standardize methodology and primary KPI to compare performance across channels.
Customize your DAP. Make sure your technology partners (DMP, DSP, Ad Server, Attribution Provider) embrace interoperability and can “talk” to your DAP; do an audit of partners and assess their API capabilities that enable read/write communication. Here’s where you unify audience, activation and attribution, no matter how your ecosystem of partners change (which they will). If you don’t have in-house expertise or have not yet centralized your data, consider a programmatic or marketing technology consultant to help design the right DAP for your organization.
As consumer behavior becomes more complex, and access to audiences evolve, enterprises must embrace technology to gain control, transparency and accountability of their marketing investment. Following these key steps will put you on the path to having a DAP that activates all available data for optimal results.