In a business environment where marketers must provide greater value to the organisation, while avoiding drowning under a data deluge, it makes sense that more marketers are unlocking the power of data management platforms (DMPs).

A DMP allows a marketer, or anybody else, to have a central repository of all of the organisation’s data, and to make it more useable, manageable, practical and flexible.

Early DMPs were utilised by those buying media (and still are). They were used to make sure the right message, was put in front of the right person, the right number of times. It was considered an advertising tool, but now the DMP is capable of so much more.

Some of our customers, such as McDonald’s and The Warehouse Group, use a DMP to truly understand their audience and how they behave. They draw in data from all of their available sources — their website, app, social channels, CRM, etc. — to find out what their customers are interested in as individuals, and when.

McDonald’s and The Warehouse Group use a DMP to truly understand their audience and how they behave.”

They know whether specific individuals like certain types of email content, or prefer to receive correspondence on a specific device, at a particular time, plus so much more. By doing this they develop a deep understanding of who their audience is and how they behave.

Of course, this then offers a predictive capability. It means a business is able to serve to its customers the right content, at the most opportune time and via the perfect channel.

Even better is the fact that the business can now identify behaviours that made up their customers’ activities before they converted to the brand. This opens up entirely new markets for the business, at the same time that it personalises experiences for current customers.

Customer personalisation is no longer optional

Our State of the Connected Customer report contains a series of fascinating insights, including that 53% of customers expect personalisation from the brands they interact with and that 62% of customers expect brands to anticipate their needs.

53% of customers expect personalisation from the brands they interact with.”

Customers want relevant, personalised experiences and feel that all companies should be capable of this. Benchmarks for customers are set by their very best experiences.

And it’s not just about big business doing it well. We often hear people complaining about their telco or their bank because those organisations didn’t live up to the standards set by the small, online business from which they buy their shoes.

The value of data centralisation

As companies begin to work with a DMP they tend to go through a digital transformation of sorts. They become more mature. They focus on developing a single customer view. They begin to understand that advertising is just one component that is interrelated with every other customer touchpoint.

All of these touchpoints are considered part of ‘marketing’, and, brought together, they form a single, true understanding of customer behaviour.

So it’s surprising when our State of Marketing report reveals that only 55% of marketers outside advertising use a DMP. Although, encouraging, another 35% say they plan to use one in the next two years.

Only 55% of marketers outside advertising use a DMP.”

Why only 55%? I think it’s because of the traditional organisational structure. Companies that are not digital-first see a platform that has been brought in by the media/advertising team and perceive it as a media efficiency tool. Because of the way their teams are structured and siloed, they struggle to understand its true value.

However, for brands going through a digital transformation, who are truly customer-centric, it’s a different story. They recognise a DMP as an amazing tool that can take the entire organisation forward in terms of customer experience.

The brands that are experiencing real DMP success are the ones that are socialising it back into the business. They constantly report back to the business, saying that because of this technology, here is what our people are doing differently. Here are the outcomes. The organisation sees and understands its value, not just to the media team.

The future of the DMP

What does the future hold for the DMP? AI will be increasingly utilised, perhaps to suggest new audience segments to build or target. It will add a level of expertise and insight.

Some say their CRM system already captures all customer data, so why add a DMP, but a CRM system only contains data from customers that have interacted with your business. A DMP takes all of that data and lots more, and combines it with data from elsewhere, from other departments and other databases, providing a more significant and powerful data set that can be sliced so many different ways.

As AI is set to work on this significant data set, leading marketers will develop a previously unimaginable level of understanding of their customers, and their potential markets.

Find out more about the strategic priorities, challenges and technologies that are transforming the marketing profession, and gain insight into the practices of high-performing marketers.

Download the latest State of Marketing Report