Data Management Platforms and Big Data

It seems point­less to ask whether data is use­ful, and an almost insol­u­ble prob­lem to answer how it is use­ful. Big Data, small data, effi­cient data, action­able data…so many words exist to describe the approach­es to deep­en­ing our under­stand­ing of customers.

How cus­tomers behave, how they engage, why they click (or for that mat­ter not click; which might be more impor­tant), why they inter­act or oth­er­wise, when they leave, how and when they are inter­est­ed, etc can all be of crit­i­cal impor­tance. How­ev­er, the 2015 Dig­i­tal Trends Report informs us that only 14% of organ­i­sa­tions view Big Data as an excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty in 5 years’ time.

So, data is no longer a buzz­word. And if “Big Data” seems still to be one (and will be as long as we use cap­i­tal let­ters for B & D ;-), this is chang­ing thanks to con­crete projects and the emer­gence of real busi­ness cases.

But, along­side big data (low­er­case…), anoth­er expres­sion emerged — Data Man­age­ment Plat­form (or DMP). Hav­ing first appeared in 2009, DMPs are the tech­ni­cal answer to a sim­ple ques­tion: as a brand, how can I man­age the entire cus­tomer data accu­mu­lat­ed from my own cam­paigns (online, mobile, TV, etc.), but also from sec­ond and third par­ties? And then, how can I utilise it to effec­tive­ly seg­ment my audi­ence, in order to deliv­er the most appro­pri­ate mes­sage that will dri­ve con­ver­sion or reduce churn?

Cur­rent­ly, under two-fifths (37%) of com­pa­nies have a good infra­struc­ture in place to col­lect the data they need, as indi­cat­ed by the 2015 Dig­i­tal Trends Report.

A DMP, much more than a media tool

Gen­er­al­ly, DMP is used in a media con­text, to improve the effi­cien­cy of the media spend and increase ROI. And, with the growth of Real Time Bid­ding (RTB) for media, it seems the per­fect tool to mix the automa­tion of the buy­ing process with the effi­cien­cy of audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion. By deep­en­ing their knowl­edge about their cus­tomers, brands are able to cre­ate and deliv­er per­son­al­ized ads based on those segments.

But (there is always a “but”…), if seg­men­ta­tion is key, dis­play might not be the best way to cre­ate rich inter­ac­tions with cus­tomers and prospects. If DMPs are still most­ly used by the media indus­try, it’s because they were the first to see the con­cept, along­side this raise of RTB, as a fan­tas­tic way to opti­mise their media buy­ing strate­gies. And DMPs were also viewed as a way to main­tain the belief in advertisement.

How­ev­er, DMPs are able to do much more than that. As a man who worked for years in media and for a dig­i­tal agency, I strong­ly believe that brands must focus on opti­mis­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. In order to do so, per­son­al­i­sa­tion is key. Indeed, the more you suc­ceed in cre­at­ing inti­ma­cy between you and your audi­ence, the more you per­son­alise the rela­tion­ship, and the more like­ly it will be for this audi­ence to engage with your brand, to stay loy­al, and to buy your products. And the best place to do so (because it’s the only place you real­ly own) is the brand’s own web­site or mobile app.

Let’s use an anal­o­gy — if you want to sell your house, you will obvi­ous­ly need the best ad pos­si­ble in order to attract cus­tomers. So you write some good copy, take nice pic­tures of your house, and pub­lish the ad in news­pa­pers, real estate web­sites, or you might even stick it on trees. But if your home does not look its best in the pic­tures, with a great inte­ri­or, a beau­ti­ful kitchen, an invit­ing gar­den, and, above all, a descrip­tion that appeals to the needs of poten­tial buy­ers (high­light­ing the tran­quil­li­ty, the ameni­ties, the neigh­bour­hood, the pub­lic trans­port or the schools, depend­ing on who are the poten­tial buy­ers), you will not sell it. You will have gen­er­at­ed leads but no con­ver­sion (and, here, one con­ver­sion is all you need!).

It is all about the expe­ri­ence, when look­ing around the house, along with a mes­sag­ing draft­ed to appeal to the buyer’s needs, which will make the difference.

A ground breaking opportunity

This is where a DMP can help you in the dig­i­tal world. A DMP will allow the brand to seg­ment its vis­i­tors and audi­ence based on their needs and, using that seg­men­ta­tion, to per­son­alise their dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence, opti­mise traf­fic, and dri­ve them towards con­tent or offers which match their needs and present a com­pelling call-to-action.

For brands, this should be an obvi­ous deci­sion; when it is pos­si­ble, as some of our clients have, to gain an aver­age uplift of 40%, raise rev­enue per vis­it by 23% or increase sub­scrip­tions with tar­get­ed cross-pro­mo­tions, why would you hes­i­tate? Why would you not per­son­alise the rela­tion­ship with your audi­ence immediately?

DMPs offer huge oppor­tu­ni­ties for agen­cies, as they pro­vide them with the abil­i­ty to define and con­tin­u­ous­ly refine strat­e­gy using real data; real seg­ments based on real cus­tomer needs. Using an audi­ence and Data Man­age­ment Plat­form allows agen­cies to con­tin­u­ous­ly trans­form and improve the brand’s dig­i­tal prop­er­ties, while avoid­ing the need to wait for a relaunch in order to imple­ment improve­ments. Effec­tive­ly this becomes a per­ma­nent­ly evolv­ing enti­ty, a nev­er-end­ing beta version.

So, brands, you know what you have to do, trans­form the way that you behave, the way that you work, and ulti­mate­ly the way that you define and deploy your dig­i­tal strat­e­gy. Think in terms of audi­ence rather than in terms of brand­ing, and real­ly focus on the cus­tomer and on what (s)he wants. Aggre­gate all avail­able data, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd par­ty, and improve what you know and under­stand why you know it.

Because with per­son­al­i­sa­tion and DMP, the RONI (Risk Of Non-Invest­ment) is the worst ene­my of your ROI.

What about you…do you agree that DMPs rep­re­sent an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty? Do not hes­i­tate to share your thoughts in the comments!