By Martin Kihn | January 07, 2015 | 0 Comments
Yes, it manages data. But what does that mean? Excel spreadsheets and the little calculator app in Windows manage data. So do Oracle databases, Hadoop clusters, and the circuits on the International Space Station.
Saying the DMP manages data doesn’t even get us out of the driveway.
One of the best definitions I’ve read of a DMP sits behind a firewall on the wiki of a company called [x+1], one of the pioneering DMPs now owned by (and called) Rocket Fuel. According to [x+1], a DMP:
“. . . provides the requisite, yet somewhat unnoticed, function of data collection, translation, classification, indexing and storage. It’s the ‘plumbing’ part of data-driven marketing online.”
Okay. Collection, translation, classification, indexing and storage. Also, intriguingly, plumbing. These are all activities that could be ascribed to enterprise databases, data warehouses and data marts, no? Doesn’t that Oracle box in your company’s basement do these things? Well, yes.
But it is impossible to understand – much less, learn to love – the mighty DMP outside of its native land. This land is most definitely marketing. If we are being honest, it is actually digital advertising. Or rather, digital banner advertising, what insiders call display. DMPs do more than target display ads, of course, but it remains job one.
So what do they do, already?
At the very highest orbit, DMPs do three things:
Let’s elaborate a bit on each of these three steps and hit pause in the middle for a beauty shot:
BTW, there is another class of marketing software that plugs in precisely here, right after step (4). This is called the Demand-Side Platform, or the DSP. In fact, DMPs and DSPs are neurotically codependent, and many of the best-known DSPs (such as Turn) also have a DMP. The DMP and DSP are separate organisms only in the technical sense.
Alright, so we have a drones’-eye view of the DMP. Subscribers to Gartner for Marketing Leaders research will be able to enjoy a very detailed description of the DMP and how to use it fairly soon. In the meantime, we can take it down one notch.
The three basic categories above can be broken down more usefully. What do DMPs do for marketers? They:
If you were paying attention last year, you will have noticed that there was a kind of DMP land grab, with a stampeding horde of Oracle, Neustar, Rocket Fuel and IgnitionOne harvesting the DMPs BlueKai, Aggregate Knowledge, [x+1] and Knotice, respectively. In a very practical sense, the DMP is the heart of the digital marketing hub.
And like a human heart, it keeps alive the hope for a prosperous 2015.