A primer on data management platforms

Photo via forbes.com

Big data is moving from an abstract concept used by Fortune 100 innovators to a crucial tool found across many marketing departments.

More than 50% of companies say they have adopted big data analytics tools for their organization, up from just 17% in 2015. This is a massive increase any way you look at it, and proves how valuable analytics and data collection can be for your business.

But, while big data collection is growing, many organizations still struggle to analyze it and utilize it in a meaningful way. Think of all the insights and answers that have been left on the cutting room floor because marketers were still trying to understand the value of what was in their hands.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s still work to do. With the help of digital management platforms, brands can better utilize their data to improve their marketing efforts.  

 

What Are Data Management Platforms (DMPs)?

Data management platforms (DMPs) are used to collect and house both first and third-party data related to your business. People often refer to big data when they discuss DMPs, but the management platform actually takes the data and helps filter and analyze the information.

Consider the statistic that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone, with humanity as a whole creating roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes per day. This includes 45,787 Uber trips, 3.6 million Google searches, and 13 new songs added to Spotify each minute. Even brands that run relatively small operations can quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available to them. 

All of this data has to go somewhere, which is why marketers choose to house it in DMPs. Not only do data management platforms store the information, they also help sort the data and present it in a way that humans can understand. Without DMPs, there’s no way businesses could make effective decisions based on the information presented to them.

 

Your Data Comes From a Variety of Sources

Image via lotame.com

One of the biggest problems marketers have with analytics and tracking is marrying various data sources. Between collecting data online through tags and cookies to uploading internal sales information, it can seem impossible to compare one customer experience to another:

  • How can an in-store order be tracked back to a digital marketing interaction on Google Analytics?
  • How can a business understand how its performance compares to other companies in its industry?
  • How can you compare first-click analytics data from one tool with last-click attribution on another?

These questions require systems that collect and organize data in order to find answers. Without them, brands are left trying to line up mismatched data points and comparing apples to oranges. They risk either using incorrect data to make their decisions or ignoring important points that could highlight problems in their organization.   

The team at Lotame explains that DMPs are the pipes or your data process. They collect information from a variety of sources and bring it to one central location, where it can then get sorted again in ways that make sense.

 

DMPs Share Information With Demand Side Platforms (DSPs)

Demand side platforms (DSPs) actually execute commands based on the data sent through DMPs. If big data is the information collected, then artificial intelligence tools (sometimes with the help of machine learning) are the workers that take the information and mold it into solutions. These tools range from basic level programmatic marketing where customers see content related to their needs to advanced eCommerce chatbots and sales tools to move buyers deeper into the sales funnel.  

All of these processes work together to make your digital marketing efforts more effective for your customers. With high-quality information, both you as a human and the robots you work with can make the best decisions for your brand.

 

Marketers Can Use DMPs Throughout the Buying Process

There are multiple ways brands use DMPs to improve their business, but marketers in particular can use them to better create customer profiles. The marketing industry as a whole is in the process of rejecting basic age and gender demographics for their audience segmentation. Instead, brands are focusing on customer intent and taking steps to sort people based on their needs and buying potential.

Many companies use DMPs to sort customer data and better understand purchase history, buying patterns, and probability of buying again. With this information, brands can increase their overall efficiency by targeting the right customers instead of mass broadcasting to people in their general demographics.

 

Without Data Management, You Have No Data

DMPs quiet the noise and help brands actually apply the data they’re collecting. By making sure they find value in their data and sorting different sources to create one unified picture, brands can take advantage of big data and other programmatic marketing tools for better results.

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