Why You Need Data Management Platforms

Data man­age­ment plat­forms col­lect, aggre­gate, and seg­ment mass­es of data, mak­ing it eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and usable. Here’s how a DMP can help you.

Maciej Zawadziński By Maciej Zawadziński from Clearcode. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Mar­keters are adapt­ing some­what to the real­i­ties of today’s world, but they’re still con­front­ed with a host of chal­lenges result­ing from the shift­ing sands of tech­nol­o­gy. Despite hav­ing imple­ment­ed many dig­i­tal solu­tions, many mar­keters still strug­gle to har­ness mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy in a way that leads to greater cus­tomer insights and the abil­i­ty to take action based on those insights that dri­ves busi­ness results. So what’s the solu­tion?

Rapid tech­nol­o­gy advance­ments have dra­mat­i­cal­ly altered the speed, rel­e­van­cy, and range of today’s mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. This real­i­ty, cou­pled with major shifts in con­sumer behav­ior, is forc­ing mar­keters to become more tech savvy as they con­cen­trate efforts on con­nect­ing with mil­lions of con­sumers one-to-one. For years, mar­keters have used tech­nol­o­gy to ana­lyze cus­tomer data and behav­ior. But being tech savvy means more than just know­ing how to use an appli­ca­tion. As MarTech guru Scott Brinker points out: “Mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy is not just about mak­ing exist­ing process­es more effi­cient. It will shape the expe­ri­ence you deliv­er to cus­tomers and prospects.”

Marketing Challenges

A recent Chief Mar­ket­ing Offi­cer (CMO) Coun­cil report reveals that mar­ket­ing often comes up short. Of the more than 150 mar­ket­ing exec­u­tives in Europe and North Amer­i­ca, a mere 5 per­cent feel able to pre­dict the cus­tomer jour­ney and iden­ti­fy which actions will pro­vide max­i­mum val­ue. One thing that makes it dif­fi­cult for mar­keters to cre­ate effec­tive cam­paigns built around dynam­ic cus­tomer expe­ri­ences is the wide range of chan­nels and devices avail­able to engage with poten­tial cus­tomers. This would seem to be a good thing, but instead, it often leaves mar­keters blind to cus­tomer behav­ior and uncer­tain about best actions. This prob­lem man­i­fests in the way some mar­keters push the same con­tent across sev­er­al dif­fer­ent chan­nels (e.g. using the same copy and images for a ban­ner ad and a Twit­ter post), or when mar­keters fail to cor­rect­ly seg­ment their audi­ence (e.g. know­ing which cus­tomers to tar­get with pre­mi­um, more expen­sive goods or ser­vices and which group is more like­ly to respond to less expen­sive options). In short, mar­keters often end leav­ing rev­enue on the table by treat­ing con­sumers like num­bers on a list instead of humans. Why? Three rea­sons:

1. Not Enough Emphasis On Customer Experience

At the recent Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Vegas a third of attend­ing exec­u­tives cit­ed cus­tomer expe­ri­ence as the main way they hoped to make their com­pa­ny stand out. Forbes reports that by 2020, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence will out­pace pric­ing and prod­uct as the key fac­tor in dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing busi­ness­es. This clear­ly points to a move away from push­ing stand-alone mes­sages, which has long been the sta­ple of mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. Because the aver­age con­sumer now has access to such a vast wealth of infor­ma­tion, it’s increas­ing­ly point­less to mar­ket this way. In this sense, mar­keters are tech-savvy, or at least, “tech-aware” enough to under­stand this. But that’s not enough to win in today’s com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place. In order to max­i­mize the effect of a qual­i­ty cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, mar­keters must tru­ly focus on the cus­tomer. This means tak­ing a con­sumer-cen­tered approach for every­thing – from writ­ing email copy to design­ing web­sites and land­ing pages.

2. Falling Short On Personalization

The abil­i­ty to per­son­al­ize is crit­i­cal and clear­ly makes a dif­fer­ence in max­i­miz­ing rev­enue. Accord­ing to research from the e‑tailing group, 40 per­cent of con­sumers buy more from retail­ers that per­son­al­ize across all chan­nels. For many mar­keters, “per­son­al­iza­tion” revolves around indi­vid­ual touch points across siloed chan­nels (e.g. an email with the customer’s name in the sub­ject line, or an ecom­merce site that remem­bers their pre­vi­ous pur­chas­es and sug­gests sim­i­lar items on future vis­its). But one-off tac­tics aren’t enough. Per­son­al­iza­tion must be imple­ment­ed as an over­ar­ch­ing mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. CMO Coun­cil Vice-Pres­i­dent of Mar­ket­ing Liz Miller con­curs when com­ment­ing on her organization’s report: “Per­son­al­iza­tion isn’t a ques­tion of using a customer’s name in an email sub­ject line. If it remains a way to add a few inter­est­ing indi­ca­tors to a momen­tary cam­paign, we will fail in ful­ly opti­miz­ing the rev­enue poten­tial of each indi­vid­ual cus­tomer.” This man­date presents a chal­lenge for many mar­keters. It’s forc­ing them to turn to more advanced tech­ni­cal solu­tions to cre­ate and deliv­er per­son­al­ized mes­sages to indi­vid­ual users.

3. A Lack Of Data Aggregation & Alignment

One prob­lem most mar­keters don’t have is a lack of data. Com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions are good at gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion from a vari­ety of sources. The chal­lenge is uti­liz­ing the data. In fact, using data effec­tive­ly sets suc­cess­ful brands apart from mediocre ones — as Marc de Swaan Arons and com­pa­ny point out in their piece for The Har­vard Busi­ness Review. Com­pa­nies that turn “big data” into “smart data” are best posi­tioned to under­stand what con­sumers are doing or have done in the past and why they’re doing it — which makes pre­dict­ing rev­enue sources eas­i­er. Yet, only 3 per­cent of those sur­veyed for the CMO Coun­cil report felt that their orga­ni­za­tion prop­er­ly aligns and inte­grates their data sources. In many orga­ni­za­tions, infor­ma­tion from a vari­ety of sources, both on and offline, remains siloed across dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tions used for dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es (e.g. CRM plat­forms, email gen­er­a­tors, web ana­lyt­ics plat­forms) and often con­trolled by dif­fer­ent depart­ments (e.g. sales, mar­ket­ing, cus­tomer ser­vice). With­out bet­ter inte­gra­tion, align­ment, and a more-than-basic under­stand­ing of how to uti­lize data, mar­keters will remain at a severe dis­ad­van­tage.

Technology Platforms To Help Marketers Succeed

In many ways, tech­nol­o­gy has cre­at­ed these mar­ket­ing chal­lenges, but it’s also the key to over­come them. CMOs are invest­ing more heav­i­ly in tech­nol­o­gy for a vari­ety of needs includ­ing:

  • Ana­lyt­ics tools: To track web traf­fic and user inter­ac­tions to ana­lyze cam­paign effec­tive­ness, user path­ways and con­ver­sion rates.
  • Cus­tomer rela­tions man­age­ment (CRM) plat­forms: To track and man­age com­mu­ni­ca­tion and inter­ac­tions between sales depart­ments and poten­tial cus­tomers.
  • Mar­ket­ing automa­tion tools: To auto­mat­i­cal­ly send email cam­paigns, cre­ate and man­age fun­nels, and track leads.
  • Tag man­agers: To orga­nize and uti­lize tags for track­ing online user actions.

And yet for all the func­tion­al­i­ty pro­vid­ed by these plat­forms, the mar­keters of tomor­row will need to turn to anoth­er type of tech plat­form to effec­tive­ly deal with the afore­men­tioned chal­lenges.

Data Management Platforms To The Rescue

Data man­age­ment plat­forms (DMP) have a wide vari­ety of uses for adver­tis­ers and mar­keters, but their main attribute is to col­lect, aggre­gate, and seg­ment mass­es of data, mak­ing it eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and usable. How exact­ly can a DMP help mar­keters? First of all, it col­lects and aggre­gates data from all across an orga­ni­za­tion. This can include:

  • Online data: From CRM plat­forms, web ana­lyt­ics plat­forms, web and mobile apps tag man­age­ment sys­tems, ad servers, help desk soft­ware, social media accounts.
  • Offline data: From con­tact detail col­lect­ed per­son­al­ly, in-store pur­chase infor­ma­tion.

One result of this aggre­ga­tion is that a DMP can help cre­ate a Sin­gle-Cus­tomer View and pro­vide a clear­er pic­ture of cus­tomer behav­ior and pref­er­ences. This is invalu­able in help­ing mar­keters bet­ter under­stand con­sumers and cre­ate a more effec­tive expe­ri­ence. For exam­ple, con­sid­er a mar­keter for mobile gam­ing apps. Thanks to the infor­ma­tion col­lect­ed and stored by a DMP, the mar­keter would know that cer­tain con­sumers:

  • Have searched for reviews of games on a desk­top com­put­er.
  • Have pur­chased sev­er­al apps on a tablet.
  • Have recent­ly delet­ed two of the apps from the tablet.

Hav­ing iden­ti­fied these cus­tomers thanks to an audi­ence that takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the price range of the apps pur­chased, the inter­ests indi­cat­ed by the search results from the desk­top web brows­er and the apps that have been delet­ed, a mar­keter could craft a per­son­al­ized mes­sage:

Found App X and Y too easy? See if you can mas­ter App Z!”

This is the future of mar­ket­ing: mes­sages that are per­son­al­ized, engag­ing, and root­ed in hard data – all which helps mar­keters know what, when and where a cus­tomer is most like­ly to make a pur­chase.

Maciej Zawadziński

Written by Maciej Zawadziński

CEO & Cofounder, Clearcode

Maciej is Clearcode's co-founder. He is a skilled technical leader and savvy entrepreneur. Since 2003, he has held the position of CEO of four successful startups.

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