The DMP bandwagon

In the early part of this decade, CMOs and data controllers at the world’s biggest companies were told they could improve their marketing effectiveness and generate new revenues from their vast ‘data lakes’ of customer information. Understandably, everyone sat up and took notice.

The technology required – DMPs – promised to collect and activate customer data across marketing channels. Brands and media owners alike were attracted for the right reasons – the promise of less wastage in advertising spend, less creepiness in their digital campaigns and less Cambridge Analytica-style privacy issues.

Scores of vendors popped up selling these solutions and most brands jumped in. According to the latest data, 91% of advertisers already have, or plan to adopt a DMP by the end of 2019.

Expertise is essential

The problem was – and still is – many businesses not fully appreciating the scale of the challenge, and more often than not adopting the in-house skills to take advantage of new tools. They realised that the process of integrating these technologies and using them effectively was not a ‘one-size fits all’ approach and so goldmines remained untouched, despite businesses having the equipment to drill into it.

It’s estimated that at least half of businesses that invested in these types of platforms over the past three years aren’t seeing the full value they expected because the expertise needed is not in place. This has unfortunately created a negative perception of DMPs for all the wrong reasons.

Essentially, providers haven’t been offering impartiality, genuine know-how and have not been giving businesses access to a team that actually gets their hands dirty with the technical build. Rather, once the product has been sold, companies are left to manage their DMPs themselves.

The world is awash with data and software, but there is a lack of people with the skill-set to make sense of it all. The demand for such skills will only continue to increase, according to research from Adobe, which found that 79% of respondents felt that DMP skills will be essential for any digital marketing in the future. CMOs have also put their hands up, with 61% saying they still struggle to extract insights from their pools of information.

Impartial advice pays dividends

It may be fashionable in marketing circles to proclaim the death of things, but the reality is that companies have invested vast sums already and have done a lot of great work using various data platforms. They simply need help to get more out of those investments.

It is essential that companies get impartial advice. This starts with how the business is set up and what the organisational goals are, then working back from there to figure out the right approach and the best technology to bring in.

Independent advice with no ties to vendors ensures that a particular technology is never tacked onto a business, meaning that companies are no longer wasting money on unusable tech and are able to utilise their vast resources of data. When stripped back, this translates to better advertising experiences for consumers as brands will have access to far more insights than ever before.

Talent for the future

Another major obstacle preventing businesses from getting into their ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of data, is essentially a lack of global talent and expertise.

There is certainly a trend towards in-sourcing of critical digital skills. However, it is extremely tough to find talent that can establish the right technical infrastructure and run it day to day.

As an industry, we must be working with the limited amount of data experts we have already to encourage them to pass their knowledge onto the next generation. As long as we are persistent with this nurturing of talent, all advertisers and publishers in the future will have full sight and complete control of their gold mines.