How to Select a Bulletproof Data Management Platform

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With the holidays behind us, we've all seen the countless guides for stocking up on everything from clothes to cars to European vacations. But for thoughtful marketers looking to invest in faster, better, and cheaper technology tools…well, actually, there's a lot of information out there as well. It's just often confusing, incomplete, and more obtuse than deciphering the latest financial meltdown.

And now, just when you were getting comfortable with using real-time bidding (RTB) and demand-side platforms (DSPs) for your digital media buys, you've probably caught wind of the latest trend - the DMP. Short for "data management platform," a DMP is a holistic solution that provides universal connectivity across all data relevant to digital marketers - think no more silos.

The DMP accomplishes this in two ways - by providing audience data that enables more precise targeting and enabling new types of analytics such as attribution that power smarter optimization decisions.

And while DMPs often go together with DSPs, there are differences. While DSPs provide a solution for real-time bidding, a DMP provides intelligence across the entire digital mix - think publishers, networks, search, video, mobile, social, and distributed content. So just because the RTB geeks are the ones talking a lot about DMPs, it does not mean that the DMPs are less important across other digital tactics.

Shopping for a DMP is no different than shopping for a car. You really need to know what you're looking for before you step into the showroom. With this in mind, we've prepared a quick shopping guide to serve as a starting point for first-time DMP buyers. And while the following tips won't necessarily prepare you to go mano-a-mano with your local analytics geek, they should point you in the right direction.

The key criteria for selecting the right DMP is universality. You'll need this so that you can anticipate all the twists in the road. Basically this will keep you out of the ditch.

Tip No. 1: Universal Access to Audience Data

The DMP should have the ability to integrate all sources of audience data. The idea here is simple: the more you know about your customer, the more exact your targeting, the higher the ROI. So you'll want your DMP to have access to audience data from all possible sources - online and offline, first party, second party, and third party.

The benefits of a holistic approach are evident throughout our daily campaign work. Clients that have successfully tackled the data connectivity challenge leveraging our agency's DMP have seen CPA improvements ... Read more