There was a time when having a DMP made you different. It was a differentiator in and of itself. It meant you were serious about audience and able to offer proprietary targeting options that nobody else could offer. Those days are coming to an end. As DMP technology is becoming more widely adopted and used, its ability to distinguish your business from your competitors at face value is diminishing. So how do you differentiate yourself using a DMP, and more importantly can a DMP differentiate your business in todays market.
One hard truth that I often have to speak around when I meet a new client or prospect is that although the DMP is an incredibly powerful technology platform, it is not a silver bullet. it will not differentiate your business simply by existing as part of your tech stack any more than a bidding platform, business intelligence tool, attribution suite, or search management platform would.
Even if the DMP is a large part of how you plan to deliver your product/service, and even if technology is the basis for your business, you need to be greater than your technology stack in order to differentiate yourself.
Firstly understand that differentiation isn’t complete re-invention. It is as much about focusing current solutions and execution as it is about innovation, or new ideas and concepts.
Differentiation focuses on the why and the how of business practices and productization efforts, and not the what. For me, differentiation within data management can be defined as the application of a strategic framework, which is executed through technology to create distinguishable value. In other words, you differentiate yourself when you combine strategy with technology, and execute in order to achieve a singular objective.
Strategy and technology within data management therefore form a symbiotic relationship. If we take the very simple analogy of taking a trip; the DMP is the vehicle, the strategy maps the course from A-B. You can have the best car in the world, but without the map you won’t get very far. On the flip side, you could plot a detailed course and a spectacular end destination, but if the car breaks down 5 minutes into the trip you wont be happy.
Too many technology vendors in the DMP space are far too happy to sell a platform/interface and walk away after the paper has dried. Limited support, zero strategic guidance. This laissez-faire attitude among some suppliers is one of my biggest bug bears because the major culprits of this are also often the first to blame their clients for not being able to realize and actualize the value of data and DMP.
This isn’t just a problem with suppliers though. Buyers of DMP technology are often too quick to assess and analyse a DMP vendor on only the technical specifications on offer. They may feel like they already know their strategy and understand the course they wish to take, but they may also just get caught up in filling out a technical RFP as opposed to a strategic, service-led RFP. I’m not saying they should neglect the technical side, but more clients need to be asking their DMP partners for strategic guidance and support in crafting and executing against a well structured data strategy.
The bitter-sweet phenomenon we are witnessing now as more and more DMP pitches take place for client that have incumbent DMP solutions and are 2nd or 3rd iteration DMP users, is that strategy and execution is coming to the fore. Publishers, agencies and advertisers who had previously failed to craft a data strategy and who had little or no support in crafting that strategy from their vendors are now crying out for new ways of thinking, better and more tactical phasing of DMP strategy and real business results.
At Lotame we lead with strategy, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to craft an end-to-end data solution taking into consideration the short-term and long-term business objectives and ROI objectives for the DMP. We work with our clients to identify use cases, to inform productization, to advise on go-to market strategy and messaging. Furthermore, we have dedicated client success teams on hand to ensure that the agreed strategy is executed effectively, that milestones are hit, that expectations are exceeded, and ultimately that our clients are a success.