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How to Succeed Using a DMP: A Publisher’s First Steps

July 30, 2018

Several years after the emergence of the Data Management Platform (DMP), most publishers still are not aware of what it means to roll out an effective data strategy as it pertains to DMP. Here we explore how a publisher can find success using a DMP.

Over my four years of working at a DMP, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of dozens of publisher implementations with very talented people, rolling out data strategies into their ad sales business to great success. I’ve also witnessed, and been a part of, several failures. Don’t get me wrong, data’s more complex than we think (and most of us think it’s fairly complex), so it’s natural to use it incorrectly.

More often than not, however, the failures aren’t due to incorrect data-usage, but rather the lack of proper communication, understanding, adoption, and execution within the various teams of the publisher’s organization.

The concept of “audience,” the final form data takes in Ad Sales, is sometimes introduced to a publisher’s business when an executive hears about the need to have a digital data strategy from advisers, peers, or publications. Upon hearing this, one of the potential reactions is to sign up with a DMP.

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So I have a DMP, what do I do?

Is it as simple as just collecting the necessary data and building the required audiences for Ad Sales? Fortunately (yes fortunately) not; it takes a uniform effort from all affected teams within a publisher’s digital environment to make the optimal go-to-market strategy with a new audience product. Those teams include the Executive Sponsor responsible for the success of the DMP, Sales, Ad Operations, Business Intelligence, and Marketing.

Yet far too often I hear the assumption that DMPs are simply ‘turned on.’ So how do you get to the promised lands?

The Ideal Process

Imagine an executive who tasks her sales team to come up with the ideal audience if they could sell anything they wanted. She then informs the Ad Operations team that by learning this new technology they will help the overall performance of campaigns. Marketing is given ample time to prepare a new product launch which will drive new business and reinvigorate the entire Digital Operations. The Business Intelligence gurus look through the reporting and look-alikes of the destined audiences to determine how the users within compare to their digital offering, setting up key takeaways on how to improve their digital properties going forward and how best to pitch the new audiences compared to the standard offerings. Finally a Sales team who’ve had full involvement in the direction of this product is excited to sell and pitches early and often in all of their client dealings. Deals close. Curtains drop.

Looking through this scenario, the main requirements, in order, are communication, understanding, adoption, and execution. If these four areas are dissected the following questions, among others, are uncovered that need to be answered by the Publisher to have a successful roll-out:


A lot goes into the successful implementation of a DMP, regardless of the use-case. Things can always be better, but a plan well-thought out, leveraging questions like the above, will lead to audience becoming a staple product for the publisher, one they can’t imagine doing without.

After reviewing the process above, it becomes apparent how the same Ad Sales onboarding for another publisher could easily turn out as an unmarketed audience product, with ill-formed audiences, undersold by a reluctant sales team, causing a forward-thinking executive to lose hope in the power of data. The publisher will have a team of DMP Client Success Managers to lean upon, but there’s only so much that can be done when a customer’s internal resources aren’t in alignment.

By Hunter Terry Director, Global Innovations at Lotame

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