Editor's note: Reach your true audience: Data and programmatic strategies took place on 18 September 2014. Access this webcast on-demand.
The blue-sky scenario of using DMPs is a basic concept that is easy to grasp: a technology that seamlessly connects different consumer data sources across multiple access points, through which companies can gain intelligence to change the way they market to a target audience.
DMPs can deliver better targeting, reach and ROI but understanding how to get there is another story. It’s not magic but it can feel as much like sorcery sometimes. Using a Formula 1 analogy, Cindy Deng, Asia Pacific managing director of Turn, described a car in the pit getting prepared to race, with each team working on a specific part of the car like the wheel and air gun, is equivalent to each team optimised to do one job but does not know what the rest of the team is doing.
If we compare this to digital advertising, the search team does not know what the display team is doing, but data management solutions help paint a more complete picture of what is going on, Deng said. "Taking control of first-party data is the priority, as the quicker you do that the quicker you will be able to bring third-party data partners on board to allow data exchanges on a centralised platform."
Centralisation and connectivity is critical, added Ashish Braganza, director of global business intelligence at Lenovo. "For Lenovo, our machines are exactly like those F1 cars, with digital messaging different for each product that is produced by a different marketing team. That can be very disjointed if we don't unify the different teams and get them on the same page," he said.
In the past, these teams may target the same audience type and repeat either branding-oriented messages or deal-related messages to them, but it does not make sense. "Now we speak to the customers in one voice as we know exactly who they are with the added advantage of a DMP," said Braganza.
In an end-to-end customer journey, Lenovo knows exactly what phase of the journey a customer is in, whether post-purchase or loyalty, and can target them with specific messenging that is tailored to that particular phase. Traditionally, a lot of brands focus on upper-funnel conversions, but could not measure whether its strategies were working as digital success is only measured at the bottom of the funnel. "With a DMP, we can actually see whether our desired audience type is coming to our landing pages and whether there is any disconnect with actual messenging."
As a quad-play infocommunications provider, Starhub has a wide range of owned viewership and subscriber data that it harnessed to combine with its CRM system into a DMP to reap marketing benefits from it.
"Targeting is normal, but smarter targeting has to combine various data sources to market to customers more relevant products," said Germaine Ng-Ferguson, general manager of integrated solutions and analysis at StarHub. "Doing that has created dynamic cross-platform data for us. Looking at the future of marketing, having a holistic view of audiences and their multi-platform media consumption will eventually bring better ROI."
Technology is the easy bit; managing people is the difficult part, lamented Braganza. In theory, there should be greater transparency with the technological layers of marketing automation, but it is "human nature" to overstate results, he said. For that reason, Lenovo keeps tech providers, data providers and digital agencies out of its strategic process while acting as a referee between the three parties.
"We decided to have them work independently because we do not want conflict of interest. Keeping them working on separate terms will keep them honest. A lot of agencies like to do smoke and mirrors with the client, but it's harder to sugar-coat the numbers with a DMP, " said Lenovo's Braganza.
For marketing managers within the Lenovo team with established relationships with providers and agencies, he has encountered pushback "with a lot of questioning from them", but "it's about winning the small battles to win a bigger one".
People are more afraid of a DMP than they actually should be. But the fear of the unknown subsides when people see the value of a DMP in providing insight into whether metrics are measured in the right way. "The medium that is delivering the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA) may not be giving you the most valued audiences," revealed Deng, contrary to many marketers' assumptions.
Citing a case study for a financial services client, Turn's Deng said an evaluation of its search and display media spend as well as their conversion rates found that the CPA metric alone is not the best guide on what sites to advertise on. Through DMP analytics, a couple of websites with low conversion rates were discovered to actually attract customers of the highest lifetime value to the client. "Because this additional insight surfaced, they were able to change their media plan as well as their overall strategy.
Data is good, but intelligence is what matters, said Starhub's Ng-Ferguson. "We have to refine our marketing tactics on a near real-time basis. All these capabilities within a DMP allow you to dynamically re-segment and re-target, and remove barriers that marketers used to have when they relied on post-campaign brand recall rates—not timely information."