Data management platforms (DMPs) help organizations collect and manage data from a wide range of sources, and are increasingly important for customer-centric sales and marketing campaigns.
A data management platform (DMP) is a group of tools designed to help organizations collect and manage data from a wide range of sources and create reports that help explain what is happening in those data streams. Deploying a DMP can be a great way for companies to navigate a data-dominated business world.
The name “data management platform” can be confusing, because it is presented as a generalized product that works with all forms of data for all types of data scientists. Lately, however, the term has been embraced by marketing teams, and many of the data management platforms currently offered by vendors are tailored to their needs. In these cases, the data sources come largely from a variety of advertising channels, and the reports they generate are designed to help marketers spend wisely.
This shift in the marketplace is because modern, data-driven marketing teams must navigate a web of connected data sources and formats, including ad marketplaces that yield statistics on audience engagement and click-through rates, sales software systems that report on customer purchases, and websites-and even stores-that track engagement. All this data comes in by the terabyte, and a data management platform can help marketers make sense of it.
Marketing-focused or not, DMPs are great for dealing with a wide range of databases, data lakes or data warehouses, ingesting their data streams and then cleansing, sorting and unifying the information they contain. Some are general tools that can be used for any job where data is collected, including scientific laboratories, manufacturing plants or government offices, as well as sales divisions. Others are more focused on serving marketing teams, offering many common integrations to advertising platforms out of the box.
Some DMPs specialize in producing reports with elaborate infographics. Others simply handle data collection and integration, leaving the analysis and presentation work to other specialized data science and statistical tools.
Some large advertising platforms offer DMPs that house elaborate tools to squeeze the best performance out of your channels. Lately, a cousin of the DMP, called a customer data platform (CDP), has evolved. These tools are designed to track individual customers, often using third-party data sources to identify people who view ads or visit websites. They can use personally identifiable information and create profiles to follow potential customers through the sales funnel.
Some vendors and industry observers distinguish between CDPs and DMPs suggesting that CDPs focus on tracking individuals while DMPs provide more general, anonymous responses about market segments or large blocks of potential customers. Others believe that this distinction is disappearing and that platforms should be able to answer both types of questions.
Below are some of the best data management platforms available today, listed in alphabetical order. Many are focused on delivering top performers to marketing teams, but some are more general tools that can handle any data science task.
Adobe Audience Manager
Any company that relies on Adobe and its various advertising platforms, such as Experience Cloud, can also use its audience management software to get up-to-date information on the performance of various ads or promotions. The deep integration starts with proprietary sources, such as storefronts, CMS-based web channels or email campaigns, and moves to second- and third-party sources from Adobe and others.
Advertisers and their agencies can use what BidTheatre calls a “demand-side platform,” a funny name for a system that allows organizations to build and then distribute native banners, videos and ads through their own CDN. The reports BidTheatre generates compare channels to provide data-driven insights into performance. It is an integrated solution that both powers ad creation and monitors ad performance.
Google Audience Center
Anyone targeting Google, YouTube or its ad networks can use Google Audience Center to track the performance of individual ads across channels. Reporting features allow users to drill down into individual figures for further insight using the Analytics 360 platform. They have also integrated the tool with Studio, their portal for creating new ad campaigns.
The goal of Lotame’s data management platform is to track marketing performance in the face of growing concerns about privacy and cookie usage. Lotame’s platform absorbs first-party data and merges it with other second- and third-party background information. Its Panorama identity management system tags and tracks location and activity around the world. Lotame also manages a marketplace that matches buyers and sellers of digital audiences so companies can build relationships that lead to sales.
Microsoft Customer Insights and Marketing
Dynamics 365 is a large collection of business intelligence products from Microsoft, and two parts, Customer Insights and Marketing, can deliver much of the marketing intelligence found in a CDP and DMP. It will connect with a wide selection of first-, second- and third-party data sources, including major advertising platforms, to track leads and can merge this information to deliver a seamless, end-to-end experience that is often personalized for individual buyers. Microsoft also leverages much of its deep experience with AI to improve targeting and classification in these tools.
Advertisers use OnAudience to build an understanding of their audience from data collected from multiple sources. The GDPR- and CCPA-compliant tool creates personalized segments based on shared demographics, interests and demonstrated intent or purchase plans. This precise process creates opportunities to market directly to those with similar needs. OnAudience also maintains a set of ready-made audience segments, such as “design lovers” or “summer sports fans,” to help you get started.
Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience
Oracle’s input has grown over the years as the company merges technology from BlueKai, Moat, AddThis and other Oracle products. What started as a relatively simple data management tool has grown into a portal for tracking digital advertising performance across all channels. As a result, Oracle has renamed it Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience. It integrates data from a wide range of sources to help optimize the value of ad spend.
Pega creates a low-code platform for designing and executing digital marketing campaigns. Its cloud-hosted tool manages customer communications to deliver the right messages at times when they can be absorbed. The platform allows your team to customize a sales workflow and analyze which steps are delivering the best performance. Back-end tasks, such as order management, can be delegated to robotic process automation tools to simplify life for customers and the fulfillment team.
Permutive’s DMP is designed to be prepared for the shift in ad tracking as privacy rules are strengthened. Its platform supports both publishers and advertisers so that both can understand which creative delivers the best results. Publishers find a secure way to provide first-party insights to advertisers, while advertisers get the information they need to track performance across all publishing platforms on the open web.
The brand name may be more familiar as a maker of streaming video devices, but Roku also places ads. The company has included Dataxu under the brand umbrella and dubbed it OneView. Advertisers can now use the data management platform to track the performance of their campaigns. The system uses access to identity information from streaming services to track users across multiple devices in a coordinated reporting mechanism.
SAS Data Management
The SAS data management tool is designed to integrate tightly with many data sources, whether they are data lakes, data pipelines such as Hadoop, data fabrics or mere databases. Its Integrated Process Designer is a visual tool for creating data flows that integrate data to produce concise reports. Throughout the process, metadata is collected, organized and maintained to help debug and ensure data integrity.
Large client agencies and ad buyers turn to Simpli.fi for a workflow management tool that unifies buying and tracking across all media. The platform integrates across digital venues such as search and social media and in older markets such as print, cable TV, radio and broadcast. The goal is to make it simpler for large advertisers to launch and coordinate large campaigns across multiple media channels. The platform also juggles billing and payment to keep accounting software coordinated with ad buys.
This general platform wants to be a data warehouse and data lake for any general data stream. The company offers the service to a wide range of companies, from financial to manufacturing to retail. Of course, marketing works as well. Snowflake also maintains a big data marketplace where third parties sell data that can populate its reports.
A common way to check market sentiment is to collect information directly from customers. Survey CTO is a platform that organizes and automates many of the details to distribute questionnaires and collect their responses. These can be online or offline via devices such as tablets or smartphones. Once the data is collected, the system can produce reports and infographics or share the data with other tools such as Zapier, Stata or SPSS.
TransUnion, the credit scoring company, also manages TruAudience (formerly Signal) to help marketing teams unlock their “identity resolution capabilities.” The product merges this data with information it collects from third parties, such as streaming audio or video providers. The goal is to create multiple “audiences” defined by particular characteristics or habits and then target them across multiple platforms.