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‘Data scientists are not necessary’: The Programmatic Advisory, Mapp Digital, and IAB on mastering the DMP

Mastering the DMP

Data is growing exponentially and marketers are looking for technology solutions to unify their data in one place. A Data Management Platform (DMP) is a piece of software that collects data from multiple sources and makes it useful for brands, publishers, and agencies.

But with so many DMP offerings in the marketplace, and with 43% of marketers are struggling to transform data into real-time action, which one should marketers choose?

Earlier this month, The Drum in association with marketing technology company Mapp Digital, gathered thought leaders in the industry at a breakfast session to discuss some of these issues and implement key strategies going forward.

Below are some highlights from the event.

Data is growing and growing

Programmes manager at IAB, David Frew puts forward the evidence for a DMP – data and lots of it. He refers to how the growth of the internet, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) are impacting data consumption.

“There is an expectation we will go beyond 6 billion smartphones by 2020 and data is growing at a 40% compound annual rate, reaching nearly 45 ZB (zettabytes) by 2020. There are data points out there that you don’t even know about. Data is the currency of the future,” he says.

He adds: “We still need humans to make decisions. We need to be able to visualise as people can become paralysed by data.”

Have clear objectives - why do you want a DMP?

Client partner at the Programmatic Advisory, Charlie Ashe advises marketers on how they should be approaching programmatic. For him, it is important that marketers know what they want to achieve as their end result.

“You can’t implement a DMP without an end-use in mind and first-party data should be at the core of any conversation. You should be looking for data-led marketing,” he says.

Use your stakeholders and be realistic about timelines

Marketers should continually be having conversations with departmental figureheads throughout a DMP project and use this to their advantage. Ashe says this is an essential part of making the DMP a success.

“Understand your key stakeholders in the business by talking to people and educating them throughout a DMP project. Engage with them to get the right resource model. Often, there are overlaps across the business, so run educational programs and be realistic about speed and your timeline to implementation. There is often a need to use a piece of technology to solve all your marketing problems – but it doesn’t work that way,” he says.

So what is a realistic timeframe? For Ashe, every company is different.

“If you start with a very basic knowledge about DMPs, within six months you should know more, and within a year you might start to see some results. But some companies might be quicker if they are already educated on DMPs.”

On how long it will take before marketers start seeing ROI, he says: “The DMP is only as useful as the amount of data you have. It depends on whether you’ve set business goals against targets. You can use a DMP to solve ROI and performance issues but you first need to understand what marketing issues you are trying to solve.”

Kim van der Zande, head of DMP at Mapp, disagrees with Ashe on the timescale front. “You can literally collect all of your data within one day and then start to see some results in a few weeks.”

Data scientists are not necessary

Often in the industry there is a worry that brands will need to rejig entire departments and start recruiting data scientists to help them with the analysis of data. This is not necessary, according to Ashe. He says it’s more important to focus on choosing the right partners – “if all they offer is technology but not a solution, then it’s not worth it,” he says.

Van der Zande agrees marketers can use their current staff to still get good results. “You should assemble a data-savvy team. Let the technology do the complex stuff and use intuitive interfaces. If you have the budget to recruit data scientists – great. But make them useful.”

Tackle GDPR with the right partners

With GDPR looming, how can marketers confidently position themselves to tackle it head on?

“You need to find a good partner to deal with it as people are going crazy and use the technology to help you become complaint. The customer experience is changing and your goals will change over time. When you pick a partner – they need to help you progress towards your next goal,” says Van der Zande.

The more marketers educate themselves on DMPs, the less likely they are to have the “wool pulled over their eyes” by partners with only “numbers in their minds”, according to Ashe.

“Your partner should understand your use case and take time out to be a dedicated resource for you,” he concludes.

To find out how marketers can accelerate their digital marketing journey with a DMP, click here.

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