Understanding customers' behaviors and predicting their needs have tested marketers for a long time. Marketers are always playing catch up with the addition of more channels, evolving engagement paradigms and new revenue models.
Obtaining a customer 360 view can be challenging, if not confusing, exacerbated by multiple technology options. Companies struggle with determining the single source of truth for customer data and how to bring applications together to create this single source of truth.
Companies today need best-of-breed solutions to manage different types of customer processes and engagement. Applications for email management, online tracking, campaign management and content management are standard. However, extending these solutions to build a customer 360 view within them is not the best way forward. We have seen multiple times companies trying to make their CRM systems, or lately Data Management Platforms (DMP), be the single source of customer data, only to hit roadblocks. These applications are not designed for that. Customer information is scattered across multiple systems, and CRM or DMP applications are not the right choices for merging and managing consolidated customer information.
DMP platforms (not to be confused with MDM platforms even though both have “data management” in their name) are used to manage online advertising and customer data. These are buyer-side platforms that allow companies or advertisement agencies to manage their first-party audience and campaign data. This data is then compared to third-party consumer data to make digital media buying decisions. DMP platforms are used to manage online cookies and to generate audience segments, which are then used to target specific users with relevant online ads.
So far so good. We understand and realize the importance of DMP in this digital marketing world. Some try to create customer 360 within DMP and try to make DMP a single source of all customer profile, interaction and transactional data. This is where the trouble starts. Companies must understand the role of DMP versus an MDM platform. There has to be clarity about the differences as well as how they complement each other.
DMP is a specialized data warehouse most often used to manage cookie IDs and execute media buys. Modern data management platform as a service offerings help build a reliable data foundation across an organization and its systems. Reliable data delivered by modern data management platforms is used to create data-driven applications across business functions like account management, campaign management, and field service.
Designed for advertising and campaign use cases, DMPs work with a slice of only a snapshot of customer information. Maintaining complete profiles requires additional governance capabilities like workflows, data lineage, audit trails for compliance, ownership rules and deeper data quality checks. Data quality management is foundational to MDM, and it provides capabilities for matching, merging, and cleaning customer data acquired from multiple sources.
A true customer 360 requires blending of all internal, external and third-party subscription data. It includes the profile information, relationships, historical transactions and omni-channel interactions. DMP is one component of an overall customer 360 view that brings in the information about a customer’s online engagement.
DMPs are not designed for enterprise-wide sharing and collaborative curation of customer data. DMP data sits with marketing, and it not shared with sales, support and services. Modern data management, on the other hand, helps create a single source of truth of customer data across all functional areas with every department actively contributing towards profile enrichment as well as continuous cleansing of customer information. If a field service agent identifies a change in address, a data change request can be initiated from the mobile device for immediate update.
For an effective digital strategy, it is imperative that organizations understand the role of DMP and MDM solutions and how they work together.
Modern data management provides a complete consumer profile, including interactions across all channels, which could be used to feed a DMP the consolidated First Party (PII data).
As a part of the customer 360 view, modern data management helps discover and visualize relationships that help with consumer householding based on online activity, tracking product history and identifying the employee who provided the service.
Marketing and brand teams can create campaign or consumer insight applications on MDM platforms by blending the data from DMP with data from other sources in MDM.
DMPs help with anonymous digital data collection from online resources. These can be managed and curated within a modern data management platform, and once the online user is identified, all past unknown interactions become a part of their profile.
DMP aggregates information about a person’s online behavior. It’s another specialized capability for a particular purpose and role (digital marketing campaigns), like CRM for sales force automation. MDM, on the other hand, aims to benefit the entire enterprise by provisioning reliable data for all business and analytics applications. DMP too needs reliable data as a prerequisite so that digital groups can augment online data with information from other systems for better segmentation. However, DMP is not meant to duplicate or replace a customer 360 view created within MDM. A modern data management platform blends data from all sources, maintain the data reliability and is the single source of customer data for all systems, across functional groups.