There’s never a dull moment in IT. Never a day seems to go by when a new concept, accompanied by the inevitable TLA (three letter acronym) doesn’t pop up. One that has been around for at least a couple of years and is rising rapidly in the awareness rankings thanks the popularity of big data and data analytics, is ‘data management platform’.
Is it just a fancy name for a database? No it isn’t. Is it another name for a data warehouse? No it isn’t. And unlike both of those concepts, it is not application neutral: it’s a concept primarily specific to marketing and related functions.
DMP = software that sucks up, sorts and houses information
In a Gartner blog, What Does a Data Management Platform Do, Anyway?, research director, Martin Kihn, offers what he says is one of the best definitions he’s read of a DMP, attributing it to “a company called [x+1], one of the pioneering DMPs now owned by (and called) Rocket Fuel.” Here it is.
“... provides the requisite, yet somewhat unnoticed, function of data collection, translation, classification, indexing and storage. It’s the ‘plumbing’ part of data-driven marketing online.”
Quite frankly, that’s not very helpful. A much better one come comes from news site Digiday, in a rather irreverently titled article WTF is a data management platform? “It’s a piece of software that sucks up, sorts and houses information, and spits it out in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers and other businesses.” Now that makes much more sense!
Here’s another one that’s quite useful. “A data management platform, also called a unified data management platform (UDMP) is a centralised computing system for collecting, integrating and managing large sets of structured and unstructured data from disparate sources.” Note that this one is not marketing-specific.
According to Forrester Research, DMPs are now must -haves for marketers, advertisers and the like. In the Forrester Wave: Data Management Platforms, Q4 2015, it says: “As programmatic ad buying and selling become the norm, marketers and publishers are learning that harnessing their first-party data; developing single and consistent identities for their consumers across devices and systems, like email and site optimisation; and gaining access to second-party data are mission-critical and require partnership with a data management platform (DMP).”
Sixty two percent of online adults in the US are now always addressable
As Forrester explains, driving both the need for, and the usefulness of DMPs is the amount of data customers generate about themselves and their activities.
“Sixty two percent of online adults in the US are now always addressable,” Forrester claims. “They use multiple devices from multiple locations. In order to deliver meaningful and brand-consistent messages efficiently to these consumers, marketers must develop the ability to recognise individuals consistently and persistently wherever they may be, on whatever device they choose.”
Effectively used a good DMP will help marketers get to the mythical ‘segment of one’, according to Forrester. In short, DMP looks like being a pretty powerful TLA.