Can a Data Management Platform (DMP) Accelerate Your Digital Marketing?
E-commerce has replaced store openings at the center of retail growth strategy. According to PWC, almost 75% of all retail growth since 2000 has occurred online. As more commercial traffic moves online and more of that online traffic moves to mobile devices like phones and tablets (or phablets for the hopelessly indecisive), retailers are failing to fulfill the promise of big data. They are often unable provide a more personalized experience to their online shoppers.
For brands that obsess about the customer experience and make it a cornerstone of their in-store differentiation, efficient digital marketing tactics seem worlds away. All the accumulated personal, tribal, and institutional knowledge of a retail sales engine isn’t worth much when the records are disparate, uncoordinated and removed from other marketing functions. This doesn’t even take into account that many retailers see between 50-90% of their website traffic as anonymous users. Marketo estimates that up to 98% of all internet traffic is anonymous.
A DMP can begin to unwind some of the anonymity and, with other processes and tools, create a better experience for digital shoppers and visitors.
How do I translate the customer-centric values of the store to the digital landscape?
First, make better use of the data you already have. The information you collect about your customers from transactions, loyalty programs, and even customer service interactions like returns, can be used to build a detailed data set of your current customers. Their demographics, customer lifetime value (assuming you’ve defined CLV for your business) and product preferences can help you go beyond segments to find audiences for your marketing.
This information isn’t just about improving your own lifecycle marketing and activating customers who aren’t shopping as much as they should, but also about finding more prospective customers who resemble your current stable of high value deciles and who would respond to your brand. In other words, don’t just acquire any old customer – get the ones most likely to be loyal, high value customers.
Locating such prospects requires you to access the vast pool of third party data available in online marketplaces. Companies like Experian, Nielsen and many retailers have all compiled anonymized (but individual) data points on millions of shoppers. Like the old Dewey Decimal System, once you know where to look and how customer attributes are categorized, you can find well matched audiences for your marketing.
How do DMPs help?
DMPs attack both the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of digital marketing by organizing your own data and third party data into attributes and building audiences, which can be controlled and syndicated to online media publishers. This puts you in control and the customer at the center of your campaigns.
The cost savings from DMPs, especially at volume, can be enormous*. Even organizations running modern digital marketing tactics, like retargeting, can see a 20-30% savings in their spending, depending on their willingness to align data sources and enforce the discipline the DMP enables.
For example, retargeting, a common digital marketing tactic designed to expose shoppers to a curated selection of items they viewed on a brand’s website, is driven by coarse targeting mechanisms and shows little restraint when it comes to frequency. Woe to the shopper who clicks on the pair of avant-garde platform boots out of artistic curiosity. You’ll have fifty or a hundred impressions all across your web browser to help you contemplate their aesthetic quality.
Those wasted impressions are expensive mistakes. While the average cost of a thousand impressions online (their so-called “CPM” or cost per thousand) is relatively inexpensive for many retailers $2.50-$3.00 is a fair rate. The cost is only going to rise as more premium inventory, such as frequently accessed news and sports websites, transition their purchasing agreements from direct buys with brands to digital ad marketplaces. Including services like retargeting can double the cost. Having an agency perform these functions can quadruple it.
DMPs attack the problem in two ways. First, they will control the frequency and timing of retargeting campaigns. If retargeting is most effective in the hours and minutes after viewing a product, the DMP will promote individuals with that profile into a higher value audience, which, when identified, will be aggressively bid for corresponding inventory. After a certain number of impressions, the retargeting will retreat, becoming less frequent and, eventually, ceasing. These rules are all set by the marketer and enforced through the audience control in the DMP.
Second, the DMP will work carefully to evaluate the value of the retargeting itself. If a product has already been purchased (something the DMP will learn as it syncs with a CRM or POS system), it will eliminate individuals from the eligible audiences. More impressively, the DMP will learn over time which types of retargeting are most effective at reaching certain types of audiences. As new prospective buyers enter those audiences, the DMP will apply those rules. This machine learning, or automation, increases the return on ad spend (ROAS) for retargeting.
Are DMPs the right move?
If this control and leverage seems like a good fit for your retail marketing organization, consider looking into a DMP. But bear in mind that DMPs are neither bulletproof nor entirely self-sufficient. Garbage in will always produce garbage out and creating and controlling audiences alone doesn’t get you the best bids on inventory or enable retargeting. DMPs are the core of customer-centric digital marketing strategies, but only a part of the much wider programmatic ecosystem.
*If you are interested in learning more about the business case for a DMP and where the inefficiencies within your marketing organization can be improved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org