DMP Defined


The language of digital is full of acronyms and abbreviations – so full that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with all of the terminology. We’re going to start publishing short posts that explain some of the most talked about concepts – in plain English. We’re also launching a set of content on our website that addresses key digital topics in 600 words or less. We call it the “Take 5” series because you can read up on each term in just about 5 minutes. You can find these short papers here. 

For decades marketers have dreamed of speaking to each consumer as an individual. To anticipate needs and provide the perfect solution to solve problems and drive maximum revenue from the relationship. Today we can go a long way to making this a reality, because digital allows us to collect signals consumers send as they navigate digital media. But all this data needs to be centralized, united with other sets of data, and associated to anonymized profiles – each representing the actions of an actual person. To do all that you need a data management platform (DMP).

A DMP is the centralized computing system for a brand’s customer data. It collects data from across your marketing touch points and unites it into profiles. It then manages these profiles and updates them with new data as consumers take additional actions. While the most critical role of a DMP is to bring together first party data, it should also be able to enable the marketer to import third party data to enhance customer profiles and empower more effective marketing.

From there, the DMP enables analysis and segmentation of the customer profiles so brands can understand their customers and segment them into audiences. Finally, a DMP delivers data and audiences to marketing platforms for more tailored marketing efforts based upon the characteristics and past actions of the audience segments.

Virtually all aspects of marketing are made better with a customer-focused approach powered with behavioral and intent data. Different marketers benefit in different ways:

  • Practitioner level marketers benefit because the DMP can power more effective customer contact programs across channels. Your team can segment your customers with certainty based upon past actions, interests, and other characteristics, and then target those segments using a variety of touch points. Further, by understanding  the types of customers represented in your user base, your team can devise more effective creative and media strategies, and fully capitalize on “real-time bidding.”
  • For the analytics team, a DMP provides the customer profiles necessary for the richest possible analysis and understanding. Further, they can perform analysis on a huge cross-section of customers and based upon real behavior, not just a small sample of paid respondents and what they report that they do.
  • For senior marketers, a DMP enables a customer-centric go-to-market approach. Further, by combining data from a variety of sources into a single profile, it helps to share insights and data across teams, and can help break down team silos. It also can empower customer analyses to help you set direction for your brand and company.

Entire books have been written on this topic, but those are the basics.

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