Have technology partnerships become meaningless? Seriously, in our industry’s haste to populate cluttered “logo slides” and partner portals, have we forgotten how to assess the value of an integration between two marketing technologies?

If you have ever researched the red hot data management platform (DMP) sector, as a customer or potential channel partner, you might be asking yourself the same questions. As stores of a marketer’s high-value audience segments, DMPs make two fundamental promises: 1) to enrich the marketer’s data repository with as many first-, second-, or third-party data sources as possible and 2) to deploy that repository as fuel for successful marketing campaigns in as many digitally addressable channels as desired. It is no surprise that the sheer number of data inputs and outputs offered by a DMP have become a hollow benchmark for comparing vendors in the space.

The reality is that, today, a DMP’s partner ecosystem is still as important as any other feature the product provides; however, we all need a better framework for understanding the true value of these integrations. Using audience management solutions such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, which integrates with 15 leading third-party data sources and 30+ audience syndication partners, will help us challenge ourselves and our partners to forge both best-of-breed data transfers and material success for our common customers. More focus on the depth of a DMP’s partner ecosystem, as opposed to its breadth, will better serve vendors and customers alike.

So let’s begin with third-party data partnerships and the justifiably insatiable need for marketers and publishers to access more and more data. Third-party data serves the critical need to reach broad, net-new audiences for customer acquisition campaigns and to enrich existing audience profiles with accurate demographic and behavioral information. The breadth and reach of third-party data providers correlates directly with the DMP’s ability to drive ROI for the marketer. But is it that simple? No, absolutely not.

  1. Many DMPs and data providers support a single use case: display advertising. Why shouldn’t the customer’s investment in third-party data be maximized by using the data to power multiple aspects of their digital business? A DMP and data provider should, together, seamlessly enable multiple use cases for third-party data (like algorithmic modeling and dynamic content optimization) and offer innovative pricing structures that incentivize broad use and experimentation.
  2. Third-party data offerings go much deeper than one might think. Data providers often have rich, granular data sets that they sparingly let leave their environment or much less share with distribution partners. The availability of custom and differentiated data is the best indicator of a meaningful DMP and data provider relationship. Check the data “vaults” of your favorite data provider. You might be surprised by what you find.

The second promise of the DMP is to activate the marketer’s data in whichever media channel, and related technology platform, is required by the marketer’s overall data strategy. A DMP enables marketers to monetize their data assets across the growing and fragmented paid, owned, and earned marketing technology landscape. Today, the list of audience syndication partners touted by DMPs is significant, but not all integrations are the same—not by a long shot.

Stay tuned for Part II of this post, where I will prescribe the remaining four tips for sizing up DMP integrations.