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.