When it comes to data management platforms, perceptions and misconceptions can lead to some real disappointment.

According to a Gartner research survey, many marketing professionals see data management platforms as a tool to replace data analytics. That just isn’t the case. This doesn’t mean that DMPs are all bad, though. It only means you have to know how to use them.

Implementing a DMP requires a significant investment of resources. Before making a final decision, it is important to consider many factors.

A DMP isn’t going to benefit any business if it doesn’t integrate well with legacy systems. If there isn’t someone on board with the technical skills to create and manage those interfaces, the usefulness of a DMP is reduced significantly.

In fact, in a report from Oracle and Econsultancy, of respondents believed that legacy systems were a serious roadblock. Nearly the same amount also lamented the fact that getting value out of different data sets was a real challenge. Despite these views, some DMPs do come with tools to help with integration.

They fail the user-friendly test and many places don’t have a pro on staff

The legacy integration issues alone can make successful implementation of a DMP challenging without the right staff on hand. There are other reasons as well. Most DMP systems are not even marginally intuitive. It takes an expert to administer and run one.

Many organizations do not have the expertise on hand. They may not have the resources to bring experts on board either. Companies also suffer from a general shortage of data scientists needed to fill open positions.

Things can become even more complex when there are regulatory issues to consider. In industries such as healthcare, finance or insurance, significant restrictions can exist regarding data. These restrictions can cause the value of a DMP to become nearly negligible if the business remains in compliance.

Their segmentation features can help businesses better target customers

Most data analytics tools only use the data you feed to them. A DMP uses data from multiple sources. This provides more complete sets of information that can be used for segmentation. That, of course, leads to more accurate targeting. This is something that can benefit all businesses.

One specific example of successful usage of a DMP is academic websites for college writing, that have become widely popularized in the course of the recent years.

This niche may seem rather small at first. In fact, so much so that it would seem as if further segmenting and targeting is not needed. In reality, marketers targeting consumers in the higher education market can use DMPs to identify customer segments that truly need to be targeted differently from one another. Potential segments could be ESL students, healthcare and medical students, Ivy league attendees and nontraditional students.

By identifying segments, marketers can determine the best way to target those groups with advertising and marketing efforts, including undergraduate healthcare and medical students as they prepare to attend graduate school.

Marketing professionals using paid advertising can certainly benefit from the usefulness of the DMP in segmenting target audiences and customizing advertising experiences. The holistic nature of the information provided by the DMP can help CMOs and their teams use paid advertising dollars smartly.

Determining whether or not your business needs a DMP

Before doing anything else, speak with any of your partnering marketing agencies. They may already be using a DMP behind the scenes in assisting your business. If they aren’t, they are in the best position to give you insights as to why not. They can also clue you in on future plans.

Next, consider the size of your company. Do you have adequate staff or the resources to hire a data analyst who is familiar with DMPs? Also, are you truly falling short of meeting your needs? If your current platforms and vendor relationships are adequate, the cost and resources required to adopt a data management platform may not be worth it. Reliable data analytics, campaign management through social media platforms and CRM could be all that you need.

Overcoming the challenges of a DMP

A DMP is a complex tool. Implementing it is a challenge to say the least. Using it requires a level of skill that many organizations simply do not have. DMP administration can be a challenge because the technical nature of it seems to make it a good fit for the IT department.

On the other hand, the nature of the information makes it for marketing professionals to implement it. For businesses that can benefit from a DMP, the positives can definitely make the hard work of integration and implementation worth the effort.

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Luisa Brenton

Luisa Brenton

Luisa Brenton is a business and technology blogger who covers a variety of hardware and software topics.