What You Need to Know About DMPs

by David Metter

DMPs are a topic gaining escalating attention as we head into 2017. A dark cloud of big, irrelevant data still lingers above the automotive industry, just waiting to be analyzed. What are DMPs? For those of you that don’t know, the acronym stands for Data Management Platforms. Think of a DMP as a digital warehouse of data, designed to consolidate and organize consumer data from multiple sources all in one place so that it can be put to good use.

eMarketer addressed the need for advertisers to utilize DMPs back in 2013 – a near decade ago in digital time. “If data is digital marketing’s currency, then the DMP is its bank.” So, when it comes down to whether or not to use DMPs either at the dealer or manufacturer level, really dig deep and ask yourself… do you like money?

If the answer is yes, DMPs exist to give you insights that will help you make more and save more (money that is). DMPs consolidate past and real-time consumer purchase and behavioral data across ad exchanges, networks and devices. This allows for granular audience segmentation and targeting that goes far beyond standard demographics.

DMPs aren’t just a place to aggregate and store information. They help us find the most important data points that will actually help our business. And I don’t mean help down the line or months from now, but this very second. DMPs empower us to take action and deploy personalized campaigns with quantifiable conviction. These platforms are the secret to affirming what every advertiser claims they will do, which of course is to “place the right ad, in front of the right consumer, at the right time.” Sound familiar? Without DMPs, these empty promises would remain just that - empty and unproven.

DMPs are the ultimate source of budgetary efficiency for both digital and traditional spending. By illuminating a clean, 360-degree view of a consumer’s online and offline actions, DMPs pinpoint how far along car shoppers are in the buying process. They identify who in the market has already purchased a vehicle and if they bought it from a competitive dealership or brand. On the contrary, they show which consumers are just beginning their research journey, still months away from a buying decision.

Put simply, DMPs hold your campaigns accountable for their performance and help to guide your ongoing efforts to be more relevant, impactful, and efficient with where you spend your money and who you spend your money on. Specifically for the automotive sector, DMPs may be the solution to a lot of our sales attribution problems. Everyone wants to stake claim for a vehicle sold. A DMP may be just what we need to properly assign credit where credit’s due.

When asked about DMPs, Erik Lukas, Retail Operations Manager of Subaru of America said, “If there’s ever any hope of attributing all these touch points along the shopping journey, you’ve got to have some place where all the data rolls up and you can analyze it as one set.” Aside from attribution, another much-needed use for DMP-derived insights would be for one-to-one marketing and campaign personalization. Both are becoming increasingly necessary in order for a message to stand out and resonate with car shoppers.

According to MarTech Today, “A DMP offers a central location for marketers to access and manage data like mobile identifiers and cookie IDs to create targeting segments for their digital advertising campaigns.” This is a tremendous asset for automakers when it comes to eliminating waste. For example, if you are a luxury vehicle manufacturer, DMPs can help you only target individuals or households that you know have a net income of at least $200,000 per year.

In summary, the biggest uses for DMPs in the auto industry include:

  • More accurate sales attribution
  • More opportunities for personalization and one-to-one marketing
  • Ideal audience targeting and segmentation

Data management platforms are about unification – unifying consumer data from one source to the next as their shopping journey becomes more and more complex. Big data fails to hold value unless it can be applied to better influence your most lucrative audience segment. Other industries have been using DMPs for years. Automotive has such a complex business model given our three-tier system and the fact that most transactions happen offline. Therefore, we need DMPs more than anyone.

The opportunities DMPs provide are limitless. But don’t get too wrapped up in all the ways you could use them to your advantage. Remember your one objective at the end of the day is to increase dealership revenue by selling more units and obtaining more ROs. Above all, SALES is the metric that matters and DMPs should be used primarily to generate more sales. Everything else is just noise.