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How (Not) to Fail your DMP Like a Failing Relationship

In my blog post on DMP and Online Dating, I talked about some major advantages shared by DMPs and online dating: the ability to increase scale, personalize experiences, and improve targeting efficiency. As my understanding and experience has deepened in the past three years, I realized that simply using a platform does not necessarily lead to success. You have to use them right! DMPs are essential to the new world of marketing, just like relationships to human beings, but both take a lot of effort. So, this post is about how to avoid the pitfalls of running your DMP program—which can be very similar to avoiding relationship pitfalls.  

1. Are you ready?

One of the most common mistakes we human beings make is to "jump in" to something that we are not ready for. I've done it – “everyone else has a partner, so should I!” Many businesses have the same mindset – “everyone else has a DMP, so should we!" If you've ever jumped into a relationship without considering long-term compatibility, you know where it ends. With DMPs, some businesses couldn’t get it to work, some only use it as an upgraded DSP, and some even let it sit idle because they don't have the right people and processes to use the tool!


Before licensing a DMP, you can do a quick assessment of your readiness to have a DMP, which only takes two to three weeks but can save you millions down the road.

2. Which DMP is the right one?

Nobody is perfect. The same is true of DMPs. Every tool has its advantages and disadvantages: Some have strong analytical capabilities but weak compatibility with other technology platforms; some excel at integrating first-party data, but struggle with third-party data quality. It's like picking up the signs in dating – if you are looking for companionship, but the other person needs a lot of personal space, you will struggle later. If increasing scale and reach to new prospects is your primary goal, a DMP without good quality or quantity of third-party data is not your Mr. or Ms. Right regardless of how advanced their modelling function is. 


Here is a secret that can save you from investing in the wrong tool: do a pilot with a few DMPs to compare experience and performance. While a high school romance could last forever, it doesn't hurt to try a few more options before tying the knot. Remember, you still need to do it right in the pilot, or it could lead to disaster in the full implementation! 

3. How can you live happily ever after? 

ROI to marketers is like love to human beings: we can't live without it; but it takes hard work to be successful. Buying a DMP doesn't guarantee a return, just as getting married doesn't guarantee a happily-ever-after. All happy couples nurture their relationships through doing small things every day. It's the same for your DMP. Here are a few important checkpoints to consider that can prevent you from running a successful DMP program:  

  • Is your tool properly set up? Are your DMP tags firing accurately? Your data could go missing for months without you knowing.
  • Is your CRM data carefully selected and properly categorized? Some clients directly dump millions of raw CRM data into their DMP that is not useable in digital marketing.
  • Are your audiences integrated across channels? Some businesses have different teams build different audiences to use in different channels: CRM team for emails, digital analytics team for onsite personalization, and media agencies for display and search. It means channels are still in silos. Why, then, would you have a DMP in the first place?


Don’t blame the tool if your DMP is not working as well as expected, just as you wouldn’t rush to blame your partner if your relationship is not working. Do an audit. A DMP audit can reveal issues that you never knew existed. 

All being said, there’s no failure as long as we learn something. This blog is about how not to fail. If you want to learn about how to succeed, our white papers on how to select the right DMP and nailing the DMP implementation would be a good start.