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Four Steps to Maximising Your DMP Investment

Disillusioned with your DMP?

So, you invested in a DMP in recent years with the intention of using it to deliver personalised experiences to your customers across all channels, at scale, and in real-time.

You delivered some initial use cases with promising results, but now performance has plateaued, and you are becoming pessimistic about the capabilities of the platform.

The technology vendor’s sales team is in the bad books for selling you a dream and disappearing with the licensing fee.

Now you’re under pressure within your business for sponsoring a technology project that has yet to deliver return on investment.

Disillusioned with your DMP?

Sound familiar?

What if there is still a solution?

Before you consider ripping out and replacing your DMP with the industry’s latest audience platform, a CDP, rethink – that is not the answer! The two platforms are not designed to achieve the same objectives and, in fact, work together in a very complementary fashion.

The DMP is still capable of providing all of the functionality that got you excited when you first met that sales guy that is no longer on your Christmas card list.

It requires a change of mindset and some organisational re-alignment, but you can still deliver performance and make yourself famous, within your organisation and beyond.


OK, so what do you need to do?

Below are the four key steps to help you drive increased DMP maturity:


  1. Pivot to an enterprise DMP approach rather than using your DMP as a media activation tool
  • The true strength of a DMP is consolidation of all of your 1st party data, resolution of IDs into one unique customer profile and creation of ultra-targeted segments of high-value customers that can then be further scaled using 2nd and 3rd party data. This will enable you to deliver consistent and personalised experiences to your customers and prospects not just via Programmatic, Paid Search and Paid Social, but also via email, on your website and even in-store or through customer service lines.   
  • If you just want to activate your website data, you can do this by integrating an analytics platform and a DSP.
  • Media efficiencies such as frequency capping and exclusions are necessary and will help the DMP to ‘wash its own face’, but if you want to extract the full value from your DMP you need to look to the wider marketing cloud and also use it as a tool for delivering next generation use cases such as audience analytics and insights rather than just focusing on legacy media use cases.
  • Delivering success in small pockets is good, but it’s crucial not to get stuck in a test and learn loop. Operationalising the technology at pace and scale is imperative to delivering ROI.
  1. Develop a robust audience strategy to support your DMP
  • The DMP is not a silver bullet when it comes to successful audience activation; it should be viewed as piping that enables you to ingest, consolidate, segment and syndicate your audience data for activation.
  • You need to have an advanced audience strategy in place to support your DMP.
  • The strategy should include the building of intelligent audiences by aggregating all of your customer data and using a querying tool to run analysis and understand what makes a customer high-value. This allows you to build more advanced audience models by looking beyond the Boolean logic approach available within the DMP.
  • Once these audiences have been created and activated via the DMP, measurement and optimisation become the priority. To deliver this successfully you’ll need to create a testing framework that includes hypotheses, methodologies, dependencies, tool requirements, goals and KPIs to compare performance of your new, intelligent audiences against that of your legacy targeting strategies.
  1. Surround yourself with the right team
  • Operating a DMP is a niche skillset and few people have a proven track record of driving business value through DMP implementation and activation. This is the primary reason that DMPs have already stagnated within a number of businesses.
  • We recommend a ‘hub and spoke approach’ whereby the DMP owner within your organisation can lean on a large support team of internal and external experts such as IT, CRM, Web Analytics, Search, Social, Programmatic and perhaps most importantly your DMP and DSP support partners.
  • It’s crucial that all of these team members are aligned and working towards the same objectives.
  1. Assess the maturity level of your DMP
  • Review all of the competencies that make up the integration strategy, planning, implementation and activation elements of your DMP usage.
  • Use that assessment to understand your existing maturity level.
  • Build a roadmap of technical enhancements and advanced use cases to take that maturity level from where it is today to where you would like it to get to in the future.
  • Make sure you have a robust testing and measurement plan in place to prove how the technical enhancements and use cases identified have driven improved performance and generated additional value for your business.



If the content above rings true then you are not alone. Globally, many DMP implementations have reached a plateau of productivity. Conversely, when the foundations of success are in place DMPs remain capable of driving a large amount of business value. Attempting to mask the problem with another audience platform is only going to compound the issue. It's time for a reboot. You now need to look beyond legacy media activation use cases, develop a strong audience strategy, get the right people and structure in place and assess your existing DMP maturity level. If you can complete all of this successfully you will be well on your way to creating an action plan of technical enhancements and advanced use cases to ensure you extract maximum value from your investment.

Merkle are highly experienced in audience strategy, measurement and optimisation as well as platform consultancy, implementation, maturity assessment and managed-service or in-housing. Please get in touch to find out more.