Who’s The Indie DMP Buyer?
“The key question for the remaining, independent DMPs is, ‘Can they establish a viable business model working with tier-two companies?’” said Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester. “DMP technology is expensive to develop, and it's costly to continuously innovate as they must in order to stay relevant.”
By tier-two company, Bidel is referring to a marketer’s size, business scope and breadth of assets; while an enterprise company may have revenue in the billions, a tier-two business might rest somewhere in the “hundreds of millions.”
Alex Rosen, managing director for IDG Ventures, which led a first-round investment in Krux in 2011, agreed that DMP selections come down to a client’s business needs and budget.
“One thing Krux did well was global frequency capping across all of your agencies, ad networks and DSPs,” Rosen said. For companies with activations across a multitude of touch points, the efficiency argument might make a large-scale DMP deployment more attractive.
“If you’re a flower shop," however, "with a $1 million marketing budget, global frequency capping may not be as huge of an issue,” Rosen added. “Maybe you’re just buying some Facebook ads, experimenting with email and you only care about having a good tag manager so, when someone converts, your web page loads properly.”
But Michael Schoen, VP of marketing services for Neustar, said even some large marketers want standalone solutions.
“With DMPs, it’s a matter of whether marketers are comfortable with solutions that come in the box from their marketing cloud,” he said.
Neustar, of course, has its own DMP (by way of its 2013 acquisition of Aggregate Knowledge) bundled with multitouch attribution and analytics from MarketShare, but Schoen said it’s not unusual to pull off multicloud deployments.
“We often see clients of Neustar who are also clients of the big marketing clouds, so the question becomes, ‘How are they using our DMP with respect to Adobe site optimization or is there third-party data they’re pulling in through Oracle?’” Schoen said.
The Emerging DMP Use Case
One reason why it’s increasingly difficult to define a DMP (or “DMP-like capability”) is that the technology use case has changed.
“If you’re just focused on frequency management across your buy, or getting a better understanding of how your Facebook media overlaps with your other media, those are all well and good pilot use cases, but you have to be thinking bigger in terms of ensuring clients are getting a consistent experience across channels,” Schoen said.
Indie DMPs are adapting to this reality. For instance, Lotame acquired its way into cross-device with its bid for AdMobius (and continues to invest in a TV capability).
Others, like Adform, MediaMath, Turn and Rocket Fuel, bundle data management capabilities as part of larger media activation businesses. MediaMath, for instance, has invested in identity management and a data co-op with an eye toward omnichannel.
Similarly, Ensighten, whose foundation is enterprise tag management, now sees itself as a customer data platform that unifies first-party (CRM and site-based) data with data from other digital touch points.
“We’re focused on the universal collection, stitching, ownership and activation of first-party data from all channels and devices, as well as the integration of offline sources,” said Josh Manion, CEO of Ensighten. “No one cloud can be everything to every marketer, so a vendor-agnostic data platform enables the broadest integration from all points. "