Unified Data Management Requires Unified Teams

alibohraData-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Ali Bohra, director of product marketing at Adobe.

Are you reaching your audience where they are most often? It’s an increasingly important question for marketers today.

The rapid proliferation of digital devices over the past four years has created an explosion in digital media consumption. comScore reports that from December 2010 to December 2014, total digital media usage grew 157%, with time spent on smartphones growing by 394%, tablets 1,721% and desktop usage by 37%.

The ever more sophisticated consumer now must be reached with ever more sophisticated marketing and advertising technology. At the center of this data convergence sits the data-management platform (DMP). It ingests and harnesses first-, second- and third-party audience data to segment audiences and deliver personalized experiences throughout the customer journey and across digital marketing channels.

However, choosing, implementing and managing a DMP come with challenges. In many organizations, the teams that manage the individual data inputs for a DMP operate independently with little interaction. But the power of unified data management is only as good as the unification of the people that operate the inputs, the platform itself and the outputs. Such unification may require an organizational transformation.

Inherent Challenges

Teams may manage individual data inputs that include site analytics, email, search, display, social and CRM, in addition to third-party data from advertising and audience platforms. Content and advertising teams often operate separately.

This disparate nature of marketing and advertising team structure can be a hindrance to the promise of better audience segmentation, campaign personalization and targeted campaign messaging offered by unifying data within a DMP.

In other words, implementing a DMP requires an organizational shift to generate greater alignment around audience-driven marketing.  The most successful marketing organizations take a top-down approach when implementing a DMP. Without buy-in from the C-suite, including the chief information officer, chief technology officer and chief marketing officer, the power of the DMP to more effectively attract and engage audiences will be diminished.

Success Factors

While each organization has its unique challenges, identifying stakeholders and IT contacts for each data input is a key first step. Typically this means gathering team members that work on the site, such as content and analytics, as well as those that direct traffic to it, which would include email, search, display and social. It also entails enlisting representatives from multiple business units, such as customer service and retail. The legal department may also need to be involved to address privacy issues.

Determining the funding source for the DMP and reporting structure for the staff needed to operate it is another step for the organization implementing a DMP. It will be necessary to invest in training existing staff, and hiring additional staff may also be required. The individual with ownership of the DMP serves a unique role in bridging the gap between content and ad teams, and the rest of the organization must be aligned to enable that person to do his or her job. In a unified marketing organization, there is no room for functional silos or fiefdoms.

Mapping out customer touch points and determining how to deliver more relevant messaging and offers based on audience insights is another key factor in successful management of a DMP. Data-driven insights that are not acted upon undermine the technology and staffing investment. Therefore, teams on creative, ad buying and content marketing functions must also be aligned around getting the most out of audience data.

Creating organizational alignment, harnessing technical resources and implementing audience insights is no small task. Like most challenges, it comes with many rewards, namely a seamless customer experience and improved customer satisfaction, engagement and ROI. An organization that chooses to unify its data with a DMP benefits by unifying teams around its audiences, which creates better experiences for customers, wherever they may be.

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