How DMPs are finally blowing dynamic creative wide open

Written by Martin Pavey, UK director, Flashtalking.

Lately the conversations I’m having with advertisers are dominated by the huge potential of data management platforms (DMPs). Dreams of one-to-one marketing fuel their excitement, but despite the enthusiasm, many are realizing they don’t have the knowledge or the know-how to extract value from the investment in a data platform.

DMPs can be maddeningly complex systems, but at their core they are just centralized repositories where you can organize and leverage data. Sure, it’s the obvious place to hone your audience segments, but that very same data can power a dynamic creative strategy to make your ads as relevant and impactful as your targeting is precise, tailoring experience, device, frequency and more.

Your starting point: Learning about users
A DMP lets you tap first-party data (data from your retail website, for instance), which tells you what consumers have bought, what product they’ve viewed and how long they spent shopping, among other things. Such data can be “stitched” with information from third parties to contrast how your audience behaves versus other consumers who are in the market for the same products or services.

For instance, a major retailer wants to find people who use its app and are also fans of a particular blockbuster film. Plugging in key data, they can see that a particular placement or publisher is a solid fit. The DMP then plugs into a demand-side platform (DSP) to actually execute the media plan to reach them.

And at the end of the day, having a DMP as the centralized audience manager allows for a consumer to be placed in a single segment and travel through a consistent path. This is crucial for sequential messaging.

Modulating the experience
So you’ve identified your target audience, but now creative experimentation in the form of targeted iteration will help you use the data in the most effective, if not emotionally connective and persuasive way.

Behavioral targeting can single out users interested in your brand’s product or category so that the ad buys hew closely to the media they consume. Targeting existing customers means tapping first-party data to hit them with reminders or messages about other products that are likely of interest.

Meanwhile, high-value customers should be gingerly coaxed through the purchase funnel, while you can take a “spray and pray” approach with low-value customers. With the more-valued, it’s important not to offer too many messages, which could turn the consumer off. Generally, past experience and data will show you where ad exposure can be capped (like five times, for instance.)

Experimenting with different offers at different times to disparate audiences can help you find which work best. ConAgra used its DMP for exactly this purpose: Taking the approach of “one consumer, one message,” it started with a diverse range of creative combinations matched to each consumer based on their individual behavioral signals.

When you are marketing products as diverse as tomato sauce and popcorn, a DMP can parse the CRM data to find out which product message works for which consumer – and when. The brand’s post-campaign measurement saw a 300 percent jump in consumers with intent to use Hunt’s tomatoes and nearly a 200 percent brand lift for recognition of its use of steam to peel the fruit.

With the power of a DMP, the Hunt’s campaign found a sweet spot for the number of offers it ran. Too many offers overwhelms the consumer with choice, making them less likely to make a decision. Interestingly, when delivering multiple offers, having an odd number can increase the likelihood of an indecisive consumer makes a choice. It’s the Goldilocks principle: A consumer ends up in the middle with the offer that is “just right.”

Finding the right partner
Given the number of variables involved, it’s unrealistic to expect a marketer to tap the full power of dynamic creative execution and optimization without some outside help. Ideally, a third party with some experience with DMPs will be able to advise about the types of creative, media and strategy that works best — dialing in the right options and executions for rich media, video, mobile and other dynamic variables. Such a partner can also provide a realistic framework for measuring success and will know the most productive, effective way to collaborate across the other teams in the process: account, media, creative and, of course, the DMP team itself.

It’s often only then – when a CMO has fully grasped the DMP’s capabilities and has tapped an outside partner to employ their data in a thoroughly strategic way — that the marketer can really harness the system for one-to-one marketing that fuses data-driven audience targeting with equally precise dynamic creative messaging.

Learn more about how to leverage data to drive your programmatic creative strategy.

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