Forrester Wave Reveals Leading DMP Providers

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Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester
Susan Bidel, senior analyst at Forrester

Forrester Research Inc named Salesforce, Adobe, MediaMath, Neustar, and Oracle "leaders" in its Q2 2017 Forrester Wave: Data Management Platforms (DMPs) report. The research and advisory firm featured 11 DMP providers in its report, which were evaluated against 35 criteria centering on current offering,  strategy, and market presence.

Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester, says these leaders are “well received” by their current customer base and have an “expansive view” of both their product offering and the data that they're collecting, buying, and integrating across their organizations.

“They have a vision [and] they're acting on that vision at the same time they're delivering their current product to a current product base,” says Bidel, who coauthored the report with Forrester analyst Samantha Merlivat.

Many of these leading platforms are the products of acquisitions. As the report notes, Salesforce closed its acquisition of Krux in November 2016 and rebranded as Salesforce DMP last month. It also states that Adobe acquired Demdex in 2011, and that MediaMath announced its purchase of Akamai's data co-op business in 2013. But it was Oracle who went on a real buying spree—acquiring AddThis, BlueKai, Crosswise, Datalogix, Maxymiser, and Moat, according to the report.

Bidel says this pattern signifies two things: a recognition of expertise for specific point solutions and a move towards consolidation.

“If I'm a company and I want to offer certain kinds of solutions,” she says, “I could choose to try and assemble the engineers with that kind of expertise and build it myself... or I can go and buy the already interesting and well-respected solution in the area.”

Nielsen, Lotame, KBM Group, Adform, and Turn were ranked as "strong performers" in the group. While Bidel says these DMP providers have “good” products, she also says they don't have the same kind of expansive data—claiming that they're more focused on tactics, like programmatic media buying, than overall strategy.

The ADEX was the only one featured in the "contender" category. The report acknowledges that The ADEX is a “relative newcomer to the space” and says it offers clients value in terms of privacy, data security, change management, and user interface flexibility; however, it states that the vendor still “has work to do” in terms of developing its professional service, custom report creation, scenario-planning, and segment creation and management capabilities. Bidel also says that The ADEX primarily focuses on European operations and, as a result, has to abide by European privacy laws that not all U.S.-focused DMP providers have to deal with.

Bidel acknowledges that DMPs can be “very expensive,” citing cost as one of providers' biggest challenges and main drivers of consolidation. However, the report states that DMPs can still offer several benefits, like helping with programmatic media buying, keeping consistent with marketing communications across channels, and having “customer-obsessed” operations. Bidel says these platforms can be used beyond these areas, too and influence things like marketing emails, social communications, and call centers. And while she says digital media teams and marketers have been the main ones to use DMPs, she also says that people in other departments, like product development, can benefit from their implementation, such as by identifying who their customers are and are not.

For marketers on the fence about purchasing a DMP, Bidel encourages them to look at their data: Do they have first-party data and are they making good use of it? If not, is there a way they can get organization-wide access to better data? Either way, Bidel says investing in a DMP can bring great value.

“I believe that, in the age of the customer, that a deep knowledge of who your customer is based on [customer data] and the insights derived from the DMP will make the DMP the brains of the organization,” she says.

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