Review of Forrester’s 2015 DMP Wave Update

Did you see the latest 2015 update to the Forrester Wave on Data Management Platforms (DMPs)? No? Maybe that’s because they decided to bury it inside a different piece of research. (It’s a classic case of burying the lede.) In what could be a detailed analysis of the current offerings (including their differences) in the marketplace, they instead provide a brief update focusing on similarities through the lens of measurement. We like to think of it as a handy shortlist of leading DMP options, not as detailed as a traditional Wave, but nice to have all the same.

You can see for yourself here.

DMP update critique aside, the report is one of the most thorough and well-written pieces of content to come out of Forrester in some time (and believe me, I read them all). In addition to the DMP update, you find a treasure-trove of detail on the current state of marketing measurement.

My personal takeaways:

  • Here’s something we’ve been talking about for years which Forrester now validates: Marketers all measure (at some level of sophistication), but few measure the right things. Very few marketers currently tie display and search exposure into their attribution, looking only at the views most convenient instead of those most complete. I love the concept of “measurement nirvana” introduced in the report. There’s even a quiz to self-assess you measurement maturity – helpful!


  • Technology has caught up (more or less), so now it seems that it’s the brands themselves stunting the growth toward marketing maturity. Culture, organization, data and technology are the four areas Forrester mentions as roadblocks to reaching full measurement potential. In other words, marketers have reason to respond with “It’s not me, it’s you” when having internal discussions. (Note that the report provides practical advice on how to break through those roadblocks to advance to the next level, which is also nice.)


  • There are three types of metrics that marketing leaders need to be concerned about. If they can nail those three areas, they’ll look like rock stars. But to do so, you need to measure your messaging and your media more holistically and efficiently, which requires a robust DMP solution to handle the end-to-end customer-centric view. Connect, converse, convince, convert then stay connected– each point needs to synch with data and feedback loops for relevance across devices and points of interaction in real time. (It’s already happening – are you there yet?)


  • Call them silos or swim lanes… the fact is that most organizations collect and measure data as if the customer journey follows a straight path. It doesn’t. People bounce all over and your internal alignment needs to support that fact.


  • Most shocking stat: “More than half of marketers are using deeply flawed attributive measurement — or none at all — in spite of employing multiple media buys and channels. And our most recent survey of digital marketers indicates that fewer than 10% use algorithmic attribution.”

Analysts Susan Bidel and Richard Joyce did a fantastic job in providing useful, in-depth analysis of the current state of marketing measurement, down to providing hands-on tips for the marketing leader. It’s really great stuff. Check it out.


AdAge: Get a DMP Reality Check (February 2015)

Forrester Research Inc.: “Measurement Is A Digital Media Buyer’s Best Friend” (January 26, 2015)

Gartner: Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs (December 2014)

IgnitionOne & Netmining: The Big Book of Digital Marketing (January 2015)

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