Commentary

Bridging the Gap Between On- and Offline Marketing With CRM

The advertising industry currently stands at the beginning of an era, where an immense amount of valuable offline data -- retailer, registration, mover -- is finally actionable for online targeting. The biggest impact will likely come from CRM data, which has provided marketers with an offline profile of their customers for generations.

As those profiles make their way to the digital world and become aligned with online data, advertisers may be surprised to find their digital versions of consumers looking wildly different from what they’d expected.

CRM can erase any confusion between online and offline marketing, and the combination of both sources should influence and educate the marketing plan for both forms of media. Instead of demographics, cookie syncs find real consumers online. Rather than relying on retargeting (which shows conversion intent only in theory), marketers can customize their approach for a past customer, a frequent customer, or a periodic customer.

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Consider retailers with historical ties to direct-mail catalogs. These brands have files on their catalog recipients going back several years. The odds are favorable that several of these catalog recipients already shop online, but the CRM file may list them only as catalog recipients. These consumers have likely changed from the first time they received the catalog, so while the initial contact may have been made when they were in their 20s, they may now be in their mid-30s with a family.

Every consumer goes through similar life changes after the initial seed is planted. They may move into the luxury bracket or the discount bracket. Maybe they have a family and buy clothing for five people instead of one. A consumer’s digital footprint can pave the way for a number of different segments, from recreational traveler to sale shopper to a growing family. When combined with the CRM data, this digital information forms intent data models, which translate to online targeting models, which marketers can test against their current business rules.

This builds a deeper understanding of customers, allowing brands to tailor their messaging for a tighter, more relevant ad experience. Airlines can leverage destination points alongside frequent flyer registration information. Auto marketers can use the long buying funnel to tailor messaging aimed at upselling a car or leasing plan. Banks and credit card companies can alter their offers and rates.

At present, CRM data is often in a silo separated from digital planning. Email lists are often part of customer files, which are not part of the same digital marketing database. Different internal teams at the brand control this data and often rely on third parties, such as their ad partners or data management companies, to anonymize the data and prepare it for a cookie sync.

The challenge for any marketer is the lack of a perfect one-to-one match while connecting the dots between CRM and digital marketing data. Marketers can run into problems when they lack critical scale or too low of a match rate. Still, that doesn’t mean that small file sizes don’t work. If marketers see an audience trend, there are other forms of modeling they can do to expand the size of the audience pool. As long as it’s good first-party data, there’s a chance to turn onboarding into a successful campaign tactic.

Brands shouldn’t overthink this strategy, as they need to accelerate innovation. With the right security and privacy protocols in place, the robust data sets available create an immense opportunity that could reshape the way brands market online. The more aggressive marketers are while adopting approaches for onboarding CRM data, the further ahead they’ll get on their competition.

1 comment about "Bridging the Gap Between On- and Offline Marketing With CRM".
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  1. Blair Symes from DialogTech, May 8, 2015 at 2:02 p.m.

    Great points. I would add that proper and complete tracking of conversions from every channel is critical to using your CRM to its fullest. You have to be able to tie online and offline conversions to the specific channel that drove them, then use the CRM system to track those leads through the sales funnel to revenue. You can use a marketing automation system like Marketo, HubSpot, or Act-On for the online component, then a call attribution solution like DialogTech for tracking call conversions from your digital and offline marketing.

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