Modern marketers agree, Big Data is not only here to stay, it’s the foundation to virtually all current and future successful campaigns in today’s predominantly digital landscape. If there’s consensus around the power of Big Data, then marketers are already on track to optimize this data for the benefit of the brands they serve, right? Wrong.
There’s never been more data than there is today, and according to CSC, the annual rate of data generation and new sources is expected to increase four times by 2020. Similarly, Scott Brinker points to 40% growth in the number of solutions and products in 2017 alone. Knowing how to tap into the almost overwhelming available data streams to drive insight, actionable use cases and outcomes is the Big Question with Big Data today.
In order to get the marketing engine and data-driven systems running at full power, there are three key things CMOs and CTOs need to do to: First, brands must act like data companies; second, start to invest in a robust data platform; and third, adopt identity as the audience standard to catalyze your people-based marketing strategy.
Act Like a Data Company — BYOD
If, as the Economist earlier this year noted, “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data,” then companies that can effectively understand all their own data sources and determine the additional sources they need to fully drive leadership with customer experience will win every moment of the new marketing funnel. In short, bring your own data (BYOD) and know what data you need to complete your people-based marketing strategy.
Across verticals, first-party data collection has been happening for years, but many companies have not known how to effectively process and use that data to optimize consumer engagement. For these companies, a thorough inventory of current data and its structure, analysis of its provenance and assessment of associated permissions are in order.
Invest (Wisely) in Data Platforms
Those seeking to fully leverage the promise of people-based marketing must invest in a unified data platform to ensure a cohesive view of the customer. This includes investments in cloud infrastructure and solutions that allow for data posting and structuring, as well as identity resolution. Net, brands and agencies have to go beyond the data management platform (DMP), which is largely sourcing media data.
While the emergence of DMPs shows promise for helping marketers make sense of the droves of data, one consideration is that they are ultimately steeped in media data, and don’t include third-party or point of sale information for a total view of your customer. Companies must draw a distinction between unified data platforms and what a DMP really does, which is manage cookie IDs and generate audience segments. In order for a company’s data to be robust, it needs to be inclusive of all data sources, not just media data. In today’s world all companies need a unified, omnichannel view of customers that brings every moment of customer experience together to make better sales, product, pricing, inventory and marketing decisions. This is a truly transformational shift.
Adopt Identity as Your Standard
To reap the rewards of people-based marketing, investing in identity is another key imperative. For brands to deliver a truly personalized consumer experience across channels, identity and identity resolution are foundational capabilities to connect the dots across any marketing stack. Doing this in a deterministic, privacy-compliant manner is the only way to enable true people-based targeting, measurement and personalization.
Companies must go beyond single-channel, first-party data, and combine their own data with second- and third-party data, matching and resolving identities to ensure there is no duplication when using omnichannel marketing. While Facebook and Google are big players in the identity space in the digital realm, data generated offline in brick-and-mortar retail outlets should not be overlooked. The next frontier for data analytics will be capturing consumer activity in both digital and physical environments, and it’s the players that can interlink online and offline insights and action that will be at the forefront.
Marketers have never had a greater opportunity to identify their audiences and accurately reach them across channels and platforms. But Big Data’s power needs to be harnessed the right way, and companies need to understand and manage their data in order to lay the foundations for success. By grasping and adopting omnichannel, people-based marketing, brands can set themselves up to win the battle for consumer attention and loyalty.