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How to make your brand data work harder online

How to make your brand data work harder online

By Robin Davies, UK Country Manager, Mediaplex

Most brand marketing teams now know that the customer and sales data they own has huge value as a means to enhance the performance of their online marketing.

For example, many brands are now deciding not to give this valuable asset away in exchange for access to some third party technologies, which promise to optimise online strategies.

But making the best use of the huge swathes of big data that large consumer-facing brands own holds many challenges; recognising its value is just the first. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are emerging as a central tool in most marketing departments, aggregating and analysing a rich mix of data sources from raw sales, transactional information, inventory, customer profiles, online interactions and audience behaviour with external information such as the weather, currency and commodity prices etc.

There are however three immediate challenges which marketers should be aware off in order to get the best out of their DMP and proprietary.

Challenge 1: Get ready for the single customer view

Whether you are responsible for customer acquisition budgets or spend intended for brand development, you will need to be gearing your data strategy to make the most of the arrival of the “single customer view”. This is the step change towards tracking audience behaviour across different devices enabling online marketing strategies to join the dots between individuals browsing on their desktop, smart phone and or tablet computers.

To date, the reliance on cookies (which are unique to each browser) has meant our knowledge of individuals online browsing is fragmented by device.

The ability to join consumers’ cookie IDs into a common client ID to result in a single perspective on browsing across devises is the hottest ticket in the ad tech sector enabling brands to:

•    Attribute conversions to media correctly rather than incorrectly
•    Pay competitive prices for reaching customers across biddable display on any of their devices
•    Deliver a more appropriate or considered message to customers on any of their devices

Challenge 2: Serving the most effective creative recipe

A single customer view across all digital devices creates the possibility of far richer segmentation profiles in your DMP, enabling far more sophisticated targeting and the dynamic assembly of creative executions across all media.

This however is only part of the story. Good data management platforms will compare offline sales or conversion data with online advertising spend and the profiles of customers that interacted with digital media. This offline data integration with online audience interaction information, can paint a far richer and fuller picture of how brands are interacting with audiences across many touch points.

For example, brands often have valuable CRM profiles on customers based on both their online and offline interactions and transaction history, including call centres. With the right permissions these attributes can be imported into the data management platform for future activation within a digital marketing strategy. A key question to ask is whether your DMP can manage this level of online-offline integration?

Challenge 3: Where should my data management platform sit in my supplier mix?

Should your brand DMP be managed by your agency? With a third party ad technology provider? In-house or partially mirrored as a combination of these?  This is a huge subject in itself, especially as many major advertisers are now considering developing their own in-house data management expertise.

A central question for DMPs housed within agencies is whether this kit can keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology within an ad tech sector awash with VC cash.

For those supplied by specialists ad tech providers, marketers should ask whether a piecemeal approach to digital marketing makes the best use of their big data picture and whether they’re comfortable allowing some third party suppliers to share their valuable proprietary customer records.

For those who use integrated ad tech companies offering access to multiple channels and solutions, ask whether they are sharing or using your data across their other customer operations.

For brands looking to become self-sufficient in the data management field, the question is can their investment keep pace with best practice?

Data management offers huge potential marketing riches, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easily, so it’s worth recognising the challenges along the way.

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