The foundation to having a single source of truth about your customers comes from having a clear data strategy that can guide your marketing. This way, everyone in your company can be speaking the same data language.
There are five areas where you’re going to want to focus your data strategy.
Proprietary and first-party data—Everything should start with your first-party data, the information you have about your customers. This is perhaps your most important competitive advantage. Don’t make compromises when using it, and don’t give it away freely.
Closing the gap between data and creative—This is as much organizational as it is strategic. Creative and data teams need to work together. But often, when this occurs, everyone kind of panics a little bit and thinks the data team is worried that creative is soft-touch and it’s hard to quantify. The creative team, meanwhile, is worried data is just going to tell them things that just take the thinking out of the creative process. So your strategy should lay out the ground rules for their interaction.
Leading and lagging indicators—If you don’t have a very simple or short consumer journey, it’s important to understand how different metrics can ladder up to the end goal. Marketers want to determine if we’re driving interest, consideration and action, and constantly bring in new data sources to make our models more robust.
Transparency and control—A transparent model with business objectives and motivations aligned shows you who is using the data, where it is going and how everything is implemented. And do you have either control of strategy, or are you able to implement a first-party, data-first strategy? Ensure everything is working as you’ve planned, that you’re able to implement second- and third-party data when you want, and that you’re keeping all your partners accountable.
Creating a connected ad experience—Data must be actionable and serve a purpose. Using data for the sake of data is where a lot of brands get tripped up. By using all of your data and creative assets in tandem you set the foundation for a great customer experience via thoughtful cross-channel advertising.
Getting to the truth
So, what’s next? First, brands need to move toward an experience data lens. Advertising data was once about maximizing reach by suppressing customers that were already seen, but now that’s only part of the conversation. It is also critical to keep awareness high, leveraging data and your understanding of it to drive relevant experiences across channels.
Next, marketers need to master personalization at scale. Remember that every segment of your audience—your loyalists, your lapsed customers, your emerging prospects—requires a different creative message. Use your single source of truth to build out that personal creative.
Lastly, unite pre-visit and post-visit data so you can maintain your view of the customer both before they engage and after they buy. Pre-visit data includes valuable advertising paths. Develop an understanding of how those different paths are driving people to a site, and once they get there, how they are interacting. What are the valuable site paths driving revenue?
Once you have that complete picture, you can determine the valuable site paths, and the data becomes your foundation, with paid, owned and earned media on top along with elements like site visitation data, metrics within an analytics platform, and ad performance data to form your customer experience backbone.
That’s what will turn your data into a true competitive advantage that impacts not only customer experience but also your bottom line.