Technology has drastically changed how – and where – customers interact with brands. As expectations evolve, advertisers face the challenge of creating positive customer experiences by reaching them on the right channels at the right times. Fortunately, marketers have a powerful weapon available to them, which is the first-party data that they already own.
As the challenge of cross-channel engagement with connected consumers becomes all the more real, marketers are embracing first-party data as vital to their success. In fact, a study conducted by Signal in partnership with Econsultancy found 82% of respondents believe first-party data is how they will win the battle for customer understanding and engagement.
Moving forward, marketers must first look to leverage their own resources and technology partners to succeed and stay relevant among consumers. Here are five things marketers can do better using the data they already own:
1. Digital Ad Targeting
In today’s cross-channel world, effective, data-driven targeting is vital to both the success of ad campaigns and the pursuit of creating a positive, memorable customer experience. This is especially important as marketers increase their ad budgets to keep up with predominantly digital consumers. According to Magna Global, digital ad spending is expected to grow 13.5% in 2016, and will overtake TV as the largest advertising category by the end of 2017.
To ensure these massive budgets are used efficiently, marketers must activate on as much of their first party data as possible using persistent addressable media solutions – rather than transient identifiers like cookies– to maximize the relevance of their ads to potential customers and decrease ad waste. And according to consumer preferences, the investment will pay off: A study by Magnetic and Retail TouchPoints found 52% of consumers say they want the information shared with them to be relevant to their personal taste, style, age group or location.
2. Seamless Cross-Channel Experiences
Customers today operate in a cross-channel world, and expect brands to accommodate their dynamic shopping journeys. Marketers who embrace this trend stand to win, not only by improving the customer experience but by earning more revenue. In fact, a study by IDC showed cross-channel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.
Brands can tap into – and profit from – these customer behaviors by building a cross-channel data asset that tracks consumer engagement with their brand on a personal level, rather than a channel level. By building a data set tied to a persistent ID that includes all brand engagements, including those in mobile and offline, they have the ability to recognize their customers as they transition between channels and devices, and ensure the shopping experience as a whole is seamless.
3. Loyalty and Retention
The desire for more targeted messaging and the rapid adoption of cross-channel shopping means marketers need to go above and beyond to cultivate loyalty in the digital age. In fact, Accenture found only 28% of customers are loyal to their providers and brands, a reality that is exacerbated by the fact that digital makes it easier for them to switch quickly. In short, marketers who want to build a stronger relationship with their customers, or even just retain them, need to be thinking about how to continue to be relevant to them.
The good news, though, is brands that use valuable first-party data – such as CRM data – to enhance the customer experience are empowered to continue brand conversations long after an initial purchase is made. Beyond that, marketers that use this data to customize shopping experiences are less likely to lose valuable customers.
Shoppers today want their experiences to be personalized, and marketers who hope to retain their most valuable customers must make this a priority. To underscore this reality, 87% of companies have seen a lift of at least 5% in their most important metrics thanks to making their websites more relevant to their users, and 39% have seen an increase of 20% in these same metrics. Marketers can do personalization more effectively by using their first-party data to customize the customer’s shopping journey – and actually recognize those shoppers – across all channels.
It’s not enough to just implement marketing strategies that will increase the relevance of ads. It is also important to understand whether or not those actions are actually driving more sales. However, many advertisers today lack the right technologies and approach to conduct thorough cross-channel analysis. According to a survey by The CMO Club, only 20% of respondents reported using cross-channel data and attribution to evaluate all marketing touchpoints.
First-party data gives marketers the ability to measure and analyze the entirety of the shopper journey and see every engagement on a customer’s path to conversion. The result is understanding what touchpoints matter most, and how to effectively communicate with consumers. Digital marketing and media practitioners are catching on to this reality. As a survey by the IAB Data Center of Excellence and Winterberry Group revealed, 58% of respondents cited cross-channel measurement and attribution as the next big thing for data in 2016.
First-party data is one of the marketer’s most valuable assets for solving the problem of creating a positive customer experience in a cross-channel world. However, in order to activate on this data, marketers need the right technologies and addressable media solutions. By partnering with providers that allow them to onboard their data and leverage it across digital channels, marketers can develop better relationships with their customers through effective targeting, seamless experiences, improved loyalty, personalization and more insightful measurement.
Originally published March 30, 2016