Data Onboarding Explained: Is your marketing 1:1, or one-and-done?

The future of marketing is now. Gone are the days of dumping money into programmatic advertising, chasing cookies around the Internet and hoping the lookalike segments somehow translate into a purchase. These one-and-done campaigns left even the savviest marketers unsure who they were advertising to, which campaigns were most effective and how to tie it all back to their existing CRM data. Marketers were left working in a vacuum, scrounging up as much data as they could access, only to lose it all and start from scratch when the next campaign began.

The emergence of data onboarding — the process of connecting offline and online customer data — began to solve this decades-long disconnect, promising marketers the ability to finally target real customers in real time. But even now, how do you know you’re not just reaching real customers, but the right real customers? And once you do reach them, are you sending the right message, to the right channel, at the right time?

In other words, onboarding introduced a new challenge that most vendors still aren’t solving: accuracy.

Consider a wife who spends hours using her husband’s computer to search for a new couch, sending a few finalists to her email before finalizing a purchase the next day. Not only is she still getting ads weeks later, so is her husband — for both the couch they purchased, and others just like it. The husband even got an email reminder that he had items in his cart, one of which was — you guessed it — the couch the couple already bought.

It’s clear these furniture retailers are making assumptions based on shopping behavior that’s now weeks if not months old — assumptions that were never validated, repeated or related to anything else the couple’s done since clicking “buy.” Imagine the money these companies are shelling out to activate redundantly, not to mention much too late.

This stale data is a result of old batch uploads. And it’s a common crime for one-and-done onboarders.

Signal is the only identity solution that not only onboards your first-party data in seconds, but resolves it back to a persistent profile using fresh data gathered from its always-on 100% deterministic identity network for real-time activation. These constant updates ensure you are activating only the freshest most accurate data, delivering your customers true 1:1 marketing experiences when they’re shopping — and suppressing them from the campaign as soon as they buy.

Compare that to vendors using probabilistic data (like IP address, device type, browser type, location and operating system) to create likely statistical connections between devices, hinging their activation on a guess. These connections boost match rates (the metric used in onboarding to measure the quality of a marketer’s first-party data as compared to onboarders’ truth sets) and reach, but the majority of those IDs are either not available to purchase in your DSP or worse: you buy the impressions for someone that isn’t your target, wasting money and risking your brand reputation.

And as for those un-addressable IDs? Without Signal, all is lost until the next onboard. This means you are not only paying again to onboard these unusable IDs, but in the meantime, they are not even available to collect new behaviors, resolve back to a known ID or — most importantly — activate and market to that customer.

Signal urges brands to look beyond cookies, device numbers and match rates to a truly relevant measure of value: addressability. This KPI measures the ability for brands to accurately identify, reach and engage individuals across channels, using deterministic, known customer information such as hashed emails and anonymized user login information.

Because Signal collects new data in real time, discards cookies after thirty days, and consolidates onboarding and activation into one step, those stale, inaccurate data points never come into play, making Signal’s match and addressability rates the same. With Signal, what you see is what you get — and more importantly, what you pay for.

So do you want to be the brand that keeps trying to sell your customer a couch she already bought, or the one that suggests getting the rug to match? Choose an onboarder whose outcomes are based on accuracy, not inflated data sets and match rates, to remain competitive and relevant.

Originally published September 20, 2018

Joe Doran

A seasoned executive with 20 years of experience at companies including General Mills, Microsoft, Media6Degrees (now Dstillery) and Rallyverse, Joe is dedicated to creating technology solutions that make digital marketing more addressable, scalable and efficient. He was formerly Chief Identity Officer at Signal.

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