4 Reasons Why Marketers Need an Open First-Party Data Platform

The targeted advertising services offered by Internet giants like Google and Facebook are popular with many marketers, who often find the platforms offer simplicity, large audiences, and efficiency. These “walled gardens” can be especially appealing to advertisers under pressure to deliver instant results.

But cross-channel marketing is about more than connecting web or mobile to social. And many marketers discover that the more customer information they share with these platforms, the less control they have over their first-party data and their customer relationships.

These marketers are turning to open data platforms to ensure that they keep vital control of their data. Open data platforms offer crucial value that walled gardens don’t: a true relationship with your customers, and complete ownership of your data and the customer journey.

To explain why open platforms are the key to fulfilling a cross-channel identity strategy, here are four reasons why open platforms are so important for marketers:

1. The world is your oyster.

 On an open data platform, you get to choose which partners, tools, and technologies you use. Swap them in and out as your needs change and the possibilities grow. You decide what data flows through your system, and to where.

2. You’re in control.

With an open platform, you always maintain ownership of your data. That helps you keep your data clean, and it gives you the ability to take your data with you when you leave a vendor or a campaign is over. Control of your data is crucial to attaining a single customer view and getting a handle on digital identity.

Proprietary technologies (like those sold by walled gardens) can be useful in the short term, but in the long term, problems arise. With an incomplete view of your data, you lose the ability to view the customer journey across all touchpoints, measure your media performance, and identify the most effective channels for customer engagement. Your relationship with the customer is long-term; quick fixes via walled gardens can endanger your role in that relationship.

3. Remove the media conflict of interest.

One problem with walled gardens is that those companies want to control the relationship with your customers, and then sell you the means of communicating with them. Do you really want the company that’s connecting your data to be the same one that’s selling you ads? We recommend always keeping ownership your own data, so that you don’t end up getting stuck buying media from a vendor who now controls your audience.

4. It’s future-proof.

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Open platforms plug and play easily with the vast array of marketing technologies that exist across the ecosystem, as well as new ones that will emerge in the future. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting locked into yesterday’s technology, so it’s important to build in flexibility.

Open platforms are your ticket to creating great customer experiences and solving the identity puzzle.

Signal is an open data platform—a very powerful one, at that. We built it from the ground up to be the customer data platform that connects all of a brand’s online and offline channels, so marketers can focus on creating amazing customer experiences and relationships. Our platform makes it possible for to act on customer signals in real time.

We believe that open platforms are the best way to make sure that you keep control of your data, now and forever.

To learn more about open data platforms and understand their value to marketers, download read our guide, Open Platforms 101.


Originally published June 29, 2015

Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Signal, and the editor of Signal's blogs. She worked previously at the University of Chicago, Rackspace, and NPR.

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