Data Onboarding Explained: Most vendors are wasting time and money

Do you know what your customers did today? How about what they did an hour ago? In fact, what are they doing right now?

The answers to all of these questions matter. They mean knowing whether someone is shopping for a specific product, or just browsing options. Whether a shopper is searching for the lowest price, or seeking the highest quality. Whether she’s looking for help, or ready to buy.

But to get these answers, you need to be able to resolve customer identities. And you can’t do that without data onboarding — the technical process of uploading offline customer data (like CRM storages) to the online environment to match with digital identifiers. Which is why onboarding speed matters much more than most marketers realize.

We can’t blame them. Onboarding, as a service, is nothing new. The granddaddy of onboarding, LiveRamp, has been offering its solution since 2012. LiveRamp, and other onboarders who have followed suit, are able to upload a company’s customer data files in batches, match them against digital identifiers, and push out customer profiles to media vendors within five to seven days.

But five days is five days too late for engaging a customer who’s shopping for your product right now.

Think about how we shop today. We may start a search on our desktop, compare email offers on our phone, seek advice through social media on our laptop and go to a store to make a purchase — all in the span of a few days, hours, or even minutes. If a brand isn’t able to recognize its customers as they move among these touchpoints, opportunities to interact with contextual relevancy at each stage of their buyer journeys are lost — as are potential conversions, strategic insights and the ability to accurately measure performance.

As more and more marketers adopt identity-based strategies, the speed at which brands are able to onboard data for media activation, analytics, personalization and other use cases is going to make the difference between delivering experiences customers need at critical moments or showing up days late with outdated, irrelevant, overplayed marketing tactics.

Essentially, brands must decide whether to work with an identity solution that offers real-time onboarding, or one that does not. Considering the current identity landscape, this decision becomes quite simple.

Right now, the majority of identity solutions are point solutions that still must work with outside vendors (like LiveRamp, for example) to onboard a brand’s data. Then there’s LiveRamp itself. While it now lives in the identity space, LiveRamp still onboards data using traditional days-long batch processing. And this narrows down the field to the only real-time, pure-play LiveRamp competitor in the marketplace: Signal.

With continuous onboarding native to its platform, Signal can onboard 100,000 customer profiles in milliseconds and activate one million of them in chosen destinations in just one minute. This allows brands to take advantage of live-intent signals to relevantly interact with customers across every stage of their buyer journeys and build long-term, high-value relationships.

Ultimately, real-time onboarding takes the guesswork out of targeting, eliminates wasted ad spend and powers immediate and actionable insights, all of which improves a brand’s bottom line. And isn’t that what matters most?


Originally published August 21, 2018

Kathy Menis

Kathy is an expert in technology marketing, with 20 years of experience creating and leading strategic, results-driven marketing programs. She was formerly the CMO at Signal.

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