ADOTAS – It took a few years, but not having enough marketing data is finally no longer a problem. In fact, marketing data sources now seemingly exist everywhere, and they are divided into two primary groups.
The first group consists of data points that are clearly communicated by the customer, such as enterprise customer data, past purchase history, customer preferences and survey responses.
The second group is a collection of behavioral attributes like organic and paid search activity, online advertising participation, and any website, mobile or email marketing activity. Those representative examples are really just the tip of the iceberg, too.
As a result of an abundance of data, marketers are now faced with the opposite problem. With so many marketing data sources, how can all of the data be organized and leveraged for direct digital marketing?
Effective direct digital marketing — personalized and targeted marketing communications that are addressed to specific recipients and delivered through the email, Web, and mobile channels — can only happen with proper data management. But, the more data sources, the easier it is to drown in data because of an inability to properly organize it.
Some statistics reveal that more than 50% of marketers are unable to properly segment and target content to customers using customer data. That figure is not much of a surprise, however, given the natural transference of traditional direct marketing thinking to modern digital channels. Marketers still take a list-centered approach to segmentation, but a list-first approach hinders successful direct digital marketing.
Fortunately a new approach to data management exists that not only consolidates disparate data resources but also views customers not from the list down, but from the profile up. The result is better content targeting and the ability to coordinate consistent communications across each of the vital direct digital marketing channels. The approach is facilitated by a universal profile management system.
A universal profile management system harnesses a customer-centric marketing philosophy by enabling marketers to build segments that center on commonly shared traits. Rather than focusing on customers that share a single (often common) trait with a list, a universal profile management system lets marketers identify several important customer characteristics at the individual profile level, then build a segment accordingly.
For example, if one customer is on five separate lists, it is difficult to find the common traits and coordinate the marketing messages. Therefore, one customer can easily receive five different messages from the same company. Communications may be superficially relevant to the recipient from the marketer’s perspective, but the lack of coordination ultimately undermines those efforts.
The above example demonstrates how marketers must adjust their thinking from lists to profiles. A customer should have one profile that contains each of the five traits that define them. Eliminating a trait, or failing to take one into account, compromises message relevance and is a major blow to the development of a long-term, profitable relationship with a customer. Instead of beginning the planning process by identifying what lists are owned, begin by identifying the key attributes customers share.
There are many bits of data, including all behavioral data, that simply do not fit into a list-first approach to data. For example, a consumer hitting a website off a particular keyword search does not fit into a preexisting list.
Does that mean that a website visitor should fall through the cracks and not receive targeted messaging? No. Efficient marketers search for every opportunity to get a conversion. Millions of conversions are missed every day simply by marketers taking a traditional, list-first approach to data.
The ease and flexibility of universal profile management — especially when the system is housed in the same software that delivers the messages — unlocks the practical value of collecting explicit and behavioral marketing data.
Data only holds value for marketers when it is put to good use. If improving marketing communications — and all of the imperative metrics that accompany success — is important, a new, more organized approach to data management is vital.
A universal profile management system lets marketers organize all of their data and put the focus squarely on the customer — and reap the financial rewards of improved message relevance and increased customer loyalty.