Brands, retailers and agencies are partnering more than ever before. As a result, siloed conversations and customer journeys have become a thing of the past. This ‘tripod model’ is enabling a dialogue focused around efficiency, cost effective ways of working and, most importantly, the leveraging of valuable data for commercial and consumer gain. Collaborative ways of working such as this deliver significant advantages including higher conversion rates, which can boost market performance, based on the delivery of better, more relevant consumer experiences.

Tripod model conversations have become more common in more recent times as the parties involved look to overcome challenges around data sovereignty and gaps in technology. The objective? Form a holistic view of the customer based on all the data available.

The tasks of linking these disparate sets of data, understanding the picture they paint and accessing actionable insight are by no means easy. That’s why this party of three is gradually evolving into a quartet, to incorporate technology partners that can facilitate not only the free movement of data between all involved but enable faster and more innovative analysis of what that information says about their customers.

In isolation, each party has significant data gaps, leaving them with an incomplete picture of their customer. For example, when targeting an audience with a high intention to buy, how can the agency understand which customers in that group have a propensity to convert? What’s more, how can they then use that learning when targeting the audience again to generate more sales? Those with a combined ecommerce and retail offering often lack the complete data picture that would enable them to fully understand and compare the performance of each channel. The data a brand owns and the data its retail partners give it access to represent different insight, which makes direct comparison, and thus optimisation a real challenge.

These are the issues that data collaboration is solving, and the reason for introducing independent technology partners into the mix. The right technology partner will have the flexibility to work with brands, retailers and agencies, and facilitate collaboration on data sharing. It’s crucial that they can analyse data from all and enable real-time, continuous learning and analysis that empowers innovative decision making.

Practically, this ability to analyse and learn from vast swathes of data in real-time requires Artificial Intelligence (AI). While just about every technology partner will claim AI capabilities, the reality is that very few have managed to harness the power of the technology to provide consistent business value. Indeed, most simply rebrand advanced algorithms as AI, but algorithms alone aren’t enough. There must be a massive – and shared – dataset, which allows for cognitive capabilities such as pattern recognition.

With the right technology, the ‘power of four’ model offers amazing possibilities for all parties involved. Contemporary AI has advanced to such a degree that it can provide predictions, driven by data analysis, around how shoppers will engage, convert, and identify their customer lifetime value (CLV). This can enhance the accuracy with which ad budgets are allocated and the effectiveness of the campaigns they’re driving.

Optimisation models can ensure that shoppers are targeted with communications focused on the desired results of the brand, retailer or ad agency – be they awareness, consideration or conversion. Or the goal might be the identification of prospective customers through look-a-like algorithms that pinpoint shoppers with similar characteristics to those actively engaging with and buying from a business.

For brands, retailers and ad agencies, the tripod model was a natural progression that supports better marketing decisions and delivers better results for the business and consumers alike. Now, the opportunity comes from expanding the cooperative through partnerships with impartial technology providers, as it becomes ever more apparent that this model enables better insights and superior commercial performance.


Written by Pepijn Breijder, MD of Benelux & Nordics, Criteo

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