Today’s connected world brings with it many exciting opportunities. The coming years will be critical to marketers, as data continues its role in aligning modern technology to enable the delivery of improved experiences and seamless interactions.
Consumers will enjoy more relevant communications and better service, as brands ramp up their ‘people-based marketing’ efforts to create individual, tailored interactions. People-based marketing is required because it’s what’s expected nowadays. Customers expect to be treated as individuals and brands need to concentrate on adding value.
Data has the ability to keep up with this ever increasing expectation. More emphasis has been put on real time decisions in recent years, as the market sees more technology that can help deliver lightning quick interactions. The part that hasn’t evolved as rapidly is the pace in which we use the information. But that’s about to change.
The way marketers deploy data, the way suppliers sell data and the way the advertising ecosystem operates is ready for change. Most brands currently build audience segments from a variety of data sources and then use them across channels. These channels can have varying levels of sophistication when it comes to how performance and insights are fed back into future decisioning. However, those audiences are still built using information purchased as a separate action.
What happens if you come across an individual who would be a perfect fit but doesn’t match the specifics of the audience you’ve built?
Or, what if in the advertising ecosystem you encounter someone you know nothing about, when they could be in your audience sweet spot? You could be missing out on a host of valuable opportunities. Similarly, there may be lots of people who are not getting the messages most relevant and useful to them. That shouldn’t be the case, and change needs to happen.
The solution is to shift the way information is used. Data at the point of interaction is the future and one we will see develop rapidly. This is data that is right there at the point of the interaction, powering real-time rather than before those audience segments are deployed. It may seem like a big jump, but the techniques and technology is here now - bid enrichment and the opening up of data will drive this change.
The benefits are significant for both parties. Consumers enjoy more consistent, relevant experiences, and marketers move much closer to true people-based marketing across channels.
These trends will be further accelerated by continued adoption of Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and the benefits they bring to businesses. What will make the difference though is how businesses use DMPs, not whether they invest or not. With many DMP providers continuing to sell SaaS systems with limited support, it’s the brands which integrate their investment with a carefully thought out strategy and the use of expertise - whether that’s internal or external - who will come out on top.
This year will be a challenging but rewarding one for marketers. The technology is there for us to start doing what we’ve been preaching for so long - putting the customer at the heart of everything. And it’s happening at just about the right time: the pressures of new regulation and ever increasing customer expectation mean it’s almost now or never. Time to get moving.
By Colin Grieves, managing director for digital marketing and media services at Experian
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