By Ayesha Salim | Content Lead

January 25, 2017 | 6 min read

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Marketers must now run campaigns across multiple digital devices. But connecting the customer journey across all of these devices and channels is a challenging task.

This is where data onboarding comes in. By stitching together online and offline data, the modern marketer can get closer to the single customer view, according to Richard Foster, UK managing director at LiveRamp.

In the last episode of the Everything You Need to Know (EYNTK) about data and customer experience series, Foster explains how marketers can digitally activate offline data for online use in digital channels.

“Retailers find it much more challenging to measure the value of digital marketing when it comes to offline store transactions. Using your offline data online gives you a far more complete view of your customers. You can use this to unlock greater value from your existing marketing investments.”

Catch up on all the episodes in the series here.

Video transcript

Welcome to Everything You Need to Know about Data and the Customer Experience. For this last episode in the series, Jed’s handed the baton to me to talk to you about data onboarding.

So if you spend a spend a few minutes with me in our last cab journey, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about data onboarding.

So what is data onboarding? Put simply, data onboarding is the digital activation of your offline, CRM, or point-of-sale transaction data.

You can then distribute your activated data into your online measurement, marketing or targeting platforms to create highly effective people-based marketing strategies.

Marketing campaigns have to work across all channels and across all devices. But identifying common users across all devices and across all channels can be a real challenge.

eConsultancy reports that 66% of all companies believe that the siloed data within their organisations prevents them from making the most effective use of their marketing.

64% of all marketers report that online and offline data are still handled by separate teams within the organisation.

Data onboarding can help you break down these silos. Let’s take it back to basics.

What’s the point of having insight from data in the offline channel and not being able to utilise that online or vice versa. It’s inefficient and creates two views of the customer. The key to success lies in data onboarding.

Digital activation of your offline data for use online in your digital channels.

Using your offline data online gives you a far more complete view of your customers. You can use this to unlock greater value from your existing marketing investments.

Even if we use online data to the best of its abilities, we are still missing vital information about an audience.

Did you know that 90% of all retail transactions still happen offline? Unless you use onboarded data, how do you know whether that prospect you’re chasing is an existing customer or not?

Using onboarded data, you can suppress existing customers from a prospecting campaign. This is a very classic direct marketing technique. It’s called file-suppression and yet it’s the use of onboarded data which unlocks it for you.

CRM retargeting is another very good example of how customers use onboarded data as part of their marketing program.

CRM retargeting, retarget existing customers, maybe insert a higher bid for those in market you know are about to lapse. Bid low for those who are long-term customers with low chance of churn.

But don’t just take my word for it. A recent report from Forrester highlighted the positive economic impact seen by companies onboarding their data.

We found the following. A five to 10% increase in total sales by targeting existing customers online. A 10% increase in efficiency achieved by reducing wastage through closed-loop measurement. And a 12.3 times improvement in ROI for achieving connected data across platforms.

Let’s look at a real-world example. Closed-loop measurement and retail. A retailer such as Marks & Spencer or John will know that for every one pound it spends on digital marketing exactly how much value is driven to its website.

However retailers find it much more challenging to measure the value of digital marketing when it comes to offline store transactions.

John Lewis in this example can take its offline store data such as point of sale information, loyalty card data, onboard it and tie it to a digital ID such as a click or an impression. It knows that for every one pound it spends on digital marketing, it achieves one pound and five pence for and one pound and 50 pence in the offline store in Kingston Upon Thames.

Data onboarding closes the loop. It helps the modern marketer get closer to the favoured single view of the customer. And it unlocks people-based marketing opportunities as well because we work at a deidentified individual level and not on a cookie or mobile ID. A bit like Facebook.

There are two main ways you can onboard your data. Deterministic or probabilistic matching. Probabilistic matching, also known as statistical modelling involves the use of smart algorithms and large data sets. An example of this will be the use of IP address to match.

Perhaps the user’s IP address, ‘anonymous online’ correlates closely to the postcode in the offline record. And because they exhibit a pattern of behaviour common to both records, they are deemed to be the same user.

Deterministic onboarding sees the onboarding company using a large pool of deidentified IDs probably gained from users registering or logging in on websites to verify their online anonymous persona exactly matches their offline record.

This is how services from Facebook such as customer audiences work. The downside to working with those services is a walled garden in which you have to operate. But by working in a deterministic manner with a partner such as LiveRamp, you can be confident you’re reaching real individuals wherever they may be.

Computers love definites not probables so let’s use data onboarding to create definite insights to enable incredible customer experience. This is the last in the series and we’ve come to the end of our journey. I really hope you’ve enjoyed this walk-through in everything you need to know about data and the fundamentals of customer experience. Thanks.

Know enough about customer experience yet? Test your knowledge in our quick quiz.

Marketing Data Video Article (Drum Original Videos Only)

Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

Marketers are still missing the data connection - so here’s how to solve it

Data can make or break a brand’s ability to deliver a great customer experience. But so many marketers are missing out on this opportunity as they find the issue too complex and do not have time to keep up with industry developments.

Episode 2

Identity resolution bridges online and offline customer recognition gap - new episode of Everything You Need to Know: Data & Customer Experience

Customers now have physical and digital identities, making it difficult for marketers to identify and target individual customers. In the latest episode of Everything You Need to Know (EYNTK) about data and customer experience, Jed Mole, European marketing director at Acxiom provides tips on how brands can use data to recognise customers across all channels and devices.

Episode 3

The ‘safe haven’ – how brands can benefit from using each other’s data

Marketers use a wide variety of data to inform their marketing strategies. Some of the data contains great value but it can also be unreliable. Now brands can use each other’s data to deliver better marketing campaigns. But how can this be done safely?

Episode 4

No more data silos: how the ‘Open Garden’ helps marketers connect with real people

Harnessing the power of data is the holy grail for most marketers. But companies are still finding it challenging to achieve the Single Customer View (SCV). In a survey by Experian, over 1,000 marketers worldwide cited poor data quality, siloed departments, and the inability to link different technologies as some of the major challenges in creating a SCV.

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Acxiom is a customer intelligence company that provides data-driven solutions to enable the world’s best marketers to better understand their customers to create better experiences and business growth. A leader in customer data management, identity, and the ethical use of data for more than 50 years, Acxiom now helps thousands of clients and partners around the globe work together to create millions of better customer experiences, every day. Acxiom is a registered trademark of Acxiom LLC and is part of The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (IPG). For more information, visit

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