Everything you need to know about connecting data – closing the loop

Everything You Need to Know About Data & Customer Experience, in partnership with Acxiom and LiveRamp, is designed to help marketers quickly get up to speed with one of the most important issues in today’s marketing industry. The series of videos lets you find out everything you need to know about each crucial subject in one short film – something you can watch in the back of a taxi on the way to your next crucial meeting on the subject. That’s why each episode is filmed in the back of a London black cab.

In this final edition we take a look at the top five reasons why connecting data closes that data and customer experience loop.

1. Data onboarding is key to connectivity in today’s marketing world. It is the transfer of data gathered offline through into the digital world. By matching offline databases from in-store transactions, CRM databases or customer-service call interactions to online data, marketers get a far more complete picture of their customers.

Stewart Easterbrook, chairman to the board of Media iQ, says: “The biggest mistake made by many marketers is to make assumptions as to what data will throw off the most valuable insights and they therefore narrow their field of vision too early.”

2. Onboarding services can be used to market more effectively to current customers or to create look-alike models for ad targeting.

As Richard Foster, UK managing director of LiveRamp (which is an Acxiom company), says: “Without such offline data, marketers are relying on online signals alone – and that gives at best a very incomplete picture. But by onboarding data you unlock greater value from the marketing tech investments you’ve already made – by putting customer data to work in more places.

3. Data onboarding allows brands to measure the effectiveness of online campaigns on in-store sales. Today, around 90% of transactions still happen in-store, so there are considerable business benefits to knowing what effect your online marketing is having on offline sales.

For instance, a large retailer will spend millions of pounds on its Christmas campaign, and will know to the last penny the effect of that on its transactional website – but without onboarding, it is much more difficult to know the effect on in-store traffic.

4. Onboarding helps close the data loop – and benefits the bottom line. In a report with Forrester on the total economic impact of onboarding data in the US, Acxiom found that there was a 5-10% uplift in sales through using first party data to target existing customers online. The report also reveals a 10% gain in efficiency by using closed loop measurement to optimise and reduce waste, and a staggering 12.3 times improvement in ROI through connecting data across multiple platforms.

5. Facebook has lessons for marketers in a connected world. By using onboarding services, a brand can get closer to the deterministic rigour that a so called ‘walled garden’ platform such as Facebook boasts. Its success is predicated not only on the scale of its audience, but also that it knows precisely who those audience members are.

With data onboarding, brands can see benefits from within three to six months – and impact grows as it is used to improve measurement, targeting and personalisation across multiple campaigns. Foster adds: “Computers love definites, not probabilities. Let’s take those definite insights and create a lifetime of magic moments, instead of fixating on false positives.”

And finally…

We recap five key takeaways for marketers from the series Everything You Need to Know About Data & Customer Experience:

1. Customer experience (otherwise known as CX) is, according to analysts, the biggest priority for marketers today. Econsultancy cites data as the number one factor to make or break a brand’s ability to deliver great CX, yet only 15% of European brands think that they are over half way to digital maturity.

2. Identity resolution – the ability to recognise who the individual is online, offline, on mobile and in-store – is the essential cog in CX, but many organisations find this increasingly hard to do through traditional ways of working. Identity-graph or knowledge-based identity resolution is key to being able to recognise that self-same customer.

3. All data is not equal. Or, as Easterbrook claims: “Data is important because it gives us a window into people’s behaviours and motivations… All data starts equal, but some becomes more equal than others.” It comes in three primary forms – first, second and third party data, and marketers must use a mix of all in order to gain the best possible picture of their audience(s) and deliver a more consumer-centric experience that benefits all. The growth of second party data is a key part of this new data economy, and brands are turning to so-called safe-havens in order to do so in strategic and privacy compliant ways.

4. Brands must evolve their understanding of the single customer view, which has become muddied in many organisations because of the fragmented nature of much ad and martech and the legacy departmental silos that exist within them. An ‘open garden’ approach will instead allow data to flow wherever it needs to across whatever technology, platforms, departments and partners it needs to.

5. Connecting the data is the final fundamental step in a successful data-led customer experience strategy. Onboarding first party CRM and sales transaction data into DMPs, measurement systems and online marketing platforms will close the loop. It helps brands achieve the deterministic rigour that is crucial to truly personalised marketing and a great customer experience.

This article was originally published in The Drum magazine. Watch all the videos at our Everything You Need to Know hub.

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