The Future of Consumer Targeting Lives at the Intersection of Digital and Physical Data

October 12, 2016

By Tom Phillips

Marketers today are flooded with data. This is a huge opportunity, as the potential for a more comprehensive view of consumer behavior is unprecedented, enabling better targeting of prospective and current customers.
The natural expectation is that the dramatic growth of e-commerce and rise of online channels leads marketers and data scientists to focus exclusively on digital data.

While there are billions of daily data signals from online and mobile app behaviors, these don't give marketers the full view of shoppers along their path to purchase. The missing piece lies in connecting digital data points with physical inputs: offline data points that include purchase behavior, shopping patterns and lifestyle characteristics. This holistic view is the real breakthrough in real-time marketing.

Connecting offline and online is the new frontier in enhanced targeting, but achieving this intersection is easier said than done. Here are five keys to making that promise a reality:

Purge "dirty data." The saying "quality over quantity" rings especially true in the world of marketing. Marketers and their analytics suppliers must cleanse data sources to prevent fraudulent and/or incorrect information from polluting the "clean" data, thereby distorting and undermining their marketing efforts. Otherwise, they are left targeting consumers based on bad data — which could be inaccurate or outdated — thereby hindering marketing efforts.

Identify the pattern. Capturing data is half the battle, and perhaps the easier half. Recognizing the meaningful patterns is the other half. This is crucial to finding key trends in holistic data sets to segment potential customer groups. The right analysis goes beyond customer targeting to improving business intelligence and overall operations.

Go beyond segments to identify the individual. Using the aforementioned patterns is useful, but it's equally important to look at each consumer as an individual. What specifically is he/she looking for in a product? What unique preferences does she have that a brand can accommodate to provide a more personalized experience?

Uncover opportunities to deliver integrated campaigns. In today's omnichannel world, shoppers engage with brands through both physical and digital channels, forcing marketers to meet them at the intersection of their behaviors and preferences. The best marketers develop an integrated approach. For instance, if data patterns support it, marketers can offer digital to be redeemed in-store, or mail physical coupons to be used online. Meeting shoppers where they shop and research is paramount to customer retention.

Use data not just to target, but to optimize. Not every campaign will be perfect, so it's important to track performance in real time to improve marketing efforts. Data tracking and analysis is not a one-time effort at the start of campaign — it must be continual to ensure best results. The real-time view allows immediate targeting to activate consumers to pursue a relevant purchase, and ensures that marketers avoid wasting cycles on ineffective campaigns.

Source

"The Future of Consumer Targeting Lives at the Intersection of Digital and Physical Data." MediaPost, 10/12/16.

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