Remember the year of mobile? (Could have been 2013, 2014 or 2015, depending on how early an adopter you were.) Well, 2016 is most definitely the year of data. Marketers everywhere are scrambling to figure out their options for collecting and using data to optimal effect in their campaigns — and the smartest ones are using data to craft their marketing strategies.
Of course, not everyone is up to speed. I hear data-focused questions all the time from clients and prospects, and I’ve listed (and answered) the nine I’ve been hearing most often these days.
The most common forms of first-party data that we see today are composed of the basics (name, address, email address, gender and so forth), paired with behavioral data, product or service preferences and products/services purchased.
Brands that require additional steps to complete a purchase may also gather more advanced data like lifestyle preferences (brands, car(s) brands, clothing size and so on) and other personal information (for example, home size, family size, financial information, business industry).
Many marketers today continue to fear privacy and the “big guys” doing something unethical with their customers’ data. Because of that, they do not leverage their data fully by bringing it into platforms to do lookalike modeling, which can find them more people who look like their customers.
Lookalike modeling is available on a range of platforms, but most marketers start with Facebook and Google (where it’s free).
Simply, third-party data can be defined as data that was not provided to you by your customers or collected by your company in one of the several potential interactions that you may have had with your consumers.
The value that it can provide is somewhat limitless. But focusing on some of the basics can give you visibility into information about your prospects and customers that you would never have previously had: gender, age, marital status, employment status, whether they have kids, whether they’re looking to buy a house or a car. All of this can be yours.
The most logical and obvious next step once you have this insight is to use this data to define more precisely what your ideal customer looks like — and to find them in media spaces.
Given how readily available and accessible third-party data has become, I’d say everyone should be using it. (Who doesn’t want to at the very least know more about their customers and prospects?)
Marketing strategies don’t need to be advanced at all, just measurable! We can’t define an ideal customer for a brand if we don’t know how to measure and identify that customer, after all.
The bigger data providers today are Acxiom, BlueKai, Datalogix, Experian and Bombaro. We’re starting to see more specialized data providers (NinthDecimal for mobile targets, Visual DNA for emotive/psychographic targets, Kantar for media consumption, AddThis for social behaviors, and so on) enter the market. These new providers may be better fitted for a unique business need and can drive conversions more efficiently because of their specialized and super-targeted nature.
Many of these providers have a lot of the same data and same types of data, and some have a specialty segment, whether in-market for specific product categories, B2B, finance or something else.
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