Customer Data Onboarding is More Than Targeting

May 9, 2018  |   LiveRamp

LiveRamp has been doing customer data onboarding for some years now, and we’ve loved watching our customers grow and develop their use cases as the technology and data ecosystems have developed too.

If you don’t know, onboarding brings offline data sets online in a privacy-conscious manner, creating a more complete audience view, and makes them usable across channels. Of course there’s a lot more to it, but that’s it in its most simple form.

Obviously we’re biased, but we think onboarding holds a lot of potential to change the way marketers target, measure, and personalize their campaigns. So when we read Forrester’s report, Making the Most of Customer Data Onboarding, we weren’t surprised to see one of their takeaways: onboarding is about more than targeted ads.

So what is customer data onboarding all about?

Yes, it’s about targeting

Targeting is the most obvious application for onboarding, and it’s the way that most marketers are currently using it.

And there’s a lot that onboarding for targeting has to offer, like making your advertising more informed and relevant.

When you’re targeting audiences based on attributes like whether they’re a prospect (and show them a 20% discount for buying for the first time) or an existing customer (and suppressing that discount in favor of an upsell), you’re using data to reach the right people AND connect them with offers they want to see. This is the first step toward becoming a people-based marketer!

Onboarding gives you the means to enhance cross-device identity and extend your audiences across multiple channels. Forrester suggests looking to “suppress ads to recent buyers or use digital media to reinforce offline or email offers.” (But we can think of a few more.)

If you’re not doing people-based measurement, you’re not doing people-based marketing

According to Forrester, measurement is the next step to onboarding maturity. Customer data onboarding for measurement is all about “building a more robust data set for campaign analysis and customer insights.”

Basically, if you’re using onboarding for targeting, you need to use it in your measurement to see how those campaigns are performing and understand the results down to a person-based level. You’ve already built the audiences, so it’s easy to use them again!

With people-based measurement, you can link offline sales data and attribute that to an ad exposure. You can also get more granular in your analytics and audience segmentation, and drill down into how your different audience segments are responding to creative across channels. Or take these audiences as the basis for look-alike modeling, and plan more informed acquisition campaigns.

Show your customers you care

Sure, personalization is the most advanced application of onboarding. But that doesn’t mean that every personalization use case is for deep-pocketed, cutting-edge brands only, or that it’s hard to implement.

Personalization is a lot like targeting, in that it’s about serving more relevant content to your audiences, wherever they are. But personalization can take it a step further by showing your customers that you understand them and that you are working hard to provide experiences that tie to the things that are most important to them. Think things like web experiences for customers who are not logged in or applying specific engagement tactics to recommend products relevant to them.

Get it now?

All of this is to say that customer data onboarding is super cool. And (lucky for us) Forrester agrees! Ok, maybe those aren’t their explicit words, but we read between the lines.

Onboarding for targeting lets you reach your customers with relevant ads.

Onboarding for measurement connects your online and offline data together so your campaign analysis and customer insights reflect the full view of what drove sales.

Onboarding for personalization means that your customers will get the customized experience they want and deserve—every time you interact with them.

Wherever you are in your onboarding journey, there’s a lot you’ll be able to use to improve your marketing. Read the report for yourself and get a taste for how to start Making the Most of Customer Data Onboarding.