There are many different triggers that we marketers can pull to impact and improve customer acquisition and retention. Everything from new offers, to personalized creative, to additional channels can help us get–and hold–our target customers’ attention. As we evaluate each of the options, it’s possible to utilize data to inform everything we do. And yet, we often don’t. Either we prioritize other projects, we can’t get time with our analysts, or we work in an environment where the art of marketing is valued more than the science.
Whatever the cause, digital marketers are in a unique position to foster a positive change in that behavior–creating the kind of culture where continuous testing, analysis and optimization are rewarded with results. Here are five areas where we have an opportunity to progress.
- Smart Targeting – In the digital world, we’re comfortable working with multiple channels. Moving from SEM to a direct-to-publisher campaign then to a DSP and back have become common practice. But a cross-channel approach–where we provide a consistent experience regardless of location or device –is daunting. How do we ensure that a consumer sees complimentary offers across digital ads, email, and even our website?
Bringing the teams responsible for each of these channels together involves lengthy planning and, let’s face it, a LOT of negotiation. I recommend creating momentum by trialing a targeting plan with just one team: your CRM/database peers. As an example, bring their offline data online to target brick and mortar consumers geographically for a new store opening or to test an upsell campaign. If you have data silo woes, however, this might sound about as realistic as waving a magic wand. Read on for your next solution.
- Improve Your Tech Integration – There’s no denying that we live in an extremely fragmented marketing ecosystem. If you’re lucky, your CRM data is in two or three different systems but in reality, you may have five or six or more. These siloed data sets can throw off your customer segments and negatively impact the customer experience. Combine that with the silos you’re dealing with online and the complexity increases exponentially.
There’s no getting around it. Data hygiene is a must in today’s digital environment. Getting your IT, CRM and digital teams together to build a customer-centric environment may be slow going but worth the effort. Build on the good-will you’ve generated with the success of solution #1 to drive collaboration. In tandem, seek out vendors who can help build a unified view of your customers (in a privacy-safe way, of course). The more accurate data will have an immediate impact on tactics you’ve already put in place, like the look-alike modeling in my next solution.
- Get the Right Data – Look-alike models are one of the most widely accepted ways of finding new customers today. Based on a benchmark set of characteristics represented by a small audience segment, larger audiences can be reached.
But look-alike modeling is more than choosing segments with traits of your best customers. Testing third-party data sets to see how they enrich a brand’s seed data can lead to more advanced models and reveal valuable attributes that can make an impact on purchasing.
That’s when your strategy starts to evolve beyond a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter model. And speaking of cookies…
- Reach Customers, Not Cookies – At the moment, online targeting is an imprecise science based primarily on cookies (the data type, not the chocolate-chip kind). Since cookies are tied to a browser instead of a household or consumer, you can’t be as exact as direct mail or email when selecting your audience.
Identity recognition and data onboarding can tie together offline and online data sets to help you target the consumers you’re looking to advertise to more precisely. So your look-alike models, CRM segments, even your ad exposure reports all become more precise. (Nice move, smart cookie.) Now let’s talk about a sweeter bottom line.
- Redistribute Your Budget – Marketing teams are always looking to squeeze more out of their budgets, primarily by eliminating waste. Digitally, we look to strategies like frequency capping and micro-targeting to ensure budget stability.
A new way to optimize could be list suppression–the tactic of removing specific lists of prospects from marketing campaigns. If someone has seen your ad or would find a different ad more relevant, they won’t get irrelevant creative. With suppression lists, you’ll reach consumers with less redundancy and you can reallocate the budget towards new look-alike audiences or to re-engage an offline audience. (Notice how we brought it back to solution #1? Closed-loop marketing at it’s best!)
Focusing on these five data strategies can push our marketing impact to new levels. That deserves high fives all around, digital marketing teams!