Julie Kustoff Sep 13, 2016

Delivering true 1:1 marketing at scale with data

Most retail banking leaders now realize that their customers and prospects are constantly bombarded with advertising messages, trending social media posts and more,  all with rich offers from competitors. Always-on digital technology has changed everything. We live in an “Amazon world” where consumers expect to be in the center. For bank marketers, engaging in this digital world, effectively recognizing, reaching and driving meaningful, ongoing conversations with customers can be a daunting task.

Most marketers believe that strategies and programs powered by big data have the potential to radically improve business and drive growth. But understanding the potential value of big data – and actually realizing it are two very different things. While many brands have invested millions to collect this valuable marketing intelligence, few Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) claim to be maximizing their results with it. Although leveraging your big data to drive sales isn’t necessarily easy, it is possible.

Below are three steps to enabling the usage of data to inform strategies within your marketing organization.

Consolidate Your Data: One View Beats a Fragmented View. Before you can truly engage with someone online, you need to know if you’ve talked to them before (and if so, about what) and if they’re already your customer. To speak to each consumer with confidence, we need one view of them, across all channels and devices. But given the way that advertising technology has evolved, achieving one view isn’t as easy as it seems.

Many brands end up working with a number of specialty partners, combining a data management platform (DMP), demand-side platform (DSP) and data onboarding technology. This fragmented approach leads to fragmented views of consumers. And the brands may not even realize it is happening. Consolidating the view of the customer is critical to success in this environment. Marketers must work hand in hand with their technology partners to build out a well-integrated marketing platform or leverage third party resources to enable this view. The success of your message depends on this consolidated view and does not happen by chance.

Really Understand Personalization and What It Means for Your Organization. “Personalization” may be our industry’s most misused word. It’s come to mean everything that’s even remotely targeted or customized, leaving marketers disappointed by the results of inaccurate and ineffective “personalization solutions.” What marketers are really hoping for is one-to-one marketing at scale. Achieving true personalization is recognizing, reaching and staying connected to a sizable number of individuals whom you know a lot about through meaningful, ongoing conversations, in real-time, and being able to learn and optimize as you go.

With today’s platform integration capabilities and advancements in technology, marketers can turn vast target audiences into millions of one-person audiences and actually treat every prospect and customer as an individual. Leveraging anonymized profiles that protect consumer privacy is the key.

Take Action: Deliver Personalized Messaging Using In-House Infrastructure or Agency Partners. When you accurately process and transform big data into actionable insights and strategies, you have the opportunity to create compelling brand experiences and programs that motivate purchase at an individual level. This is all possible today with customized messages tailored to an individual’s needs and preferences. The following three approaches can help you leverage your data to better speak to your audience and dramatically grow your sales:

  • Unite offline and online customer data and associate it with individual profiles. When you unite your brand’s offline and online customer data, you can create a more complete picture of your prospects and customers and understand their current needs, lifecycle stages, and motivations. Recent advances in data warehousing allow us to ingest marketing data from multiple online and offline sources and then associate all of an individual’s actions with a single, anonymized user identity. It is possible to turn enormous amounts of cross-channel marketing information into rich, anonymized customer profiles.
  • Create one-to-one personalized messages across devices at scale. Once you’ve created anonymized profiles from your data, the next step is to make these profiles actionable. It’s possible to create personalized ads that reflect a person’s interests, behaviors and lifestyle. A particular ad might reflect imagery and colors that have elicited a positive response in the past or it may feature the products that best meet the immediate needs of the consumer. It’s worth noting that personalized ads are very different from retargeting ads that simply feature the last product an individual viewed on your site. For example, two consumers interested in the same credit card could receive two completely different ads for that card. For the prestige consumer, the ad might feature the card in context with edgy, luxury-driven imagery, whereas a consumer who is driven by value may receive an ad that highlights the value-oriented benefits of the rewards program.
  • Initiate a “best next” personalized communications strategy. As a marketer, you’ve likely heard of the “next best” sales opportunity, but with personalization, marketers should be more concerned with “best next.” A “best next” personalized communications strategy delivers messages that are dynamically optimized based on both recent and historical consumer actions. For example, imagine that a consumer goes to a bank to open a checking account. When the bank prepares to deliver a new message to that person, it’s likely they’re not in the market for another checking account. Instead, an ad featuring a credit card or mortgage product that reflect the customer’s needs through predictive modeling would be more likely to drive an incremental conversion. Leveraging and expanding data assets with a personalization lens can dramatically impact both acquisition and customer marketing. By associating data with individuals, marketers can create robust, dynamically updated profiles that drive incremental lift.

It’s important to recognize that data and personalization may help drive growth in your business. Effectively leveraging these strategies can enable brands to understand and speak to consumers as individuals, not as “cookies,” devices or segments. They can allow for real, ongoing conversations with their consumers and the dialogues can be proactive, persistent and informed by actual real-time buying behavior across channels.

Finally, you need effective and actionable measurement. Every dollar spent should be measurable. And it should be measured against incremental sales, and optimized continually over time. Effectively leveraging data can make this a reality.

Julie Kustoff with Epsilon’s Strategic Marketing practice can be reached at Julie.Kustoff@epsilon.com.

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