3 Keys to One-to-One Engagement With Consumers
New partnerships in data-driven marketing continue to come fast and furious. For example, the recent announcement from IBM and Facebook. The agreement integrates data analytics and the IBM marketing cloud, which is trying to make inroads in the marketing cloud landscape, with Facebook's advertising ecosystem. It's intended to support personalized marketing at scale for some of the biggest brands in the world. But what will integration of these platforms mean in pragmatic terms to chief marketing officers and their teams when it comes to personalization?
Facebook, of course, delivers ad capabilities in programs like Custom Audiences to a hefty ecosystem of companies based on its 1.4 billion users. On the other side of the equation, IBM's marketing cloud has the potential to contribute sophisticated data analytics to help brands better target Facebook audiences. Now, according to the two companies, retailers will have more and better data on customers and will be able to send them better-targeted and higher-value ads with more compelling messages on Facebook, as well as use insights from data in marketing across other channels.
However, is better ad targeting sufficient to achieve one-to-one personalization? The partnership will clearly give marketers more information about customers, but targeting is still based on microsegments, albeit potentially more finely tuned. Ideally, campaign and offer customization should take place at the individual level to ensure the greatest relevance across all channels — online and offline — and at every point in the customer journey.
In research on multichannel personalization, however, Forrester analysts concluded that personalization is still primarily limited to single or double channels. And as consumers are spending more time in emerging channels, marketers need to track and deliver experiences that are contextually relevant both to the channel and to the point in the journey. The IBM and Facebook partnership, as potent as it may be, addresses just part of this challenge.
According to Forrester's study, 77 percent of brands use some form of personalization in one or two channels. Yet only 13 percent of these companies said they were applying extensive personalization across multiple channels in part because of difficulties effectively linking customer data.
Let's take a look at the capabilities required to engage consumers across the myriad of platforms and channels at the user level as well as at different stages of the customer journey:
1. Collecting user-level data: Forrester concluded that the greatest opportunity for digital marketers to improve the omnichannel customer experience is with the unified, multichannel data layer capabilities of an enterprise tag management system. In its survey research, Forrester found that 68 percent of respondents indicated cross-channel integration of data for customer profiles was "important" or "very important." Leveraging a tag management system data layer enables marketers to collect and standardize first-party customer data across multiple domains and digital properties to provide a clear, cross-channel view of the customer.
2. Building the unified data layer: What's required is a single source of truth that's available to all third-party marketing vendors on consumer behavior across channels and devices. Fortunately, we now have data layer management tools, the best of which enable marketers to standardize and organize data in a repository for real-time marketing and business needs. The end game here is to manage this data to drive marketing decisions at a user level.
3. Creating individual user profiles: Profiles are built by stitching together user-level data generated across digital platforms and devices — and are continuously updated, refined and enriched. This is where data generated on digital platforms can be integrated with offline data, such as point-of-sale and customer relationship management systems, for in-the-moment targeting and personalization.
Brands today have access to an increasing array of tools to support true one-to-one marketing, making it possible to engage consumers as unique individuals. The key to unlocking this enormous opportunity is to connect the "who" with the "when," "where," "why" and "what" that deliver highly relevant offers and content to drive conversion and satisfaction for each and every consumer. Leveraging the right marketing technology will help determine how successful you will be.
Josh Manion is the founder and CEO of Ensighten, a provider of real-time enterprise data and tag management.
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