Strategies for Leveraging Customer Insight Data
There's been a lot of speculation that a certain class of data is losing its luster. Data that describes individuals and/or segments — often referred to as demographic, third-party or offline data — is increasingly being written off as commoditized and not particularly valuable for marketers, particularly in online realms. These views, while somewhat understandable for those who have only lived and breathed in online worlds, sell short the predictive power of this data category.
I use the term "multidimensional insight" to describe this data. This descriptive data includes addressable, individual elements along with his/her household characteristics, geographies and segments. These insights include descriptive variables such as whether members of a household are married, if children are present, income and wealth categorizations, lifestyle interests and past purchase behaviors, property characteristics, and segments which link to broader research surveys. In short, they're the types of data that have long been a staple of direct marketing and certain branded advertising.
Declaring this descriptive data category of multidimensional insight dead, dying or commoditized is wildly premature. I'll posit a countertheory to the prevailing wisdom that the explosion of media channels and the accompanying classes of data (e.g., search, open and clickthrough rates, clickstream, in-market, social sharing, online purchase behavior, first-party/self-reported/user-generated, etc.) will increase the value of and demand for high quality, accurate and relevant consumer insights. Why?
Marketing is both an art and a science of messaging plus math, but it's still based on imperfect information. Search offers perhaps the most pinpointed information, yet context still matters. For example, if I search "Lexus," what results and ads are most relevant for me? It depends on many things. The search term "Lexus" offers a clue. But that buying clue, when combined with insight about my income, age, whether I have kids, what vehicle(s) I drive currently and where I live, becomes much more actionable. The more a marketer knows about someone, the greater the likelihood that they can craft a product/offer/message combination, search result or advertisement that's relevant to that individual or audience.
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