Back-to-School Marketers: Take Advantage Of First-Party Data

First-Party Data Is Sexy -- And It's Yours

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Madeline Rich
Madeline Rich

Today's modern marketer knows that becoming data driven is imperative to the success of their marketing efforts. According to a first-quarter survey from the CMO Council and SAS, 52% of marketers believe that data helped identify new business opportunities. More revealing, 46% of respondents highlighted the importance of identifying the "right" kind of actionable data to avoid getting lost in the clutter.

This is precisely why marketers should care deeply about their "own" data -- it's sexy and it's theirs. If you aren't already actively working on turning your first-party data into a goldmine, ask yourself, "Why not?"

Data is the fuel that gives all of your marketing efforts the energy to be carried out efficiently and effectively. There are many many types of rich data: CRM data, social data, offline data, web analytics data, mobile data -- the list goes on. Unifying this first-party data can unearth insights that allow you to connect with customers in a more authentic way and drive deeper engagement and increase brand loyalty.

The School Shopper Audience
Focusing on your own, or first-party, data assets can help you save money and assist in making smarter data-buying decisions down the road. For instance, take a retailer or department store looking to ramp up marketing in advance of back-to-school season. By using a data-management platform (DMP) to unify consumer data, the retailer can build or create a specific audience of back-to-school shoppers to include, say, people with at least one child, individuals that have demonstrated an interest in parenting, or people shopping for children's clothes and school supplies.

With the help of a DMP they can ingest registration data that's collected when a consumer fills out a form, either in store or online, declaring they have children in the household in order to receive discounts, promotions and other relevant offers. This data is scrubbed of any personally identifiable information when brought into a DMP.

Looking at the back-to-school audience profile report available inside their data-management platform, they might discover that 85% of this audience also has an interest in "music." Adding "music" as an additional data point is one way to grow their back-to-school audience in a smart way using first-party data. In addition, the retailer can now use this intelligence to fine tune campaign messaging in order to offer target customers a more relevant and personalized shopping experience.

Learning to Share
Your first-party data can be quite powerful when shared with outside partners as well. Tools to facilitate this data exchange can help control what is shared, for how long and at what price (if any). By exchanging your first-party data with others' first-party data -- or syndicating data, as it's sometimes called -- you have access to a wealth of audience data otherwise not available.

For example, our DMP offers a product called Crowd Syndicate, which lets publishers and brands share first-party data peer-to-peer. This kind of sharing gives them each access to premium data sets that have been previously unavailable to them and lets marketers and publishers to develop direct relationships with each other.

Perhaps a CPG marketer selling sun protection products would like access to data owned by a travel publisher which has an audience whose actions and interests indicate they're going on a beach vacation. This marketer would use something like Crowd Syndicate for more effective message targeting and promotion to drive online and in store sales.

What's the difference between data syndication versus just purchasing third-party data? Syndication means you know the owner of the data, and therefore should be able to evaluate their data collection methods. Remember, quality before quantity still applies if you are a smart data-driven marketer.

Having control of your audience can have a substantial impact on your overall marketing strategy. Paying attention to how prospects respond to your brand advertising, direct-response advertising, and lead-generation efforts can help influence and refine brand messaging. It can shape creative direction, go-to-market strategy, and media buying -- where you spend and why.

First-party data can also influence content you generate on your web properties as well as offers you provide to your existing consumer base. Pay close attention to what the data is telling you about your target market. By knowing what makes your consumers tick, you can give them more of what they want and stay top of mind.

Madeline Rich is VP of marketing at Lotame, a digital marketing and data management firm.

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