With more screens and devices than ever, there's no stopping today's consumer technology revolution. But without a new data management strategy, you won't benefit from it, either. Like kings and queens of old, you'll be left to wonder how so much power got into the hands of so many, and how it happened so fast. Your business will be, well, history.
Why the Storm Is Brewing
To stay ahead, marketers need a new approach to managing consumer interactions across every channel—and, most importantly, to being personal. What's needed today isn't your grandfather's version of personalization, such as product recommendations on a site you have a purchase history with. Instead, this new type of personalization hinges on consistently accurate consumer identities across every channel on any device—even when the user isn't authenticated.
To get identity right you can't just look at cookies, mobile IDs or even email addresses. With new consumer behaviors, there are a lot more data sources you need to take into account. For example, consumers are spending more time than ever on mobile and social media. Cisco reports:
- There are 1.4 billion smart devices in North America.
- 85% of smartphone time is spent in apps, where cookies, the traditional Web identifiers, don't reach.
- 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, often with different handles or user names.
Thanks to these easy, fun technologies, consumers expect a great experience, one that's personal and relevant—all about me, me, me. They want to interact anywhere, at any time, using data ranging from bank balances to calories burned during morning runs. And they want it all to be simple and lightning-fast.
Despite all our advances in technology, most consumers still prefer buying their products and services in the store or over the phone. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales accounted for only 6.7% of all sales during the fourth quarter of 2014. Tracking consumers across all digital touch points isn't enough—if you don't know who the person buying in your store is, you probably don't know any more about your customer than you did in 1999.
Your Old DMP Would Just Let You Eat Cake
While most brands have systems in place to identify and understand customers, they tend to suffer from common challenges: using different identifiers for the same people; siloed data, or parallel universes, that aren't remotely integrated; and personally identifiable information, or PII, that erodes quickly.
To help brands, most DMP vendors offer identity management solutions that take what data they have and use a proprietary algorithm to try to map device signals to users. Some companies offer identity solutions that use "deterministic" methods that work with information people volunteer about themselves. Others take the "probabilistic" route, where their algorithms guess who the person is based on certain behavioral patterns and signals.
Regardless of the methodology, most solutions only try to solve the problem of linking screens or devices. For the majority of marketers, these solutions are simply not enough. What you need is a data management platform that nails real-world identities, time after time.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
Liberty, equality and fraternity may have been the cry of the French Revolution. But today's consumer revolution is fueled by liberty alone—the freedom to be yourself and the demand to be treated as such. Again, real one-to-one marketing is only possible when the second party, the customer, is properly identified.
To stay in step with the march of progress, be sure your DMP is outfitted with a real-world "identity engine." Here are some things to look for:
- Links to authoritative sources at the core of your DMP.
- When onboarding, first-party data that is as robust in quality of matches as it is in quantity.
- An intelligence layer that uses predictive algorithms to fill the gaps between real people and anonymous devices, where definitive linkages don't exist.
- A bullet-proof system that protects PII, segregates it from anonymous identifiers and allows people to opt in or out in compliance with privacy policies.
- Continuous corroboration of data with new inputs to keep it fresh; after all, garbage in, garbage out.
In the end, the main goal of having a DMP is to help you know more about your customers. If your DMP can't help you connect the dots across channels and devices, it's time for a regime change. Don't be left behind.
About the Sponsor
Neustar Inc. is the first real-time provider of cloud-based information services and data analytics, enabling marketing and IT security professionals to promote and protect their businesses. With a commitment to privacy and neutrality, Neustar operates complex data registries and uses its expertise to deliver actionable, data-driven insights that help clients make high-value business decisions in real time, one customer interaction at a time. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.