Imagine you’re trying to solve a puzzle. You have all the pieces you need, but they’re separated across a large table. You can’t pick them up, move them around, or see how they might fit together.
That puzzle never gets solved, right?
This is the situation many digital marketers find themselves in with data. A lack of data isn’t the issue. It’s not being able to recognize data you already have – or how it could work together to help you launch sophisticated programmatic campaigns.
Common Roadblocks to Unleashing Data’s True Potential
Odds are you already have mountains of data coming in from a variety of sources. Two roadblocks that can keep you from utilizing this data effectively are: 1) not recognizing where you’re already generating it, or 2) not being able to distinguish potentially valuable data from everything else.
There’s power in even the smallest amount of data. A tiny sliver of your total available data can reveal a critical trend that helps refine how you target your audience and ultimately increase your ROI.
Different data sources work in synergy to help you execute winning campaigns. Let’s explore two types of data sources, online and offline, and how they can work together for you:
1. Online Data
Vast amounts of data are being generated as users interact online and engage with your brand. This data, which encompasses everything from basic demographic information to detailed reports of someone’s income and browsing history, offers a level of insight marketers in the past could only dream of.
Harnessing this data isn’t always simple, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Ultimately, ease of implementation – and the potential value of real-time data to your campaigns – depends on your particular set-up and the technical capabilities of your in-house team or data partner.
You probably already have data about how often a user visits your website, which pages they visit, and other exclusive data (called “first-party data”). It’s certainly worth the effort to make use of it. And first-party data becomes especially valuable when overlaid with third-party data (data owned by other vendors) like demographics, search history, intent, and other off-site characteristics.
Real-time data is continuously integrated and intermixed with real-time media data, which creates another dimension of understanding about your target customers and helps track campaign performance.
2. Offline Data
Heaps of data are also being generated offline. Unfortunately for many marketers, these data sources never become part of the equation when it’s time to plan, target, and manage campaigns online. Are you selling to customers at retail locations? Communicating with leads at a call center or managing them with CRM tools? How about running a customer loyalty program? These are just a small sample of potentially valuable offline data sources you might already have.
Analyzing offline data in isolation can help you spot trends and target audience behavior patterns. That can be valuable, but it becomes much more valuable when you bring individual data sources together and pair them with online data. A deeper understanding of your target audience and how they interact with your brand results in more profitable, cost-effective campaigns.
Seeing this potential, industry giants like AOL, Google, and Axciom have made major acquisitions to better incorporate offline data within their online marketing efforts. And companies like Allstate have started to on-board data from call centers and agent databases to optimize online buys and fine-turn customer lifetime value scores. You might not have Allstate’s resources, but you probably at least have CRM data (newsletter activity, whitepaper downloads, etc.) you can tap into to help inform ad campaigns online.
Spot Data Sources and Bring Them Together for Winning Campaigns
If you’re like most digital marketers, you have more data at your fingertips than you know what to do with. The first steps to getting a handle on that data and mining it for more lucrative campaigns?
First, identify all the different places where data is already coming from. Then have someone with the technical skills needed help you dismantle data silos and draw on both online and offline sources to execute the most profitable campaigns possible.