By Kim (Weisensee) Brown | Originally posted on November 17, 2015 on Acxiom Perspectives Blog
Edited by author from its original version
Have you seen the recent Esurance commercials that showcase ridiculous situations where “sorta” isn’t good enough? (Click here to check out the videos.) An MLB catcher that’s sorta like a doctor because he wears a glove isn’t a doctor, so why would you pay for an insurance policy that isn’t tailored exactly to you?
We agree: Sorta you isn’t you. Marketing should use the most accurate audience data possible to ensure you’re reaching your correct target… not sorta your target.
Marketing data could and should be people-based. What does that mean? People-based data has its foundation in offline, real-world information. For example, name, physical address, email address, age, phone number, etc. Think about all the direct mail you get. Those companies are using actual, known information to put your name and address on the envelope.
With other marketing data providers or publishers, I might just be a cookie, device ID, phone number, email, or viewer. But if I was looking at people-based data, it’s clear that I’m Kim. I live in Chicago. I’m a female. I have one cell phone number, three email addresses, and I don’t have any kids or own a car. I’m a person that uses media. I’m not a bunch of media impressions that may or may not be the same person.
Think of people-based data as the Rosetta Stone for omni-channel marketing. Start with a unique individual and, very importantly, anonymize that individual. Then match the data with partners in a privacy-compliant way, so they know the exact audience to target. For digital, social, mobile and Addressable TV marketing, this becomes like the paperless version of direct mail.
With people-based, omni-channel data, you can do the following:
- Build one audience and target that exact audience on Addressable TV, Mobile, Social and Digital publishers
- Build an audience to target on one channel and also exclude it on another channel. For example: you target your audience for an email campaign, and exclude that same audience from your Facebook campaign to better measure the impact of email.
- Person-level targeting = person-level measurement. You can build an audience of 1,000,000 people that are in-market for a new luxury car. You can then serve those people your car ad with a publisher partner, like Yahoo or AOL. They’ll go to a dealership and buy a car, ending up on a sales transaction list. Then you can measure who was in the target audience, who saw the ads, and who bought the cars. Because it all starts with real people-based data.
- You can do actual test-and-controls as well as site personalization because you know you’re excluding individuals and all their cookies/IDs, instead of excluding cookies but only removing two of the four associated to me.
- Learn who your audience really is. Use people-based data to create segments of young people, mature professional, suburbanites verses city-dwellers, men verses women. Run those segments as multiple campaign targets and review the performance. You might have always thought moms was your key target because of the websites you ran ads on, but your male segment (full of actual known men based on real data, not online behavior assumptions) was the best performing.
- Speak to your actual audience as they are, not as you expect them to be. For example: you might know you’re targeting young families. But your creative imagery on your site and in your ads has them washing cars in the ‘burbs. Instead, analyze your audience and show you the full picture of who they really are. The majority of those young families might live in the city and not own a car. Maybe they like the outdoors but your creative has them in front of the TV together.
People-based data represents the full and multi-faceted aspects of individuals based on real-life data, not stereotypes or assumptions from online behaviors or just one of our many interests/identities. I might be a woman, an executive, an urbanite, a foodie, a soon-to-be wife and an online clothes shopper. To other data providers, I’m oversimplified into just one or two of those categories. With people-based data, I’m all-of-the-above and completely me – not sorta me.
People-based data is critical to marketing not just because it’s accurate, secure, privacy-compliant and omni-channel. It elevates audiences to more than just an arbitrary target or a data point and puts the audience full of real people back into the center of marketing.
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