This week’s guest blog post is contributed by Casey Martin, Senior Director, Client Partnerships, Oracle Data Cloud.
For data-driven marketers, the holidays are a critical time of year – a strong Q4 can make or break a company’s financial performance. Adding to an already complex marketing landscape at this time of year are a myriad of special offers, new product launches, seasonally changing consumer behaviors, rising media costs and increased competition for consumer’s attention and dollars, the pressure is on to deliver a successful campaign.
So, how can marketers increase consumer engagement, make the cash register ring and beat the competition this year? Let me show you how to take your data strategy to the next level and have a very happy holiday season indeed with these tips for a rock solid, data driven, holiday season marketing plan:
First party data is the most valuable data asset you have. As the old saying goes, “The easiest sale, is the one you’ve already made.” Your first party data is a treasure trove of insight into who your existing customers are, and who your newest customers will be.
Whether your first party data comes from your website, your apps, CRM files, offline sales data or loyalty programs, all of these data sources can and should be leveraged to inform your understanding of your customers, their journey, and where to find more consumers who are similar. First party data is also the best place to start for modeling audiences for targeting and activation. By leveraging a “seed audience” from your first party data, you can build high performing look-a-like models that will help you reach your goals.
Holidays are always the most fun when you include not just your family, but your friends and neighbors as well. Similarly, data-driven marketing is more successful when you work with strategic partners to share resources and data in order to maximize sales and take share from competitors.
Working with strategic partners such as resellers, big-box vendors, affiliates and other channel partners (who leverage their first party data in order to inform go to market decisions such as targeting, messaging and product bundles), can have a very positive impact on holiday campaigns. It can also provide a secondary source of valuable data to validate your assumptions and increase scale and effectiveness for audience targeting strategies.
The downside to first party data is that there is a finite amount of it – meaning, you need to expand your addressable audience while maintaining a level of precision that ensures you maximize media spend and see a material increase in conversion ratios.
The key to successfully using third party data is to understand that not all data is created and collected equally. Understanding where your data comes from, how it’s collected, modeling methodology and the recency of the data, are all key to understanding why one audience segment of “mobile-intenders” vs. another will have different results.
When leveraging third party data to gain scale with precision, you will literally have thousands of syndicated audiences to choose from and many of these will be high-quality options that work well. But, like any really great holiday gift, something that is more personalized and custom is always the way to go.
Custom audience options abound and nearly always provide great results due to their bespoke nature. Custom audiences are a hugely underutilized tool in the modern marketer’s toolbox, and by working with data partners to create audiences that are specific to your business and campaign goals, savvy marketers can realize their tremendous performance advantages.
Last but not least, transparency, granularity, and measurement are critical to successful holiday campaigns. Marketers need to have proper control and exposure segments in place and you MUST ensure that your campaigns are set up so that you can evaluate performance on an audience by audience, apples to apples basis across each of your media activation partners.
I hope that this list shows you that by properly using data to increase the performance of your holiday media campaigns, you can maximize your performance, decrease media waste and have a very happy holiday season indeed.