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The Data & Marketing Association’s Neil O’Keefe reveals how to raise your identity IQ

With an often complicated landscape, figuring out how to navigate identity solutions can be a challenge for marketers. 

That’s why we teamed up with the Data & Marketing Association at Advertising Week 2017 in NYC  to deliver the workshop Raise your Identity IQ: Taking the Mystery out of Cross-Device Match Rates, Precision & Scale. 

In this session, we demystified everything from the most important metrics to how precision, scale and high match rates can make the consumer experience more connected and ultimately more valuable for both the customer and the marketer.

We also sat down with the Data & Marketing Association’s SVP of Marketing and Content, Neil O’Keefe, to find out why workshops like these are critical to educating the marketplace on such an important topic.



Oracle: Why is it important for organizations to be educated about the landscape before going all-in on ID graph solutions?

Neil O’Keefe: It’s really important for the marketer to understand how much improved the relationship with the customer can be, through understanding who the customer is.

There’s a lot of redundancy and miscommunication in the space today that can frustrate consumers and put them off advertising all-together (and they can turn to ad-blocking, for example).

It’s on the shoulders of the marketer to understand and respect consumer preferences—and to deliver more personalized and relevant advertising. This connection will help strengthen the relationship of consumer to brand.

Oracle: What benefits do marketers realize from knowing the whole consumer, rather than fragments?

Neil O’Keefe: Because delivering a personalized and relevant message is so valuable for customers, understanding the customer from a 360-degree perspective allows marketers to do a better job of that.

Knowing the needs and wants of your customers is the first step—the second is making sure the message is relevant and shown at the right place, at the right time.

If a customer has already made a purchase, the marketer needs to pick up on that and change the offer so that it’s more relevant, post-purchase.

This varies from consumable products, which might inspire similar buys more often, to larger purchases that a customer will not need to purchase again for a number of years.



Oracle: At Advertising Week, DMA hosted a panel that Oracle participated in. One of the topics was identifying metrics that matter most—what should marketers be looking for when it comes to metrics around identity solutions and cross-device targeting?

Neil O’Keefe: The two main points we focused on were offline-to-online and cross-device. The belief is that marketers have done a terrific job of marketing to devices, but not necessarily to individuals.

The average individual engages with about 3.5 devices in a given day and over seven devices are owned on average per household.

To add to the challenge, marketers also have to think about scale.

How can brands not only target customers effectively, but also downstream to potential customers and prospects in order to scale their efforts and drive new business?

So, understanding that offline-to-online connection as well as the device to device connection, is incredibly important to measuring your ad spend (and ultimately, ROI).

Having metrics in place for those channels and knowing how many people you’re interacting with are key—both in scale and finding success cross-channel.

Oracle: Lastly, what trends will be most important in the next 12 months when it comes to cross-device targeting?

Neil O’Keefe: The trend away from cookies is a major trend from an identity perspective.

For example, Apple’s new version of Safari doesn’t track cookies—and there’s a significant debate whether or not cookies should be used at all.

The ability to get information is evolving—so, the question becomes, what is that defining customer identifier and how does the industry work beyond a few major players?

I think there’s also a big question around where devices are headed and where are we going to be engaging customers.

We’re heading into new platforms around gaming, around set-top boxes on TVs, Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) that will see significant changes.

From a consumer perspective, we predict that the amount of devices they use and own will increase. In fact, the definition of “what is a device,” is a question we will see repeated.

It’s an innovative time for marketers and the industry and the DMA is ready to provide guidance and resources along the way.

About Neil O’Keefe

Neil O’Keefe is the Data & Marketing Association’s SVP of Marketing & Content. In this role, O’Keefe is responsible for Business Insights, Marketing, Digital Strategy and Education.

As a senior executive on the DMA Leadership Team, O’Keefe leads the association’s strategy of modernizing the CRM and digital infrastructure.

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