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Patrick Dolan, IAB discusses using data to improve the consumer experience

This week’s guest blog post by Patrick Dolan EVP & COO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), is abstracted from the original, published in The New Possible thought leadership journal.

Consumer experience (CX) is one of the hottest trends in brand marketing today, and rightly so.

According to Forbes, “research already shows that a whopping 89 percent of customers say they have switched brands because of poor CX.”

Many forward-thinking brands have reported that when a customer has a great experience with every interaction in the purchase process (or return process), there is a halo effect on the brand as a whole.

The idea of consumer experience goes way beyond the basic transaction—such as the friendly sales person and a short checkout line. These are obviously important, but they are only a small part of a successful CX strategy.

The quality of the experience extends to every touchpoint, including payment options, return policies and the relation of the company’s technology to their marketing and communications efforts.

Brands that respond to a customer’s preferences have a competitive advantage.

One of the most important components of a great consumer experience is personalization. Now, consumers are beginning to expect that brands and retailers understand their preferences.

In addition to basic product preferences, such as size, quantity, color or even recommendations for future purchases, a brand should know how and when to initiate communications.

Brand leaders who are still in the early stages of developing their digital communication strategies can learn a lot from understanding both the latest communication technologies and data-driven advertising techniques deployed by digital publishers over the past 20 years.

Data-driven ad technology was developed by digital publishers to improve the customer’s ad viewing experience, as well as to optimize the value of advertising inventory.

The data used to customize these ad experiences evolved over time. Early interest-based advertising was developed using clickstream and contextual data from a consumer’s web surfing behavior.

Advances in anonymizing personal identifiable information and improved consumer privacy protection practices allowed publishers to add transactional data to the mix. The ability to provide customers with experiences based on contextual interest, as well as online and offline shopping behavior, proved to be a powerful combination.

With the advent of the Data Management Platform (DMP), systems for deploying data into automated advertising exchange systems created a sophisticated communications ecosystem. With ever-increasing connection points into this vast, data-driven communications system, brands can now benefit by utilizing their own data to the fullest. In short, advertising strategy needs to become “data centric.”

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About Patrick Dolan

Patrick has been involved with the digital advertising and media industry for the better part of two decades. He pioneered many of digital advertising techniques while in senior roles at DoubleClick, now owned by Google.

While Director of Business Operations at DoubleClick he was on the team that developed interest-based advertising, re-targeting and other data-related advertising products. Prior to the IAB, Patrick served as the Executive Director of The Locomotion Cable Channel, a joint venture between Hearst and Corus Entertainment. He also served as the director of finance for George Soros’s network of philanthropic entities, the Open Society Institute, in Europe. 

Download this article and read more by visiting page 6 of The New Possible thought leadership journal.

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