Experian's expert panel discusses how to apply the advanced targeting and consumer segmentation sophistication of offline direct marketing to digital media.
All marketers would love to have a 360-degree view of their consumers -- real insights into their attitudes and behaviors across multiple communications channels, as well as the way in which a given consumer's demographics shape his or her wants and needs. So how do the world's leading marketers combine online and offline data to achieve both long-term and short-term marketing objectives? Experian Marketing Services explored this exact question with an expert panel during its workshop at ad:tech San Francisco.
According to Ken Beatty, chief analytics officer at G2 Direct & Digital, determining which pieces of data are actionable is a significant challenge for most marketers. "It's easy to drown in the data and be paralyzed by it," he said.
Indeed, Nadya Kohl, vice president, digital advertising, for Experian, noted that there's a wide array of disparate data sources out there. So, she posed to the panel, how can the average marketer discern what data points they should be using?
John Nardone, CEO of [x+1], said the first thing marketers need to understand is the quality of their sources -- where the data come from, how it's collected, and what it truly represents. Once a marketer ensures data sources are reputable, it's all about taking a wide look at the available figures and letting the important stats bubble to the surface.
According to Beatty, what you do with your data isn't always as important as the mere fact that you do something. "You can't be afraid of it," he said. "You have to commit to it. The worst thing you can do is sit on the sidelines. You don't have to understand every little detail to make decisions based on your data. But you can't just declare that you can't use your data because you don't fully understand it."
Michael Krypel, senior director at Omniture Digital, said starting simple can ease the fear associated with daunting sets of data. "Start with the stuff that makes sense to you -- the stuff you can wrap your head around," he said. Simple data points might include repeat visitors to a site or other common online metrics. However, Krypel also noted that digital marketers are encouraged to go beyond their online walls to also consider how offline data can aid their efforts. In that respect, Omniture plans to incorporate Experian demographic data into its own measurements as means of revealing previously untargeted micro-segments.
Beatty said this marriage of online and offline data is key to successfully reaching the right consumer with the right message. "In the digital space, we've become so accustomed to behavioral data, and we've forgotten about the impact of demographic data." For example, Beatty noted, both he and his 22-year-old son once received the same email promotion from Mercedes-Benz. Had the company included demographics in its targeting model, it would have been able to recognize that talking to a father and son in the same way just doesn't make good marketing sense.
Krypel agreed. "If you're looking at only behavioral data, you're looking at only half of the picture," he said.
Lori Luechtefeld is editor of iMedia Connection.
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