This post was originally published in AdWeek’s 2017 Audience Targeting Guide.
A cop sees a guy crawling on the ground beneath a lamppost and asks him what he’s doing. “Looking for my keys,” the man says. “Did you drop them here?,” asks the cop, to which the man replies, “No, this is just where the light is.”
Marketers working with only a single, narrow view of prospect and customer identity are making the same obvious mistake. For example, tracking only web browser behavior can’t be a marketer’s guiding light.
The solution isn’t as simple as embracing a different lamppost, either. Mobile device IDs can offer a lot of insight, as they’re typically associated with a single person and much less prone to fraud than cookies. Even so, they’re not enough. Marketers need to be able to link these identifiers with email addresses, social IDs and more in order to recognize a user across all channels, screens and journey stages. That means they need to forget about “golden records” and focus their efforts on a portfolio-led approach.
Brands that do so enjoy three benefits:
- Enhanced Campaign Analytics: Without multi-dimensional customer recognition, brands have no idea if their targeting is reaching who they think it is, if it’s delivering real ROI or who to target next. With proper identity resolution, a host of attribution challenges go away and predictive models get trained on good, clean data.
- Expanded Contextual Insight: Brands that create a master profile across all of a customer’s platform- and channel-specific identifiers can associate richer attribute-level information, marrying data from first-, second- and third-party sources that would not be possible using a single identifier. With this added context, brands can better anticipate customer needs and create truly relevant messages, vital to winning in mobile moments.
- Orchestrated Multichannel Engagement: Because engagement takes place over multiple channels—a push notification, a Facebook ad, an email and so on—brands need a Rosetta Stone that can speak in a language each executional system can understand. Done right, identity resolution lets brands orchestrate live, multichannel campaigns employing the right identity, at the right time. This approach is far more useful and effective than shoe-horned integration methods like onboarding CRM data to cookie-based systems.
To keep pace with multiscreen consumers, brands need to reimagine targeting strategies for the modern era, starting with capabilities to harmonize multi-device, cross-channel data across touchpoints and identifiers.
They also need to ensure data integration is simple and that they have ready access to power tools—such as third-party data enrichment, peer-to-peer audience sharing and custom filters and transformation rules—to scale programs beyond the more basic use cases and maximize value.
Find a partner who can help you do that and the future will be bright. Otherwise, you’ll be forever fumbling around looking for your keys.