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Crossing the line: Data’s role in building more connected marketing campaigns

Jed MoleNovember 10, 2014
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If, like me, you’re a keen sailor you’ll be familiar with the naval term ‘crossing the line’. It refers to the moment you cross the equator, which ignites much jubilation and strange rituals.  It marks a real sense of achievement. Strange that it should; it’s only a line after all.  Such a simple thing really and probably the easiest design that we can draw.  | There, what’s so challenging about a line?   An awful lot it seems and not just for sailors.  In the marketing world lines have come to represent a wall, a chasm even that divides practitioners and teams and negatively impacts advertising effectiveness and customer experience.

Why is it, 15 years after the emergence of ‘integrated advertising’, we still refer to above and below the line?   Why is it we still refer to offline and online?  Why is it, some practitioner’s measure campaign performance on clicks/conversions alone, whilst others cross the conversion line and consider the long term impact to the bottom line?  So many lines.  Too many divisions. Isn’t it ironic how the marketing community preaches the virtues of connected communications yet continues to divide itself. Too many brands silo their digital, CRM, research and marketing teams.  Too many agencies work in isolation for the same brand.  Too often the data and insights from these disciplines sits on separate servers.  Too many gaps, stopping many brands from recognising, reaching and engaging with an individual, as the same individual.

To truly achieve this we need another line; one that connects all aspects of our industry and the data we generate.  Like a dot to dot drawing, Acxiom have started to draw the line to complete this picture by connecting offline and online audiences. These data connections lay the foundations for the rest of the marketing community to continue that line by changing the way that we work together. We need to plan, create, deliver and measure connected campaigns, together.  We need to learn each other’s language, understand the different ways in which we view success, share our ideas and results and strengthen our combined efforts.

There are some practical steps to making these connections:

  • Build a single view of your customers and prospects, including offline and online data. Recognise your customers and prospects as individuals, not cookies, and you’ll open up a window on their world.
  •  Develop a customer centric structure and culture within your organisation and across your agency partners.  Get your advertising and your teams talking and working together towards a single set of goals.
  •  Do what you do offline, online. Enhance your online planning with the insights from your CRM data. Match your data to premium publisher data, such as Facebook and Twitter. Extend your reach by profiling your key customer segments and using predictive models, matched to premium publishers and DSP’s. Use third party data assets within publishers own advertising platforms to finely tune your targeting.
  •  Create a single set of campaign performance standards.  In my view, get everyone thinking about customer value.  It’s not “all about the clicks” as I recently heard.  It’s not even all about conversion.  Understanding and predicting customers’ behaviour after conversion is more important.

By crossing the line and making the connections we stand a very good chance of delivering what we want and what the consumer wants – seamless, relevant experiences that make us all want more. And what happens when you cross that line. + It turns into a positive.

Mark Arnold – Planning Consultant