With Great Data Comes Great Responsibility

Posted: October 1, 2015 in Posts
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I am data. You are data. We are all data…and that’s why we have to zone in on our processes of data analytics and science as people because that is what the data is, people.

I am not alone here. I have had conversations with many of my peers and competitors who are all fully aware of how we must take an emotional approach to our work. This is because there are emotions and at times, very important life events that we are affecting through enablement and change, hopefully with the best of intentions.

What college should I attend and why?
Predicting intent to move, the changing of home caretakers, purchasing expensive items that will have a big impact budgets, choosing your next job – all these decisions affect so much more than a click or a day of someone’s life. We are mapping the flow of this traffic, its direction and the related content. Our research data, when brought to action, becomes the behavioral data about the people who make these types of decisions.

I feel the pressure of the people, not the CPM! 

Marketing, advertising and research through audience science, development, management and optimization, are all very important. However, without an emotional understanding of the people and the goals, we can easily fail.

Even understanding and creating the right content might not be enough to accomplish goals focused on the people – not just a CPM or CPC. The IP models get loaded into the DSPs for programmatic media buys and we can often forget they are actually people. We can no longer run those buys the same way we have watched display advertising become a commoditized market of price and reach, not quality and relevancy. We need to bring favorable and tolerable marketing for the people!

But here is why advertising has the opportunity to really harness the power of the people – by really listening to the that data, analyzing it, finding stages in the buyer’s journey and making it speak to us. However, if you don’t engage with the proper content that says “I hear what you want and we are giving it to you through incentives that increase our life time value through a data/people relationship”, then we are not committed to a greater outcome and relationship.

We can bring the horse to the water from audience analytics but will they have a drink?

We need to emphasize:

  • Creative solutions
  • Relevant content
  • Offers and meaningful CTAs
  • Lead and prospect nurturing through real-world CRM solutions

The ‘Relationship’

It must be a fair relationship between your data partners, ad agencies and company processes. This how we get to a win-win situation, for both the business side and the consumer satisfaction side. This is also why it never matters who the smartest guy in the room is it’s the contribution of each individual – their skills and experience independently based upon the goals we are all there together to achieve. The lions need to form Voltron.

As for us data, audience, people profiling folks – we can help by doing our part. However, it’s rare to be able to have an audience scientist who is skilled in UI, UX, design and content. This is an illusive mash up and usually is only found in the old school direct marketers that have evolved with data for over 15 years plus of experience. This is because back then, it had to be done this way. The creative in DM/DR was responsible for processing the data and then communicating the meaning of these analytics back to the creative – much more than A/B testing.

Insights are only relevant in advertising and marketing if action can be tied to them. Data can be extrapolated from most of the insights, especially from research data and not old survey panels. Keep in mind, I don’t just mean for media planning and buying. This applies to making actionable decisions based on locations, banners, landing page optimization, customer programs, sales times, seasonality, AdWords, competitive analysis, consumer experience and much more.

Intent, from cookies to IP addresses, started and has been evolving since about 2012.

Nowadays, the cookie is basically irrelevant in intent modeling and audience development for so many reasons, mobile being of course the big one. There are no cookies in this terrain and all around the cookie…well it’s just not clean data in! So now, we need to uncover real predictive intent and this comes from research analytics and modeling that can be tied to indexing page consumption at the UA/Device level. Actions can then be taken from all aspects of communications and engagement, creating many important triggers.

Data is becoming more and more useful for practices such as Venture/Private Equity, PR, Product Development, Market Analysis (sizing, opportunity, competition, etc.). I cannot stress enough how we can no longer just load IP addresses into a DSP and start programmatic buying with old methods. While this is an important use, it needs proper recency and frequency models attached to it for optimal performance, in brand as well as direct. Many are busy in their labs as we feel, with so much data these days, there is limitless work to be done.

The bottom line

While it’s really fun to see what comes out of an audience profile in the early part of the build and then, how many segmentation and utilization doors get opened, I often find that it’s very easy to get lost in the data.

So how do we maintain a clear focus?

First off, if we are tasked with a project that has a defined end result, this helps a great deal. Additionally, being focused on improving campaigns, strategies and ideas all of which are based on the who, the what, the where and the when, provides you with a clear road map to follow.

With so much research and work being done to avoid digital ads all together for consumers, it’s clear we’re not performing optimally.

As Marketers, we have the power to do better! And therefore…we must accept the responsibility.

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