As a brand you are constantly evolving your strategy to connect with people. Long gone are the days of mass advertising, with irrelevant messaging that annoyed people and led to wasted marketing spend. These days, your focus is all about leveraging targeted messages with positive, personalized experiences.
Today, data is at the core of every marketing strategy. Leveraging data to provide value to people is critical and can have a positive impact on your bottom line. A study conducted by Michael Luca, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, demonstrated that a one-star increase in a brand’s Yelp rating led to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Data-driven insights such as these allow for optimization of strategy and drive improvements with customer and prospect interactions.
The amount of data we generate is growing every year. As people interact with more devices in new spaces, the opportunity for brands to engage with them will continue to increase. In 2017, people were already creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day and we project that number to increase by approximately 185 times more by 2025. Data is powerful, but without a strong data foundation, it can be rendered meaningless.
A strong data foundation is centered around data privacy and built on the principles of privacy by design. An emphasis on data privacy has led to the adoption of GDPR in the EU and has inspired several state-wide privacy regulations across the U.S, including CCPA. This focus on consumer data privacy has also led to the pending deprecation of third-party cookies across the most widely used web browsers. These changes in data privacy might feel jarring as you attempt to reach audiences, but a fertile ground for innovation is ready for those who want to create meaningful connections with audiences in a privacy-compliant manner.
- With the principles of privacy by design guiding your data foundation, you’ve taken the first step toward building a sustainable model that will enable meaningful interactions with your audience. The next step will be to gain a deep understanding of your organization’s current and future use cases. Understanding the set of problems your business wants to solve both now and in the future is key as you think through the architecture of your data foundation. As long as your use cases are ultimately focused on driving value for people, you’re on the right path.
- After working through your use cases (which will undoubtedly evolve over time), you’ll want to identify your available data and begin breaking down your silos. Through this exercise, you’ll know what data you have and what data you will need to either develop or acquire. Irrespective of your current data availability, it is highly recommended that you develop evergreen data enrichment practices. Doing so will help ensure your brand evolves alongside your audience.
- After gaining a solid grasp of both available and accessible data, ensure you have your best and brightest people working on your data standardization and cleansing process. From an execution standpoint, this is one of the most critical steps to help you achieve your personalization goals. You don’t want to be in a position where the adage coined by George Fuechsel, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), holds true. If your data is dirty and disjointed, your personalization strategies will be, too.
- Be sure to embrace the cloud, which has democratized the ability to scale and process large amounts of data without concerns about downtime, required hardware, security, or upgrades. Cloud providers also provide users with out-of-the-box tools to help them reach their business objectives more efficiently. The prominence of machine learning and artificial intelligence is thanks to the cloud and has led to improvements in interactions between people and brands.
Whether you’re providing customized content, product recommendations, promotional emails, or something else, it all starts with the same fundamental pieces. A strong data foundation provides the ingredients essential to unleashing highly effective personalization strategies across your most meaningful channels.
Our strong history in identity, data management, and governance uniquely equips Acxiom to help brands navigate the ethical and tactical challenges that come with data acquisition and retention. Let us know how we can help!