See if you’ve been in this situation before. You’re responsible for planning and buying digital media for your client, but they also have their own list of people they want to talk to. You know combining powerful client (1P) data with your expert marketing skills is the right decision. Here are 6 tips to make sure your client data-driven campaigns are a success:
1. Start by finding the right partner to onboard the client’s data
Ensure that they first anonymize and then match data through a secure automated process that protects consumer privacy. Make sure they are leaders in security, privacy, recognition and publisher connectivity.
2. Once you have the data fully onboarded, then revisit your media plan
If you finalize the media plan (specifically budget and publisher) before the target data was included, the budget and publisher choice might not jive with the data. In other words – the people they wanted to target weren’t in that publisher network, there was a larger audience than budget, or more budget than audience. You can avoid this by leaving room for adjustments.
3. Go in with a fully open mind
It is so much more constructive and enlightening for your campaign when you go into it completely open to what you might learn. Like the scientific method we all learned as kids, have a hypothesis but then let the data and performance speak for itself. If it’s different than what you thought, evolve based on the facts instead of calling it a failure because it didn’t match your hypothesis. If your data source is changing, you need to reset benchmarks first before you can really start diving in deep with 1st party data-based optimizations.
4. Keep CRM/1st party data “in stock”
Think of the 1P data as a staple ingredient in your pantry, like salt. It should not be “if” you’re going to use 1P data, but “where and how”. You always have salt regardless of what you’re going to be cooking that night or week. You would never not buy salt until you knew the time you’d be cooking dinner because you know you’ll need it for a lot meals (and there are some that you might not add salt). Client data is the same as salt. It should be omnipresent in your thinking and planning, on hand for when you need to add a lot or a little to a campaign. When the time comes, you won’t have time to go to the store. You need it on your shelf to incorporate readily and as-needed. After all, we’re marketing to real people, so why wouldn’t you want real-people data?
5. Surround yourself with data and CRM experts
Using 1P data for marketing is one of the most mature marketing tactics there is (think mail-order catalogs and direct mail). But using 1P data for online marketing is still incredibly new. Looking back to when I first started out in search marketing, there were very few benchmarks or best practices, and the ones that existed weren’t always useful. I probably worked more with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo account reps my first year than I did with my own colleagues. Now I advise my clients to surround themselves with trusted partners that have the experience to help them succeed. I like to say that 1P data-based online marketing is the event horizon. Assume nothing and learn everything. And try not to get frustrated when learning the ‘new normal’ for 1P data-based online marketing.
6. Remember it’s all one big test-and-learn
I’m sure we’ve all heard the industry adage, “Keep it in perspective. We’re not saving lives in the ER.” It’s cliché but worth repeating. And not only are we not administering life-saving treatment, we’re in an industry that is constantly changing.
This is not a zero-sum game. We all need each other to win, and we all win together. I love working in marketing because of the pace of the evolution. What was true last month may not work this month (the algorithm changed, KPIs adjusted, consumers’ engagement shifted). So I encourage all of us to act like CEOs and find the smartest experts to work with and learn from. If we are comfortable knowing there are many right answers and build a test-and-learn process into our plans, we can cultivate this thinking into our teams to the benefit of all.