Who am I? I’m a middle-aged, married father of four. I live in the south-central U.S. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys traveling and photography. I drive a four-wheel drive, late-model SUV, racking up a lot of miles each year because most days I have a long commute. I own my home and may soon be looking to buy another. I have a dog named Rosco and a cat named Cat. My wife and I eat out more than we should, and we prefer Asian food. I am involved in my community, have a few causes I support and attend church regularly.
A marketer looking to engage with me and others like me might want to know much of this personal information. They are able to glean insights into these interests, assets, and routines due to the enormous amount of online and offline data my family and I generate. But interestingly, there is a whole other part of me that I’ve not mentioned, that can be equally or even more important to a marketer: my professional identity.
I work in global business-to-business (B-to-B) marketing for Acxiom, a company that collects and aggregates online and offline consumer data and uses it to help brands improve the performance of their marketing campaigns. I’ve been at Acxiom seven years, and I’ve also worked as a product manager and a trainer. I split my time between a home office and a traditional office. I previously worked for a major retailer for more than 20 years, where I also worked in training, communications, and marketing. In a “former life,” decades ago, I also worked as a broadcast journalist and in commercial video production.
Which business-to-consumer (B-to-C) brands might want to know this professional information for a clearer, more complete view of my identity? Might I be more likely for instance, to prefer a certain brand or type of personal laptop due to my profession? Would a streaming video service looking to suggest relevant content find knowing my professional identity helpful? Would my professional background in communication, video, and training suggest a particular type of mobile device, wireless carrier or level of internet service? What about my fairly long commute? Might an electric or hybrid vehicle be in my future? This professional information about me adds insight into my identity, but it has been harder for B-to-C marketers to capture and blend with other known data.
What about B-to-B marketers? A buzz word these days is account-based marketing (ABM), where B-to-B marketers use known attributes to target key accounts with customized content. What if, for instance, I am in a position to buy expensive new HD video cameras for corporate video production? Would my preference for a certain brand of consumer camera be valuable information to a marketer trying to interest me in its line of professional HD gear? I’ll avoid the suspense and just say – yes!
The benefits of combining a more holistic audience view with integrated personal and professional identities are pretty obvious, but doing so may have seemed really hard. The good news for both B-to-B and B-to-C marketers is that times are changing. A just-announced solution called Work-Life Audiences, a partnership between Acxiom and Dun & Bradstreet, the global leader in commercial data and analytics, leverages more than 200 combined years of experience to expand data attributes on more than 30 million consumers, capturing consumer personas between work and home, and across devices.
Consumers like me — and especially those younger than me — have long since become accustomed to and even expect brands to use data to better engage at the consumer level. Our work lives and our personal lives converge like never before. Knowing and blending in professional information for a more robust identity view, allowing a brand to speak to us more holistically, is a natural next step and will soon become expected.