How Consumer Data Can Create a Connected Customer Experience


Every day, about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created globally1. That’s a colossal volume of information, across an incredible number of sources, that’s only set to escalate with the advance of technology (such as the Internet of Things). 

With the right customer data strategy, organizations that leverage their growing data assets, enhancing and enriching their first-party data by forming second-party data partnerships, or driving value through leveraging third-party data partnerships, will be those able to utilize data to create exceptional customer experiences and succeed in the new data economy. 

Yet that can be easier said than done. Never have marketers had access to the monumental volume and variety of data assets available today. However, marketers looking to deliver exceptional experiences need exceptional insights and data. Now, to engage the right customers through the right channels, with the right messaging, at the right time, marketers must be able to expand, enrich and take action based on their consumer data to build more relevant, personalized and engaging campaigns.

That may sound complex. But with the right second-party (and crucially) third-party data partnerships and processes to enrich data and deliver exceptional insights, it’s possible to truly know and understand audience needs, wants and preferences.
This means that those marketers who prioritize their customer data strategy will not only be able to leverage data to understand their audiences, build digital and offline lists, isolate contact touch point data, append insights to known or anonymous audiences and more – but they will be best placed to enable truly personalized, engaging experiences anywhere.


Defining Different Types of Consumer Data

  • First-party: This is the data you collect directly from your customers.
  • Second-party: Leveraged in partnership with a relevant second party, this data is another organization’s first-party data. Such an exchange can add depth and insight to your first-party data.
  • Third-party: Third-party data, as the name implies, is consumer data that a marketer acquires from a range of third party sources. Typically used to help create consumer segments for targeting ads and marketing messages, third-party data often refers to information gathered from internet interactions. In some cases third-party insight may also be acquired via a third-party data provider. 


2 / Improving the Quality of Your Customer Data

As marketers, we know we can we create truly exceptional, personalized customer experiences when we leverage the right customer data. 

With the right insight in place, we can build a complete, real-time, single customer view (SCV) across channels. Crucially, with high-quality, real-time customer data, we’re able to understand and recognize who a consumer is, their preferences, their relevance to an organization, their interests and more. That data can enable us to tailor everything from timely communications, to great-fit offers, and deliver incredible, personalized customer experiences! 

The Customer Data Challenge

This may sound straightforward, yet challenges still stand in the way of many marketers. Though we have access to more data than ever, today, data-driven marketers must consider how to overcome challenges such as:

  • Having poor-quality, outdated or siloed data
  • Lacking data availability and granularity
  • Addressing varying legal requirements and the cultural acceptance of data-driven marketing
  • Lacking identity resolution technology and having fragmented data activation

Simply having some consumer data isn’t enough to deliver effective, personalized campaigns. Your data must be accessible, un-siloed, and high-quality for it to be of value. 

Improving the Quality of Your Customer Data

Faced with poor quality and siloed data, – how can a brand proactively maintain quality data, especially when there are ever increasing volumes of it? 

It’s important to take a considered approach to consumer data, addressing the four C’s of data quality: – Correct, Current, Complete, and ethically Collected. 

  • Do You Have the Correct Data? Data normalization is the first step here to ensure you have current, correct consumer data. First, that means ensuring all of your existing data is held in a consistent way, such as all phone numbers being presented in the same format with the correct number of digits. Second, it’s important to check that all of that data really is as correct as possible. Life events such as new phone numbers, marriage, moving and more can make consumer data outdated. Are you sure the Steve Jones you have on record still has the same phone number? 

Here, a data enrichment and enhancement solution can help correct or remove poor-quality or incorrect data from your database. 

  • Do You Have Complete Data? Once your data has been normalized and you know it’s correct, it’s time to identify and fill in the gaps. Are you missing digits from phone numbers? Does each consumer’s ZIP code match the area code and town listed?

If you have incomplete data sets, a customer data enrichment or  enhancement solution can help you enhance the data you possess by merging it with third-party data from an external data partner.  


Data Enhancement and Data Enrichment

Why select a data enhancement or enrichment solution? 

Such solutions can enable marketers to:

  • Clean and enhance digital and offline data for more effective people-based engagement by removing or correcting poor-quality data.
  • Enhancement and enrichment solutions can also enable marketers to merge  third-party data with their first-party customer data to enhance and enrich it.  
  • Do You Have Current Data? You may have a complete database,  – but is all of the data up-to-date and accurate? How many of your customers have moved? Do you have their correct addresses? Do you know which customers have changed their names, phone numbers, or marital status? Updating this information is crucial – not only to enable the best, current and personalized experience – but it can help you avoid errors, such as sending multiple copies of the same marketing materials to the same person or to multiple people in a household. 

Not sure if Miss Mandy Smith from New York City is the same person as Mrs. Mandy Jones in Los Angeles? Identity resolution solutions can help combine identifying data points across multiple touch points and devices to enable a seamless, omnichannel view of consumers.

  • Do You Have An Ethical Approach to Data Collection? Legally and morally, we all have a responsibility to maintain an ethical approach to collecting and managing data. High-quality customer relationships are based on trust – your customers must trust you as a brand to go above and beyond what’s legally required to ensure their data is kept safe and used fairly. 

3 / Using Third-Party Data for Better Audience Engagement

According to the IAB and Winterberry Group, U.S. businesses spent nearly $12 billion on third-party audience data in 2018, – a 17.5% increase from 2017, driven in part by increasing growth in display advertising and demand for an accurate identifying view of who their customers are as they move across multiple touch points – from transactional to digital, promotional, traditional and more. 

Clearly, third-party data is a key tool for data-driven marketers; it’s critical to help marketers better understand and target their customers, as well as identify other similar consumers and lookalikes.  

How Can Third-Party Data Improve Audience Engagement?

With the right third-party data provider supporting your first-party customer data, it’s possible to build a much more valuable database, enabling a clear customer view across increasing volumes of data and ever-fragmented touch points.

By leveraging third-party data, marketers are able to vastly expand their marketing strategy approaches – supplementing (fast-growing) first-party data with quality third-party data opens the doors to:  

  • Insights & Analysis
  • Retention & Extension
  • Persona Creation
  • Real-time Personalization
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Increased Marketing Efficiency

This access to greater audience segmentation, lookalike modeling, personalization and more can pave the way to greater audience engagement; we can utilize third-party data to enrich existing data and build more engaging audience experiences, using data to:

Geo-target High-value Consumers

Do you have a connected device with you most places you go? From smartphones to tablets, location data is an increasingly valuable and growing asset. Because of this, best-in-class third-party data providers will partner with location data providers to provide comprehensive, actionable audience insights. Here, it’s possible to use third-party data to geo-target specific audiences for the precise delivery of a message, which in turn can increase site and foot traffic, improve the customer experience – and also the cost-effectiveness of campaigns.

One way marketers can leverage third-party data is to use it to enhance geo-targeting, using digital data enhancement to append audience data to a single anonymous identifier. This enables a range of targeting advantages. For example, you could target audience segments that have visited your store within the past 30 days. Or, leveraged with third-party insights, you could message all relevant consumers within a specific radius of a branch. Or similarly, you could direct consumers who are too far away from a branch toward your e-commerce site. 


Create & Distribute Tailor-Made Audiences

Customization is the key to creating unique, personalized marketing. This is increasingly true across all marketing approaches. With a need to engage the right customers with the right messages at different stages of the funnel, one advantage of combining first-party and third-party data is to create tailor-made audience segments. 

Doing so can enable marketers to create one-of-a-kind audiences, tailored to a specific need – as well as discover customers who look like existing best-fit customers.

Specific segments that can be achieved will, of course, vary from brand to brand, but by investing in customized audience segments, an organization can engage at the optimal time in the buyer’s journey with the right message, delivered in the right places. 

Acxiom Automotive

Precision Segmentation & Targeting

From creating tailor-made audience segments, to enabling precision targeting – with the right data, marketers can transform audience insight into value. By leveraging third-party data (and adopting second-party data sharing arrangements to enhance data), it’s possible to identify and connect with audiences everywhere – segmenting across thousands of global audience attributes for distribution across platforms, publishers and offline. 

Deliver Consistent Omnichannel Experiences

Though managing the sheer volume of customer data available is a challenge for marketers today, with the right processes to make it correct, actionable and unified as a single data layer, it’s possible to find your most valuable audiences, unlock clarity and sophistication and deliver truly engaging, consistent relevant marketing for  consumers across all channels.

Third-party data enrichment is a core part of that process, and as marketing approaches and technologies evolve, we have more ways than ever to deploy third-party data support as a means to ensure compelling marketing, maximum impact and improved brand interaction.

Learn more about how to gain audience insights with third-party data services from Acxiom.

4 / Building Relevant Audiences With Data

With correct, high-quality consumer data, enriched by third-party data, marketers have the insight to deliver impactful, personalized marketing. 

Yet there remains opportunity to advance campaigns even further. We live in a global, seemingly borderless digital world. Global brands naturally want to take advantage of this borderless digital world to deliver great customer experiences in key markets. And with the right data support, it’s possible to do so.

After all, you already have a good idea as to what the people who invest in your products and solutions like; you know their challenges, behaviors and more. So why not work on your digital audience strategy – and employ third-party data to find and build additional relevant audiences, for greater personalization, targeting and engagement?

With the audience insight third-party data can provide, it’s possible to better know – and anticipate – your customers’ demographics and buying behaviors, conduct market analysis, plan customer acquisition strategies and create cross-sell/upsell and retention campaigns that are truly targeted, personalized and powerful. And that means you’ll always reach, resonate and serve the best messaging to the right audience.

There are a number of ways organizations can evolve their customer data strategy to find and engage wider, similar audiences. Across industries, marketers can use global third-party consumer data to:

  • Target relevant, global digital audiences: By leveraging audience curation and distribution capabilities, you can drive digital marketing across global publishers and platforms.
  • Identify, target, acquire and build new target audiences: It’s possible to use third-party consumer data to identify, enrich and build relevant new segments and audiences and then reach them via people-based marketing campaigns across online and digital channels.
  • Gain deeper audience insights by enhancing customer data: By matching and appending global consumer data to first-party consumer data, it’s possible to drive better insights for personalization, modeling and targeting. 

And the result of this data enrichment and enhancement? A far superior understanding of existing and new audiences and a clear view of their needs and drivers; that can enable relevant engagement across online and offline channels to drive long-term loyalty and value.

Achieving these audience advantages requires considered navigation of the global data and privacy landscape. As a result, it’s wise to partner with a trusted data provider that can offer a comprehensive set of capabilities such as audience data, segmentation and targeting, identity resolution – and, of course, can help you navigate privacy and compliance requirements.

5 / Creating an Omnichannel Customer Experience

What’s the goal of enhancing and enriching customer data?

As marketers, of course we want to have the best-quality, up-to-date consumer insights to build a data-driven customer experience. We want to ensure we have the right, enriched data to understand our audiences and reach the right people, with the right personalized messaging at the right times – via the right online and offline channels. 

Then we can create that seamless, personalized, omnichannel experience today’s customers expect, everywhere they go. 

Without accurate customer data, fragmented customer experiences are all too common; it’s hard to recognize that James in Dallas,  – who looked at your website yesterday – is the same James who just made a purchase in your downtown store and who signed up to receive your emails a year ago. And if you can’t connect the dots to recognize a customer across all touch points, you’ll deliver disjointed, underwhelming, and possibly irrelevant interactions.

But marketers who adopt a considered approach to data and customer experience – making the most of the opportunities that third-party enhancement and insight can bring to campaigns – can unlock its full potential, creating an impressive competitive advantage and building strong trust and loyalty with their customers. 

Able to make each interaction useful and relevant, the best data-driven marketers can create seamless experiences designed to strengthen customer relationships across every channel. They can understand their customers better, find the best moments to engage, and ensure that every dollar they spend delivers a bigger return.

To truly make the most of consumer data and create an omnichannel approach: 

  • Enable people-based marketing everywhere. Utilize identity resolution to recognize your customers across every channel. Market to real people – not devices – by resolving identity online and offline for unified messaging and seamless experiences.
  • Build insight with first-, second- and third-party data. Partner with high-quality data providers and third parties that can complete and enrich your existing customer data for truer customer clarity.
  • Use third-party data to build more relevant, high-value audiences. Once you enrich your data, use it to enhance your segments, build more relevant audiences and deliver a highly tailored, personalized customer experience across channels and devices. Third-party data solutions offer a wide range of enhancements – such as insight into audience demographics, habits, interests and more, geospatial insights for greater location targeting, or touch point data – enabling you to build an omnichannel engagement via the right channels for your audience. 

Ultimately, by working to enrich and enhance your consumer data with second-, and particularly third-party data, it’s possible to transform customer data into marketing insight, enabling incredible potential for campaign enhancement. 

After all, with the right data, it’s possible to increase the accuracy and predictive power of your marketing and improve response rates and engagement, while reducing marketing costs and minimizing wasted resources – a data-driven marketer’s dream!

Expanding Your Global Footprint

Brands need a global marketing approach that encompasses ethical use of data, identity resolution and integration.

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