Solving The CMO’s Next Big Data Challenge

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Mobile data usage has skyrocketed, rising nearly 70% in just the last year. But following users across devices and channels continues to be among the biggest challenges for today’s marketing departments and agencies. The widening gap between where consumers spend their time and marketers’ ability to track them will be one of the most important challenges successful CMOs conquer in the coming years.

Only 3 in 10 marketers report using cross-channel tracking, and 2 of 3 shared that they do not understand how their customers use devices differently, let alone know how to follow customers across multiple screens while logged into the session. Cross-channel strategy creates the opportunity to utilize highly specified and relevant targeting, but for CMOs to truly take advantage of its benefits, best practices for this tactic must first be understood  by mobile and marketing analytics staffing, then implemented across the entire operation.

An Untapped Data Gold Mine

Some 4.9 billion connected devices in the growing Internet of Things will be connected and used this year– desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, wearables, even TVs, gaming devices and cars. All of them present brands with a tremendous opportunity to reach consumers on a more engaging, more personal level. For example, some of today’s most successful digital marketing staffing secure repeated engagement by delivering tailored content based on time-of-day and geotargeting that’s extremely relevant to each individual consumer through email, SMS, app activity and more.

When it comes to cross-device and cross-channel practices, the prevailing sense among marketing executives is that there is an abundance of data out there waiting to be harnessed for widespread targeting. However, most of the data today’s CMOs have available is not ideal for delivering the best user experience and content to consumers. By failing to gather relevant data and utilize it properly with outstanding marketing analytics staffing talent, many CMOs are leaving money on the table.

Communication Breakdown

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Most marketing executives are interested in carrying over the retargeting models that have been effective on desktops to a mobile environment, but not many understand how difficult it is to actually be successful with these methods without the right kind of properly-gathered data.

In fact, omnichannel data collection capabilities vary widely from device to device, with little standardization and few conventions between them. Mobile presents unique challenges never posed with desktop targeting where cookies have generally been found to be a reliable and sufficient tracking tool for most users.

For any cross-targeting program, the most valuable–and accurate–data is almost always first-party, i.e., data directly gathered by companies regarding how each consumer has digitally engaged with their brand. This can include data about location, buying patterns, demographics, and more. Further complicating the issue, many companies are reluctant to share this hard-earned information with their advertising partners, hamstringing their ability to properly target similar users.

In addition, some omnichannel marketing staffing is compelled to blend this powerful first-party data with less-reliable second- and third-party data, which is gleaned from a variety of entities that do not have direct relationships with the consumers.

This strategy creates a larger and more developed list by combining different data sets, but without careful management by Big Data analytics staffing, it can seriously reduce the efficacy of a campaign.

These pooled lists are often misconstrued as being more powerful, accurate, and relevant than they truly are. Assuming is was rigorously gathered, first-party data should be close to 100% accurate, and CMOs know exactly where it’s coming from. But third-party data may be considerably less reliable, especially without a clear definition of how the data was collected and from where. This discrepancy can make all the difference in the success of cross-device targeting and retargeting efforts.

Managing Data Uncertainty

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There are many options in the CMO’s toolbox for better cross-device and cross-channel tracking, including using time, location, and IP address data to narrow down devices used by the same consumer or household. But these methods are so far imperfect.

The best way for marketers to maximize their cross-device and channel targeting ROI is comfortably (and securely) sharing and leveraging first-party data. The more information a firm can provide, the better vendors can classify the end users and evaluate the intersection between the data set provided and those that the vendors already have. This drives a greater degree of confidence in any vendor claims. Advertisers can be conservative about the information they share with their partners, but without this data, the chances of success drop dramatically.

Another key set of information that advertisers can share is a list of users that should be omitted from the targeting exercise. For instance, if there is a subset of users already routinely completing purchases across devices, there’s little reason to oversaturate them with additional engagement.

A Panel of Cross-Channel Experts Discusses Today’s Analytics Challenges and Opportunities

video from Internet Week

The industry buzz around cross-device and cross-channel targeting is already outstripping the actual technology. CMOs who hope to successfully pursue retargeting campaigns in the future must pursue a better organizational understanding of how their target customers interact across multiple platforms. They must also shift from a one-message-fits-all approach to one that’s contextually tailored to the platform in question. Further, they must recognize that as additional device platforms continue to emerge, the practice of specialized targeting will only become more complicated, and exceptional Big Data analytics staffing talent will be more important than ever.

The bottom line? Today’s marketing leaders need to understand that while this side of technology is still developing and requires partnership between brand advertisers and DMPs to improve its quality and efficacy, the opportunities will be lucrative for those who take cross-device or cross-channel targeting practices seriously and choose to invest in their longevity through resources and talent.

Article Source: VentureBeat

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