By Sebastian Yoffe
The Direct Marketing Association recently reported that said confidence in data driven marketing via digital channels is higher than ever, with some 78% of marketers saying it’s the path to new growth.
Marketers outside of the U.S. have been watching the data-driven revolution with great interest, and most are eager to jump on the bandwagon. In Latin America, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and parts of Asia Pacific, marketers are clamoring for the ability to launch data driven programmatic campaigns similar to those that are now commonplace among U.S. brands.
Moreover, U.S. brands with a global mindset are extremely keen to expand their programmatic campaigns on a global scale.
So what’s stopping them? In a word: data. Or to be very specific, outside of the U.S., marketers don’t have access to reliable audience data at the scale they need to launch sizeable performance and brand campaigns.
In the U.S., marketers have been almost spoiled by the plethora of highly reputable data companies ready to provide quality demographic, behavioral, interest and intent data (an expense that is easily justified by the improved return on ad spend and increased market share). Launching a new automobile model and need to target 1 million auto-intenders? No problem!
Now compare that with targeting consumers in say, Mexico. Recently, an agency shared a story with me about their experience with one of the leading data provider in the U.S.—a company with sterling credentials—on behalf of an auto manufacturer client. He asked how many auto intenders they could help him reach in Mexico. More than two weeks later, the company came back with a number: 5,000 consumers. Too little, too late for this South-of-the-Border campaign. Working with an international data company, however, yielded 500,000 consumers.
What’s more problematic is that audience datasets are often built using sites that aren’t local to the market. Consumers who live in Brazil probably aren’t going to visit cars.com; they’ll visit the Brazil equivalent of cars.com. In fact, nearly every country and region has its own version of an auto marketplace, so if you’re Ford or Honda or BMW, there’s no easy way for you to get the data you need to launch a new model campaign on a worldwide scale.
So how do we resolve this situation, so that we can make data-driven marketing available to marketers all over the world?
In my opinion, the entire industry, including the publishers, data companies, DSPs and agency trading desks have responsibility in delivering the vision of global data-driven marketing. Data companies need to search for local publishers in emerging markets everywhere and show them how to monetize their audience data. By offering their audience data to brands, demand-side platforms and agency trading desks, publishers will benefit from new revenue streams and provide a better brand experience for their readers. DSPs and agency trading desks need to provide seamless integration to the best audience data from in-market providers. And data companies need to partner with one another so as to provide their clients with quality data.
Publishers outside of the U.S. are often suspicious of the companies that are virtually household names in America. This means that data providers need to go very local, opening satellite offices in key regions so they can build personal relationships with publishers.
And by the way, taking the effort to forge close bonds with local publishers will go a long way towards enhancing data quality and scale. A consumer who visits a car site, looks at a specific car and contacts the seller clearly intends to buy an automobile. This is a visitor you want in your auto-intender pool. But a consumer who visits car site and clicks on the section about the Berlin Auto Show or Chicago Auto Show clearly has an interest in cars, but should not be considered an auto-intender.
To make this distinction – as well as leverage other criteria such as frequency of visits and recency – the data company needs a strong relationship built with the publisher. Until those relationships exist, however, data-driven marketing on a global scale will remain a dream.
So where do we go from here? It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the established U.S. data players to open offices in every significant city in every emerging market in an attempt to develop those relationships. And it probably doesn’t make sense for the data companies in the emerging markets to attempt to replicate the presence the American data providers already have. The way forward is to launch a new level of cooperation between the DMPs, data providers, DSPs and agencies so as to expand global data-driven advertising.
Sebastian Yoffe is managing director at DataXpand.