Industry talk of device graphs can be at once cryptic and dizzying. But, if you are doing data driven cross-device marketing, it’s essential to learn your way around this conversation—because naturally, you’ll be vetting solutions and sorting through accuracy and quality claims all day long. Getting a grip on the graph starts with understanding the importance of a powerful data set in the first place—and how much more intelligent it renders the graph. But as you vet vendors to feed these data sets, it’s crucial to stay focused on quality and accuracy—because, that is where the integrity of your plan lives.
Taking the Data Set Seriously
As dated media practices fall away—including habitual media research to select sites based on how they index for particular demographics—and we venture into cross-device execution, marketers are open to and exposed to reams more potentially usable data than ever before. First-party, CRM, site data, second party, behavioral, third party, and on and on… goes the potential input to your data set and your model. So, how does a marketer get organized and establish a game plan and approach to leveraging data sets, or partner to do so?
Marketers need to establish an analytics practice in-house. No one vendor solves all the data related challenges for a brand marketer. Site analytics tools have limitations with cross device and unifying omni-channel marketing to site activity. DMPs have severe limitations with cross device and focus too much on “scale” for ad execution purposes. Pure play cross device vendors is limited on DMP/segmentation functionalities. A brand’s internal analytics team can partner with multiple different types of vendors to keep and analyze their data in-house.
The Result of a Strong Data Approach and Set = Higher Intelligence
For all that you “know” about your audience and your consumer, imagine all that you don’t know, especially in the context of a very cross-device life, and all the behaviors and exposures that come with that. Then, imagine how much more effective and efficient you would be if you had that intelligence, if you knew everything you could about their affinities, interests, intentions. All graphed out and ready to leverage. The right, well-modeled datasets, calling on the right sources of these inputs, provide infinitely usable intelligence, because as you leverage these sets, you will continue to learn and adapt.
Most marketing utilizes data that is directly related to or has one to two degrees of separation from the brand. A CPG brand might utilize past purchase data and demographics to make their advertising decisions. Most predictive models utilizing this data feed are either flawed or take only a few variables into account.
Unique and powerful data sets can be established by analyzing correlations between disparate sets. For example, consumers with three or more devices and who has five or more touch points in a month with a tablet device and also frequents a QSR brand is 3X more likely to buy your CPG product. That is a valuable consumer irrespective of the demographics or past purchase history.
How Do We Confirm Quality and Accuracy?
As we engage with each other and with our partners, we need to continually re-commit to the value of accuracy and quality in our industry. That commitment and followthrough is our very integrity. At this point, with robust data sets and better device and location graphing coming to the fore—outdated models need to fall away. They are a distraction and a trap for marketers who may not know any better.
We need to be offering the state of art and science as solution providers, but also the buy side needs to feel within bounds asking the tough questions of their providers to assure quality and accuracy are in check. Understanding that not all errors are the same; that things like occurrence, concurrence and persistence matter; and pushing hard against pre-set data biases—herein lie your questions. Ask them to get to the facts.
Sticking with the Facts and Dropping the Fiction
No matter what you historically believe about your audience from a demographic or high-level behavioral standpoint, when you get into the usage of the more advanced, sophisticated, telling data sets available today, spanning the devices of your consumer’s day—the data is what it is. And it’s powerful. When it’s graphed and intelligent, it allows you to discover a picture of your true, multi-faceted audience that you can continue to apply and evolve. You get to drop the fiction of bias and enjoy the fruit of well-played facts.
Kathy Leake is CEO of Qualia.