Ownership of customer data

Considering that performance-based ads are built on a basis of data, it is ironic but also problematic that many brands today have almost no access to their first-party client marketing information. Instead, many are reliant on media or creative agencies to manage, analyse, collect, and activate that data. 

This adjustment made sense in the past amid the complexity of what was applied and the special access that agencies had to third-party data. But it got its price—one that has increased rapidly in recent years. Not only do external agencies add substantial costs to the marketing value chain, but they also are unable to link marketing data with intelligence that companies have about their own clients, unable to act on that information in ways that promote connected experiences for clients. 

Those tired experiences count now more than ever. Almost 90% of surveyed customers in one research stated they find it frustrating to replicate themselves in several channels; and 71% note that frustration has made them question doing business with the company. Yet another survey in 2020 found that every third company has an omnichannel history of campaigns and uses it very effectively.

External customer data management is also difficult from a risk management viewpoint. In the case of regulatory actions or a data breach, the brand will generally be kept liable and accountable. Yet many businesses are not auditing the security and privacy control methods of their agencies. This delivers reputational as well as regulatory risk for brands. 

Customer information is the lifeblood of measuring, connecting, and enhancing experiences in an omnichannel world. Gathering customer information lets marketing specialists supercharge campaigns in absolutely new ways. Given the data importance—and given the continued deprecation of browser cookies and third-party data, new conditions for the protection of consumer data privacy, and the ballooning significance of digital ads in a brand’s overall marketing mix—brands are recognising that a new model is required. 

That is the reason why experience-focused companies are getting data in-house; and setting in place the relevant privacy, data and security policies that are necessary to connect, activate, understand, and protect their customer data. By this year, the number of brands that totally outsource data management was expected to fall by 50%.

This is no insignificant transition. Businesses now have, on average, 16 applications that manage customer data from more than 20 different sources; yet almost half of client data managers show us that they lack the right instruments to do the job. And just 40% of surveyed companies strongly agree that they understand where their client data is stored.

Leaders should begin with consolidating client intelligence within a next-generation customer data platform that incorporates data from across all channels and ensures real-time insights for engagement orchestration. Effectively executing a CDP will likely demand improved collaboration across the company—between sales and marketing, product development, service, and other organizations—to build a universal definition and only source of truth for the client, to manage consent management, and to ensure even experiences between engagements. 

Managing client data in connected routes internally is difficult, though the rewards are notable: Businesses that master and own customer information are better capable of accelerating brand innovation and creating more contextualized, personalized, and significant end-to-end experiences at scale, which in turn can propel loyalty and business expansion.

Building capabilities 

Some years ago, the Association of National Advertisers published its first report on transparency of media. Conducted together with K2 Intelligence, it recognised a bunch of non-transparent practices in the media advertisement buying ecosystem. The report, along with other articles and studies published since then, have reflected increasing concerns between advertisers about their relationships in the value chain. In 2020, 95% of advertisers said they are at least concerned with the media agency transparency.

Transparency is a must-have in a bid to move at the pace of modern businesses. Without direct and full sight line into the media purchases, spending and results, brands see it hard to understand and quickly modify what is being bought, what is functioning and what is not. In addition, when advertising results and customer information are hidden from sight or only delivered on a quarterly or monthly basis, it is all but impossible to convert those understandings into real-time strategies that push bottom-line performance. 

That is why even more brands are remaking their partner and technology ecosystems with an aim of in housing the talent and technology control that drive media performance. 

In-housing is not a further concept. Many brands have already obtained innovative talent in-house, and an increasing number are shifting to in-house consumer data management. 

In-housing digital media and ads is a more difficult prospect given the scope of data, skills and technologies involved. Creating a combined in-house performance marketing performance, measurement and analytics team demands a sizable investment to grow talent and design new internal processes. 

It is crucial at every phase to understand and identify which capabilities can be managed internally and how to build, structure, and develop the team and technology. Where external resources are necessary, those relationships have to be structured within a shared accountability framework, continuous evolution, innovation, and knowledge transfer. 

Also, where new technology is required, it is crucial to consider what to buy, build or rent. 

A great start is to discover transitional partners that can assist in providing the capabilities and prepare the staff who will eventually evolve the owners of the future marketing technology stack. An agency transparency audit and of the media spend efficiency and effectiveness can also support reveal existing baselines and determine areas where the company’s technology and marketing organizations should invest and perhaps rebalance in-house capacities with those of the company’s outer agency. 

More and more companies are discovering they cannot let the sophistication of in housing appear in the way. Among brands that have taken measures to in-house some or all of their capabilities of marketing, some 60% say creativity has grown, and 58% have stated that there was a measurable increase in marketing’s ROI. And, above the much-needed visibility that in-housing can deliver across the client engagement journey, it also can assist to provide control on marketing tactics and messaging alignment, clearer understanding of risk associated with data privacy and regulatory compliance, and more. In addition, by connecting marketing capabilities closer to other areas of the company’s operations under the same area, the company can create better cohesion and agility and lower the time it takes to shift tactics in reaction to emerging opportunities and fast-changing market conditions. 

These capabilities are even more foundational to the survival of the company’s brand in a world where competitor centres on personalized client experience and quick response to altering market conditions. Only by acknowledging these capabilities can the business connect all of the relevant data and make the proper decisions in the moments that matter. 

The company can create powerful synergies possible when it brings not only digital media and ads in-house, but also manages the customer data. The more control, speed, and clarity that these efforts deliver can eventually set the stage for more personalized, connected, omnichannel.

90% of brands have shifted at least part of their operations of digital marketing in-house.

Privacy of data

The California Privacy Rights Act came onto table in 2020 and will take effect in 2023 to strengthen customer data privacy protections in California—which already had the strongest law in the US, with its previously enacted CCPA. This new law adds to a highly complex regulatory environment for data privacy, owing to laws such as Europe’s GDPR.

This emergence of comprehensive data privacy regulations around the globe reveals a sea change for marketing specialists and digital advertisers. However, a clear focus for regulators, CPPA and CPRA both had their origins as citizen ballot initiatives. The message is clear: Customers are highly sensitized to opaque and invasive data practices and are requiring control over the information that is collected about them and how it is utilised. 

Highly published government and corporate data breaches in recent years have played a role in this rising concern. Though advertisers should not sidestep culpability. Especially the misuse or overuse of retargeting—mostly based on the use of third-party consumer data that they never consciously consented to be checked by brands—has helped create an increasing sense that advertisers are keen to invade individual privacy and stalk customers across their digital lives just to complete a sale.

In this setting, marketing leaders have to look beyond transactions and concentrate on long-term trust. That means more than linking what the company states via marketing with what is does as a company. Durable and real trust is created by providing a combination of transparency, consent, control, and value. The ways that the business connects and  customer data and the forms that the company does on that data via marketing together can have a direct influence on all four of these trust dimensions. 

That is the reason of forward-thinking marketing specialists working to reconsider their broad client journeys as personalized ones with clearly specified benefits that customers can individually select. Data collection and consent is included into mapping of the journey and user experience design, in the same manner that other content and components are addressed. In reality, this also means forming a next-generation centre of privacy that is easy to navigate and find, and that can morph over period into a hub where clients can easily maximize and tailor their ongoing brand experience. 

CMOs should push these imperatives, but they cannot make everything alone. Success relies on coordinating objectives and communication across stakeholders, teams, spanning marketing, technology and commerce, privacy, and data risk —at a minimum. It demands the design of user journeys that embed the key elements of customer data privacy and trust —value, consent, control and transparency, consent. And it demands an industry wide strategy that also develops data and digital infrastructure via integrated privacy and data governance frameworks and a full-functionality, consumer-focused technology stack. 

The effort is worthwhile. As brands that are trusted, perform. When they meet promises, clients get back to them. When they make mistakes, client forgive, advocate for them. When all that happens, business grows. 

More than 60% of Americans think it is now not possible to go via daily life without businesses collecting data on them; and almost 80% are concerned about how businesses utilise that data.

Performance-based advertising depends on the ability to operate and access the personal data of audiences. Governments as well as device and browser manufacturers have markedly changed the conditions for how data can be used and collected. Those shifts are not incidental; they reflect the relationship that customers desire with brands. If marketing specialists are to make consumer trust, they must set a new way forward. Doing so will authorise for ongoing customer data strength to push highly targeted marketing efforts.

New generation measurement 

Over the last generation, much of the customers online experience has been made feasible via the help of third-party browser cookies. These tiny data bits helped advertisers catch clearer ROI, helped publishers earn more, and consumers to receive more appropriate marketing messages while accessing an expanding free content online—a win-win-win in every aspect.

Though in last years, as advertisements started to track consumers from website to website, this exact technology fuelled an increased sense that advertisers would finish at nothing in relentless and increasingly creepy sale pursuit. Several years ago, two out of five US citizens stated they believe that digital advertisers were too aggressive in tracking them on every browser or device.

In a bid to address these matters, all of the main web browsers declared they will terminate support of third-party cookies for tracking by the beginning of 2022. Now, most tracking cookies are deleted or blocked.

The withdrawal of third-party cookies means nothing less than a structural change for digital marketing. It places a range of tactics at risk—such as lead generation, retargeting, and lookalike modelling. Online multi-touch attribution is no more a viable standard of measurement for many sectors. 

This is barely the only measurement challenge encountered by marketing specialists today: 

  • A rising number of main advertising platforms and publishers are turning away from permitting video-on-demand networks expected to grow in global adoption by about 20% per year.
  • At a wider level, regulations, consumer behaviour, marketplace competition and channel diversity are growing faster than ever. 

These outer challenges are plenty to manage. Yet the largest challenges often stay within the company. Many marketing specialists see themselves mired in disconnected technologies and slow processes that make it hard to measure in real time, to link marketing insights across channels and platforms, and to change tactics and budgets on the fly. Not surprisingly provided all of this, less than half of CMOs in one survey noted they are capable of proving the influence of marketing quantitatively. 

Marketing measurement now matters more than ever.

Measurement of marketing now matters more than ever. And its playbook has been scrambled. That is the reason why forward-thinking marketing specialists are reconsidering the systems, processes and methodologies needed for end-to-end attribution and measurement. They are developing techniques that eliminate dependence on third-party cookies for user tracking. Depending on first-party customer data that they store and connect in-house, they are relying on techniques for real-time, cross-channel measurement, and engagement. 

What is old is also renewed again: Best-in-class marketing specialists are using econometric measurement strategies in an agile manner—for instance, by using models to performance measurement at the market level such as designated market areas. And in reaction to evolving consumer behaviours and purchasing patterns, models are built on a six-month not a two-year lookback, which lets marketing specialists to optimize tactics more quickly in reaction to market changes. 

Will all of this eventually help the company come at methods and instruments for accurately measuring performance of marketing once and for all? Might be not. It is necessary to recognize that the  measurement technologies and mediascape will always keep changing. In addition, what the company needs to measure will probably to change as business priorities, strategies, offerings, and competitive conditions develop. 

Based on this, the company’s highest priority should be on evolving toward data-driven, agile operations and mature test-and-control processes that are concentrating on iterative ROI. Proven methods such as econometric modelling coupled with new analytics instruments such as data clean rooms—platforms that combine anonymized advertising  and marketing data from several sources—will aid to ensure that the company is well set to understand marketing influence in a changing condition. 

The practices of consumer TV and video consumption are quickly changing, with proprietary streaming services and subscription-based individual advertisement exposure to be communicated to measurement solutions. 

Customers want empathetic,  relevant and ideally timed engagement. They do not want to be stalked. The brand,  un the meantime, needs a connected, clear understanding of the marketing effort effectiveness. By shifting away from measurement approaches that depend on third-party cookies, the company can create marketing on a more durable basis while also making better bonds with customers. More than 80% of companies note that enhancing data measurement and activation capabilities is a crucial or top priority in the following 12 months.

Revolution of the marketing technology ecosystem

The range of marketing technology instruments and offerings available nowadays can be both mystifying  and dizzying. Some are unexpectedly essential. Some, such as platforms for data management that rely on third-party cookies for main functions, have seen their usefulness plunge. 

For years, most marketing institutions have taken a “yes-and” method to these offerings— increasing their customer data, AdTech and marketing technology stacks bit by bit via company acquisitions and expansions, agency relationships, or by purchasing into the latest-greatest point solutions as they appear. 

This strategy has resulted in an accumulation of underutilized, highly fragmented, or suboptimal processes and systems. Adding to the issue, most marketing systems were set around third party cookies for client identity—making them not suited for the transition to focusing on first-party data.

As soon as technologies and marketing data are fragmented and impersonal, it is unavoidable that client experiences will be as well. That is why top experience-focused companies are re-considering their partner ecosystems and technology stacks, aiming to develop a 360-degree understanding of clients and dynamic relationships between channels and touch points. In order to reach that target, brands are moving toward fewer, larger platforms, instruments, and partners. 

One particular move that leading brands are doing today is a change of budget and focus on the digital—a relatively small handful of the world’s biggest search, social media, and commerce platforms. Through their application of data clean rooms, these platforms ensure brands, agencies, and data vendors to manage rich first-party information and benefit from shared, scaled advertising insights while staying privacy-compliant. 

Utilising clean rooms can provide brands access to client profiles that are much more specific and nuanced than what most businesses otherwise have developed for their own clients. The main platforms also have the benefit of cross-device connection to contact customers in the right moments and places. 

Incorporate those prosperous profiles with the closed loop of data and feedback that the platforms deliver for end-to-end engagement, and it is easy to find out why marketing specialists are depending on these platforms. 

That said, fragmented client experiences are still a threat. Advertisers can operate clean rooms to force better outcomes within every platform, but not necessarily to improve their own belief of their customer by combining insights across platforms. Moreover, there is sophistication involved. Connecting the company’s first-party data to media information located inside a data clean room is not as comfortable as might seem. A well-executed and well-planned strategy is required as the company simultaneously evolve and run the marketing technology stack. At every step, it will be crucial to find and connect the most flexible solutions possible; and to boost the company’s external and internal resources to get the most out of the chosen. The instruments and partnerships the company choose will be crucial to ensure future-proof of the company’s marketing organization as a whole— and keep pushing from point A to B. 

The marketing technology landscape has grown to include more than 8k solutions. In the front of this complexity companies note that aggregating siloed information and content from numerous systems is a top challenge.

A more future-proof marketing technology stack will inevitably start with a centralized, strong client data platform. With that in place, the company should embed data and privacy management functionality into the tech stack and concentrate on options to enhance marketing measurement without  third-party cookies.

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