Get Specific With Data to Build More Meaningful Customer Relationships

How intent-based data serves as a map to the consumer journey

While it might seem more challenging than ever to capture the attention of consumers in today’s noisy, multi-device environment, marketers actually have enormous opportunities to drive more meaningful customer relationships.

Understanding an audience’s digital actions and habits helps open up data doors, revealing what customers truly need and how brands can best deliver on this knowledge to achieve success. Here’s how:

Third-party data only tells part of the story

Marketers are certainly no strangers to data. But with the plethora of data sources available, it can be tricky to parse the ones that are most beneficial. In fact, per Adestra’s recent data-driven marketing benchmarks report, 49 percent of marketers say they’re finding it challenging to enrich the quality and completeness of their data.

Many marketers are still relying solely on third-party data partners with consumer insights generated from surveys and models. While this data has value, there are gaps to consider. Typically, third-party data is built at the household level, making it less specific than information (for example, purchase history) built from an individual user’s real actions. Third-party behavioral and lifestyle data also can fall short in telling a complete consumer story given that most partners lack a proprietary footprint among actual consumers.

Intent-based data is the ideal complement

While consumer data from third-party partners will continue to be useful, marketers may want to consider complementing this information with first-party data based on the real actions of real people. Cross-device data from activities such as searches, purchases, mobile app activity, content consumption and many others, provides a reliable understanding of a customer’s journey and the motivations behind purchase decisions.

All of these real-life signals, brought together at scale, help identify what users are experiencing and the most compelling ways to communicate to them. When coupled with data from third-party partners, marketers can gain a 360-degree understanding of their consumers.

Helping brands learn, take action and solve problems

Access to intent-based data also helps marketers go beyond just reaching target audiences. The scope and quality of this type of data provides powerful, deep insights into customer behaviors—insights that can reshape a strategic approach, solve real business challenges and truly deliver on customer needs.

At Oath, we tried to understand the reasons behind the explosive growth of subscription services for men’s personal hygiene products. Was the industry narrative true that millennials bought subscriptions out of a willingness to pay for convenience?

As it turned out, our data showed that millennials were only partially responsible for the disruption. The largest driver was actually women purchasing the subscriptions as gifts. This led marketers to consider strategies for their own brand that effectively drove the gift-giving value of their products particularly to women.

In another instance, we dug into an assumption related to the consumers of a breakfast brand’s portfolio of products. It was believed that buyer profiles across the brand’s portfolio were similar enough that a uniform approach was sufficient to move them across their product line. Oath’s audience insights told a different story, one in which buyer profiles varied significantly. A mom needing to eat on the go was the most likely breakfast bar buyer, while a man looking for a pre-workout boost opted for a protein shake. With this understanding, brand marketers were encouraged to consider separate messaging approaches.

Know your customers from all angles

Consumers will continue to diversify their online activities, meaning marketers will never be short on audience behaviors from which to glean insights. Intent-based data and the powerful, actionable insights it offers can fill in the specificity gaps that have been holding brands back from understanding customers on a deeper level.

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Jeremy Gold is vice president and industry lead for the CPG category at Oath. Previously, he was a senior director leading audience and programmatic sales for advertisers within the CPG, finance, automotive and entertainment categories at Yahoo. Prior to joining to Oath via the Yahoo acquisition, Jeremy spent over 12 years in the digital advertising industry.