Today the majority of our conversations are pretty fragmented. We devour news in 140 characters or less. Families sit down to dinner, each of them on a different device, and we multi-task while multi-tasking. Even as you read this article, I am sure you are checking out a list of childhood cereals on BuzzFeed while double-tapping some inspirational quotes on Instagram.

Similarly, the conversation between marketers and their consumers has become disjointed and disconnected. The message and experience the consumer receives via one medium is often completely different to the next.

Traditional marketing concepts of the purchase funnel, with centralized entry and exit points has been wholly deconstructed in a cross-channel and cross-device ecosystem, and now conversions occur on the go, in apps, on mobile websites, or via an artificially intelligent speaker such as the Amazon Echo.

The necessity to have a unified value-based story to your target market has become paramount.

A holistic marketing approach enables a single relevant message across all media, giving your organization a distinct voice and allowing for a real and valuable connection that is beneficial to both your customer and your brand.

The goal here is twofold: to make sure that we are able to present the right brand/product/service to the right person at the right time – the holy grail of targeted 1:1 marketing; and to understand the true value of a consumer so we can better optimize their experience and better serve to solve their needs, resulting in stronger brand affinity and Return on Investment (ROI) in the process.

Highly targeted, relevant ad content means stronger conversions and higher ROI for advertisers, as well as a better overall experience for consumers. Fostering this dialogue and identifying key touchpoints of the customer lifecycle ups the ante on value-driven content and solidifies brand affinity and engagement.

Over the course of this series, I will outline several concepts that all agile marketers should consider incorporating in their digital strategy –  starting with Audiences.

Acing Your Audiences Agenda

Print has subscriber surveys. TV has viewer diaries and ratings boxes. Digital marketing has Data Management Platforms (DMP). These DMPs ingest data from all of your digital marketing vendors, analytics platforms, CRM tools (customer relationship management) including sales data, and more to help you get a clear profile of your customers.

The main role of a DMP is to aggregate and activate as much data as possible in order to help marketers turn it into insight by the way of target audience creation and segmentation. They allow you to identify a group of users across the web that you may want to market to, moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ advertising approach and being able to deliver a tailored, relevant 1:1 message. Everyone is jumping on the big data bandwagon, but we often experience analysis paralysis, losing sight of what really makes this data valuable – the person behind the 1’s and 0’s.

Some example of this would be serving a display ad to a consumer who has purchased from your site previously, but hasn’t been back in the last 30 days; or excluding all current customers from seeing an ad so you only target non-customers; or taking it a step further, creating a lookalike audience who share a common thread with your existing customer base and potentially have a higher propensity to purchase your goods or services than the general population of non-customers.

Audience segmentation also drives new client acquisition by casting a targeted fishing line, as opposed to a wide net and allows you to hone your message more acutely, reaching a particular niche group of high-value audiences, delivering the right ad, to the right person, at the right time.

As noted by eMarketerStrategically, marketers are focusing less on devices and more on people, specifically connecting with consumers wherever and whenever they access the web.

dmp structure

Source: Winterberry Group

For those keeping up with the Kardashians major players, Google and Facebook, you’ll know both companies are driving towards this apex of advertising granularity. For the longest time, across paid search you knew exactly what the searcher wanted, because the individual had just explicitly typed his or her intent into that little search bar, but you had no idea who the person was.

Google offered RLSA (Remarketing Lists in Search Advertising) which allowed you to target text ads to your customer base, or exclude them altogether, but beyond that, 1st party audience data (your customer data) wasn’t really utilized, until now.

Facebook is the other way around. It knows everything about users, what interests them, what they like, when their relationship status changes to “It’s Complicated”, but Facebook doesn’t know what they want. So Facebook started making some very interesting and smart acquisitions, such as Atlas for cross-device tracking, LiveRail for video advertising, and developing its Audience Network for mobile in-app advertising.

In doing so, Facebook has created a targeted marketing ecosystem, across devices, apps, and publishers, what they have dubbed “People-Based Marketing,” the newest buzzword on the block. By partnering with companies such as Datalogix, Acxiom, and BlueKai, which either hold or process vast amounts of consumer marketing and purchase information, it still might not know what you want, but because you and another 1.44 billion people are logged into Facebook across all of your devices and apps, it can advertise to you anywhere, anytime, and connect the dots.

Similarly, Google has confirmed that it is building its own DMP to unlock the treasure trove of data it possess via its products; specifically Gmail, AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick, and Google Analytics.

I’ll spare you the fun specifics of how the technology works, be it via buzzwords like cookie-based, deterministic login IDs, or probabilistic matching (instead I’ll give you this link to a great article on the subject), and highlight that the ultimate winner in this battle isn’t going be either Google or Facebook, but both the marketer and the consumer.

For the marketer, being able to reach your high-valued audiences with a focused and relevant message is nirvana, and in doing so, the experience for the individual becomes enriched and more worthwhile.

Tune into Part 2 as we dive into the mobile-first world and discuss the impact of apps.