Building a user centric digital strategy from your owned, earned and paid data

A key challenge of digital marketing is to ‘humanise’ data, in other terms using the data your brand has on existing customers or prospects to make your offering more relevant to them. A focus on the customer will ultimately drive better return on investment from your marketing budget.

In the past, we have been pushing the same advertising message regardless of the audience, the content or the user journey. For example, if you were visiting a News website, you’d be served the same messaging whether you were in the Sports category or the Fashion one. Not the most efficient response rate!

With the (r)evolution of data tracking and analysis through automated technology, we are now able to identify and target a specific audience based on a multitude of criteria, making the segmentation more granular and accurate, and therefore broadcasting a message that’s more personalised and relevant for the user.

In theory, it seems pretty simple, but in reality, very few companies are getting it right, as marketing functions are still siloed across brand, products and digital. So where to from here? I’ve summarised below the three key go-to-market strategies to develop a user-centric approach across your owned, earned and paid media channels.

1. Understand and utilise data from your website

  • Identify if your website visitor is a first time visitor or a returning visitor
    • If they are a returning visitor, provide them with customised content based on what they viewed previously,
    • If they are a new visitor, ensure you are able to track and identify which content they interact with.
  • Identify if they are an existing customer or a potential customer
    • If they are an existing customer, offer them to create an account or to log in once it’s created.
  • Identify where your visitors come from using Google Analytics, Omniture or any other solution that provides website analytics
    • Typically, the digital channels driving visits are organic search, paid search, affiliates, advertising campaigns, lead generation, social media, PR.

More generally, it’s important to have all your content pages tagged so you can track the content your audience is interacting with and make an ongoing improvement on your website based on those learnings.

2. Understand and utilise data from your CRM

Once a visitor is identified as a customer, you can provide them with completely personalised content. Similarly, when you have done the right segmentation across your customer’s database, your EDM campaigns should be personalised based on the customer’s need state – including up-selling and cross-selling as well as delivering relevant content in relation to their existing products or services.

Additionally, I would recommend developing a Test & Learn plan to identify the performance across your website, as well as your EDMs. A lot of marketers oversee the benefit of improving their content or look & feel based on real data, not just assumptions.

3. Understand and utilise data from your media investments

Advertising plays a crucial role in the customer journey, from brand awareness through to conversion and advocacy. In order to best optimise your budget towards the channel in delivering on the business objectives, marketers need to have a very good understanding of the data that you can use to become relevant to their audience.

What data?humanise-data

  • First-party data: using your owned data i.e. from your website, social media, CRM or any other subscription (example: newsletter program).
  • Second-party data: an exclusive exchange of data between you and a partner, which usually has an interest into your product (example: Samsung providing their data to a Telco company to promote their new phone).
  • Third-party data: a paid third-party vendor that provides you with additional data, enabling more granularity in terms of demographics, revenue, gender, geo-location, hobbies & interests, life stages, etc. (example: buying data on people who use a premium credit card).

What strategies?

Currently, any media across Display, Mobile, Video can be bought programmatically (and soon TV, Radio and Outdoor). This term simply means that media buying is automated through a stack of technology platforms leading to better performance and efficiencies.

Firstly, map out the data points that you have access to through your owned data (first party) and then your external data (second or third-party). Once this is defined, segment your audience and draft each user journey along the purchase funnel – which is not necessarily a linear one and is most likely to be different for each audience segment.

While mapping out the multiple user journeys for the media buying, you should also define the creative messaging to make it relevant to each target audience.

For example, you’re launching a new credit card campaign targeting multiple segments, you will need to define the creative messaging for each single of them across their user journey: millennial, family with young kids, empty nester, etc.

Lastly, you should develop a few creative variations for each segment and each step in the journey to see which one works best. This way, you will be able to not only optimise the media buying, but also the creative messaging.

The two other variable to define in your strategy are the frequency: how many times the same user is likely to be targeted with the same creative, and the retargeting: set up some rules to avoid becoming an annoyance to your prospects and make sure the message is timely (for example: make sure to negatively retarget people who just bought your product).

Now that you are clear on your data touch points, target audience, media reach and creative messaging, your strategy should pretty much work like a decision tree. This decision tree is the first step to build a strong, integrated user-centric strategy that can be shared and implemented across your business.

Feel free to get in touch to discuss your digital strategy or any specifics around programmatic technology and data-driven marketing opportunities!

Improve your audience targeting and content with Audience Manager

634490.adobeaudiencemanagerLast week, I luckily attended an insightful session at Adobe® to take a grasp of one of their cloud based software: Audience Manager. In a nutshell, Audience Manager is a platform that helps marketers to build segments based on first party data (yours) and third party data (other sources) in order to better target the recipient of  a specific creative. In other words, a data management platform.

DMPs are a core element of the RTB environment, it helps agencies collect and analyse the data collected from their client campaigns, and build segments that have the same profile and need to serve the ad. This is happening in real-time to enable DSPs (demand-side platform) and AdServers (where the creative is stored) to give the right message to the right person at the right time.

What are the core benefits that Adobe® Audience Manager (AMM) offers?

  • Data Integration: combining online / off-line data across multiple platforms or channels.
  • Real-Time Segmentation: send the output data to other platforms to optimise the downstream media and enhance the customer experience
  • Improved scalability: full cross-channel reporting and analytics capabilities

The unique value proposition for marketers is to be able to identify and integrate the full user journey from Digital Marketing (off site / advertising) to the Digital Experience (on site) all the way to the CRM activity.

Another great feature of Audience Manager is their brand new integration with FlashTalking, a dynamic creative platform and 1st Party AdServer that we, at DDB Sydney, can proud ourself for helping them launch in Australia with our client Telstra earlier this year. By successfully integrating with FlashTalking, Adobe Manager can now directly deliver on rule-based planning dynamic creative (decision tree) which reduces pixel calls and improves the accuracy in delivering the creative ad.images

Above and beyond the display area, AMM also integrated with Search re-marketing (Google RLSA) and Social Advertising utilising Facebook Custom Audiences, Twitter Tailored Audiences and – still in development – LinkedIn through lookalike modelling.

Finally, AMM helps answering a key challenge in our industry in regards to identify and merging multiple profiles. The tool successfully provides the ability to identify anonymous users vs. authenticated ones across devices along the path-to-conversion.

Stay tuned for next updates on the Adobe® stack!

Give your staff an Effie Award and win their loyalty!


Effie Awards 2013

As my team @DDB Sydney won the Silver Effie Award for Best Digital Platform with partner agency OMD and client Telstra this Thursday (wooop!), I have been asking myself what was the benefit of such a prize… Above of course bringing our trophy back to sit on a shelf at the agency – the client actually got it – and congratulate each other. What are the after effects of receiving an industry award?

For my family and friends, what this award represents is very abstract as it’s very much an industry buzz. So I patiently explained to each of them what it was: ‘it’s a bit what the Oscars are to the movie industry, but without Brangelina’ (haha). But as I was trying to explain a bit further what it meant and what it was bringing to the agency, to the team and to myself, I surprised myself in not having a lot to say. These are a few thoughts that I would like to share, not to wow about our work or to talk specifically about digital in this instance, but to truly try to understand what’s in it for a company and it’s employees, all the more that I was told their was a lot of politics involved in the final judges decisions – this is not a criticism, but just acknowledging a point of view that I was given.

From the official website The Effie Awards ‘honour the most significant achievement in advertising and marketing communications: effectiveness’. This is pretty clear to me and I am glad that our work with Telstra this year got recognised for that, as we are indeed contracted to increase ROI i.e. effectiveness on their advertising though data-driven marketing.
Now, how does this win impacts us?

Firstly, from an agency point of view it’s always good to be represented and recognised on the market, from our competitors as well as from our clients or prospects. And in this instance, this was the only entry for which we won the highest prize (no Gold was attributed in this category). Great! It also demonstrates a successful partnership built over the last months between creative and media agencies to deliver best results, which is very unique in this industry. Most of the time, the two have different strategies and KPIs, which leads to major disagreements. This is also an awesome win for our client, re-enforcing their partnership with us and giving them industry recognition. Surely, they can comfortably go to their manager showing that they are making the most of their marketing budget.

But the value I really find in this award is beyond the wow effect for both parties client/agency. I see a motivational value to the teams, to leverage pride and recognition from their pairs, from the hard work done and a certain visibility internally as well as externally. Let me explain this. This prize brought an extreme buzz amongst our colleagues, only because our work won, but also because it reflects on them as well! There is a certain pride in saying that you are working with people who received a prize for their work, it makes you feel that you work along with a brilliant team and sharing their success makes you successful as well. And in an industry were the average turnover is 2 years, this is a strong way to improve employees’ loyalty to the company!

Being rewarded and taking pride in our work is clearly something that makes us feeling happier at work and make us forget about all those over hours we made, overnights and weekends we worked, stress and frustration we experienced… Receiving recognition by people that don’t know you and haven’t necessarily seen your work yet are respected and known in your industry is the most compelling reason why one would want to keep up with their company. On top of this, it makes your profile a bit more valuable to another potential employer, as it gives you confidence and strength that you are doing well your job.

The conclusion here is to say to advertising agencies, and specifically HR whose role is to attract the most talented candidates: if you want your teams to achieve more, be motivated and potentially stay in your company, make them visible externally, endeavour people’s passions and hobbies, and find multiple ways to reward them, above and beyond the monthly staff beer & pizza lunch as this will make you a Google #1 Great Place to work.