Are You Listening to What Your Customers Are Telling You? on bdex.com

Are You Listening to What Your Customers Are Telling You?

Data is important to your marketing efforts, but personalization matters more

Over the last several years, if one thing has dominated business and marketing more than anything else, it’s data. Companies are constantly striving to get it and use it to better attract customers. However, while data can offer great insight into buying behavior, a recent survey of marketing leaders found that for many businesses, consumers are just being turned into numbers.

According to the report, 41 percent of respondents said it was a challenge focusing on creating and fostering customer relationships instead of marketing campaigns. In addition, about 30 percent said they often had a tough time remembering that they were trying to target actual human beings. Even more troubling is the fact that, of the 152 senior marketing executives polled, zero felt they were ready to use new points of intelligence to offer customers a better experience or to boost brand engagement.

“Somewhere in our adoption of data, technology and process, the customer and the very real, human and fragile relationships that marketers have worked so hard to build have been lost, giving way to settling for assumptions about broad personas and an almost obsessive focus on campaign performance,” says Liz Miller. Miller is the SVP of marketing with the CMO Council, the company that produced the report along with Harte Hanks.

Bant Breen of Harte Hanks believes organizations have no excuse for not understanding their customers and what they want.

“In every point of connection, our customers leave small data clues behind that can enrich our current profiles and give brands the insights needed to craft the right combination of message, channel, and timing,” Breen said. “Customers will always tell us what they need. The real question is: Are we listening?”

It’s not just about data; it’s about the right data

That “Are we listening?” question from Breen gets to the heart of the matter. It’s not good enough anymore to know what a customer bought; companies need to also know what they’re looking to buy, and even what they’re planning to buy right now. How can they do this? By targeting the right people so they can reach them on a personal level.

Developing human connectivity with your customers

While you probably have an idea of the type of people who would be interested in your products or services, if this doesn’t involve much more than their gender and age range, it’s time to dig much deeper. With more than 5,500 data categories and over a trillion data points, businesses can use BDEX’s Data Exchange Platform to find a specific group of consumers to target. They can also use the up-to-the-minute real-time data we collect.

We get this information from point-of-sale systems, geofencing, and by seeing what people recently bought online and what they are currently thinking about buying. And with cross-device matching through our comprehensive identity graph, we can also understand customer behaviors and intents no matter which devices they use or how often they switch from one to another.

Once a company knows who their ideal customers are and where and when to reach them, suddenly it’s like they’ve been handed the keys to the kingdom. Now they can create personalized marketing messages based on someone’s behavior. This could include sending them a coupon code for the type of product they’re looking for, offering complementary items for something recently bought, or encouraging them to visit a store when they know they are nearby.

While data is now essential for marketing purposes, it’s not the information itself that is so important; it’s how companies use it to build relationships with their customers. If you’re having trouble developing that kind of human connectivity, get in touch with BDEX by filling out our online contact form.

Is Your Business Ready for Identity-Based Marketing? on bdex.com

Is Your Business Ready for Identity-Based Marketing?

Identity marketing promises more-effective and more-efficient efforts to engage your best customers. Is your company prepared to make the most of it?

Most businesses nowadays have a grasp of the basics of who their best customers are. But how much do they really know about what motivates them? The better they know their best customers, the more likely they are to be able to reach them with relevant experiences that will deepen the relationship.

“Personalization is more important today than ever before. The proliferation of devices and channels, such as mobile and social, has fundamentally changed the way that customers interact with companies and brands. This has led to what Forrester calls the mobile mind shift: the expectation that you can get exactly what you want in your immediate context and at your immediate moment of need.”
“The Power of Personalization” Forrester Consulting for PwC, December 2015

Meeting these expectations requires the integration of data sources to form a tangible collection of information that accurately identifies the behavior of a single prospect, which then allows real personalization of sales approaches to them and makes the interaction as meaningful as possible.

Do you think you’re ready to get started on the path to real human connectivity? Here are some of the items to think about before you embark on this worthy undertaking.

Is the customer experience you hope to provide the one they perceive?

In business, we all like to think that the things we strive to be known for are, in actuality, what customers take away from each interaction with us. That thought could be spot-on, or it might be way off. It’s important for companies to know where they stand with their customers and how successful they are in actually delivering their desired customer experience. It will allow them to proceed with confidence or alter their methods to be able to achieve the experience they’re after.

Does your company continuously develop and expand its knowledge of its audience?

This level of curiosity is crucial for a successful identity-marketing campaign. Companies have to know their customers to the point that they can recognize individuals across different platforms. That way, they can identify buying patterns and get a sense of how they buy and what their lifestyle is really like. What makes customers interested in what the business has to offer and keeps them loyal in the long run? BDEX can help reveal those answers.

Does your company wish it had even deeper insights?

Identity resolution provides the opportunity to examine customer data in context and get a real sense of customers’ relevant behaviors in the course of their daily lives. BDEX delivers access to this more in-depth understanding and helps companies realize how they can serve customer needs, and how to strengthen and solidify the ongoing relationships they have with them.

Is your company a stickler for contact management?

Companies often keep an extensive customer database, chock full of contact details and transaction data. They also often know they’re not putting that data to work in the most effective way possible. Despite this wealth of data, they have only the most superficial knowledge of what makes their customers tick, never mind what makes them buy, and even less about what makes them loyal.

In the end, the realization of these blind spots, despite the wealth of data they have in their possession, is the biggest sign that their organization is ready to embrace identity marketing.

It sounds like you’re ready for us

Sometimes you have to learn what you don’t know before you can kick-start your business’s growth curve. Partner with BDEX and see what the landscape looks like when you’ve filled the gaps in your knowledge, and things start moving forward and upward.

BDEX endows your marketing with the power and insight that comes from human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or contact us to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you with your present and future marketing data needs.

Marketing: In Our World of Data, Be the Human Touch on bdex.com

Marketing: In Our World of Data, Be the Human Touch

The future is in people-based marketing, which targets individuals no matter the device they’re using

The modern consumer doesn’t just connect with brands via their smartphone or desktop computer. GlobalWebIndex says a typical digital consumer owns 3.23 devices, and MarTech Advisor says by 2030, there will be 15 connected devices for every consumer.

What does this mean for marketers? That it’s more important than ever to target the individual, across the devices that he or she may be used in a given time period. Human connectivity is crucial.

But that human touch is missing from many marketers’ strategies. Here’s why people-based marketing is the future and how you can create that necessary human connection in your efforts.

People are the future of marketing

Because the modern consumer uses a variety of devices, this means they may see an ad on their smartphone, then view a website on their laptop, then actually make a purchase on a tablet. This is multi-channel shopping, which has created a challenge for marketers who are trying to track consumer behavior.

Cookie-based marketing isn’t always effective in this kind of environment since this approach doesn’t “differentiate situations,” as Instapage puts it. With traditional marketing approaches, actionable customer information could be lost if the user isn’t tracked effectively, making each of those valuable connections to your website or products seem unrelated – and leaving you with an underwhelming marketing strategy.

Multi-channel marketing for multi-channel customers

Instead, marketers need to gather customer data from a variety of sources, both offline and online, to create a comprehensive profile that’s sufficiently accurate to better reach customers across devices. Users need to be tracked across multiple channels, which is why people-based marketing is also called cross-channel marketing or multi-channel marketing. It just makes sense—a multi-channel shopper will be the most effectively reached by a multi-channel marketing approach.

The idea is that if a consumer is watching television while engaging with social media on a smartphone, these experiences are able to be linked, producing real-time data that can help companies market to the consumer based on their actual current behavior. This is important, as Consumer Technology Association reported that the majority of millennials (88 percent) engage with a second screen while watching video content.

Cross-device identification is thus a must if marketers want to engage with first-party data, such as social media logins, instead of just third-party data such as cookies, as Inc.com points out.

An effective strategy would be to show consumers personalized ads and experiences across their devices based on their past viewing history and interests, using real ID information. And ID personalization is key – an ad by itself across devices won’t mean anything to a consumer unless it’s actually related to what they’ve shown an interest in.

Stats show people-based marketing works

Over the past couple of years, people-based marketing has proven extremely effective for marketers. Recent data shows that 83 percent of media buyers say this marketing strategy is more effective than traditional campaigns. This is why almost all media buyers (90 percent) have increased their people-based ad purchases over the last year.

According to an Accenture report, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that provide relevant offers to them. Other recent research shows that consumers are much more likely to buy from brands that offer personalized experiences for them.

To stay competitive, it’s important to start implementing a cross-channel marketing strategy. With all the different ways people are marketed to these days, the modern consumer cares about that human touch.

The BDEX difference: empowering human connectivity

BDEX solutions allow you to implement a people-based marketing strategy that connects you to individuals. Using our cross-device matching service, you can reach the same consumer across multiple channels, whether mobile, direct mail, social media, or other means. We bring you over 800 million mobile-to-email ID connections, making our solution the most comprehensive option out there.

Our real-time targeting tools allow you to get real-time data about individuals so you can implement up-to-the-minute marketing to better reach customers who are ready to buy.

No matter the type of enterprise you run, the BDEX Data Exchange Platform (DXP) allows you to pull together the data you need about individuals. All you have to do is figure out the type of user you’d like to reach, whether via mobile, email or direct mail, and you can select from nearly 500 different industries. We make it easy to reach your ideal audience and empower you to make real human connections.

To learn more about the DXP and our cross-device matching service, get in touch with the team at BDEX.

Personalized Marketing: Your Competitive Edge on bdex.com

Personalized Marketing: Your Competitive Edge

Mastering personalization is one of the most important aspects of your modern marketing strategy. Here’s why it’s so important

For decades, the average consumer has been constantly surrounded by advertisements that don’t pertain to their specific desires, needs, or place in life, and customers have become pretty used to that. So, when an ad does speak to them on an individual level, it’s a big deal.

This is why marketers are focusing more attention on personalization in their strategies. Instead of sending out a message to the unknown in hopes that someone will bite, marketing is becoming more advanced. Now the ideal customer can be reached in real-time, about something they care about or want.

To get to that place of real human connectivity, it’s first important to consider how you’re getting your data and if you’re getting the right data. What’s behind the tools that will give you the results you need? Artificial intelligence (AI). Now more than ever, marketers have access to big data that provides the real-time, deep insights needed to reach people.

AI tools enable this hyper-personalization, which is the ability to use real-time data to deliver content, products, services, or experiences to a hand-picked audience. Because many marketers aren’t getting the right data, or don’t know how to use the data, creating a successful strategy can set you apart, and fast.

So how do you master the art of personalization, and does it really work?

Using customer data and insight

The use of customer data and advanced analysis of that data is a big trend across industries, but it’s especially relevant to marketing. A report from Accenture, which surveyed almost 1,000 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and 500-plus CEOs at large organizations, shows that 31 percent of CEOs expect CMOs to base new products, services, and experiences off of customer data that’s been gathered and analyzed.

Using customer data means behavior patterns can not only be discovered and monitored but also predicted. In fact, a report from Ascend2 showed that predictive analytics was considered the most effective strategy for hyper-personalization.

Leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics leads to relevant advertisements that reach the audience you want, right when they want to see them.

Accenture says businesses who use this kind of thinking are considered “living businesses,” meaning that:

  • The customer is central to decision-making.
  • The business responds to and anticipates consumer needs and driving forces.
  • The business continues to adapt quickly to maintain relevance, thus sustaining growth.

The third point is a big one since marketing is constantly changing. Of the CEOs and CMOs surveyed by Accenture, 90 percent reported that they believe marketers’ roles will change in big ways, just over the next three years alone.

This is why planning for the future, and staying up to date on what competitors are doing and the research that’s being released, is crucial for successful personalization strategy and continued growth.

Personalization helps the bottom line

While building meaningful relationships and making lasting connections should be at top of mind when creating any marketing strategy, it helps, of course, if efforts can support business growth. This enables the company to stay even more competitive in an ever-changing industry.

According to the same Accenture report, CMOs who put “hyper-relevant” customer experiences at the top of the priority list generated 11 percent higher shareholder returns in one year.

McKinsey data shows that personalization can mean five to eight times more ROI on marketing spend and can increase sales by 10 percent, sometimes more. And it makes sense – customers care about real, genuine connections, and they’ve learned to not pay attention to ads (or brands) unless they pertain to their personal experiences and desires.

However, the report from Ascend2 shows that only 9 percent of marketing influencers have fully implemented a hyper-personalization strategy. So, doing this now will not only connect you with customers, build more meaningful relationships, and help the bottom line; you’ll also see big benefits from gaining that competitive advantage.

The BDEX difference

Because personalization matters for both your relevance and your sustainability, BDEX makes it easy. Our BDEX Data Exchange Platform (DXP) provides real-time targeting opportunities, with over 900 billion data signals on U.S. customers, over 5,500 different categories to choose from and the ability to match customer IDs with over 700 million connections between email and mobile IDs and cookie and email IDs.

We understand how important it is to personalize your strategy to stay competitive and to reach the right people at the right time. That’s why our data infrastructure powers what really matters: human connectivity.

Contact us today to learn more about our DXP.

People-Based Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Work? on bdex.com

People-Based Marketing: What Is It and How Does It Work?

People-based marketing is here right now. So long as you understand that, you have the advantage

That’s right. The power of human connectivity, the proliferation of connected devices, and how both of these have affected individuals’ media consumption and purchasing behaviors means that people-based marketing is a fact, and there are the knowers and the know-nots. It’s not some far-off “in the future” dream, like something out of “Minority Report.” It’s here. Right now.

So, now that you know, you can begin to use the power of people-based marketing for your company.

Why is people-based marketing such a big deal?

Well, it all comes down to boxes. Since the dawn of radio in the early 1920s, all media has been consumed from a box. For most of the last hundred years, we sat in our living rooms and stared at our radios, then at our boxy TVs. Even the ads we encountered in magazines and newspapers came in boxes. The point is that when we consumed most media (and therefore most advertising), we did it in front of a specific device or setting – holding a newspaper or watching a TV.

So, we marketed to people through these boxes, and we chose those people by the very coarse means of selecting programming and content that probably appealed to the “target consumer”: people of a certain age range, sex, possible interests, and income. This is how it came to pass that lots of light beer were sold to men ages 21 to 45, with median household incomes (HHIs) of $25,000, via the adventures of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Even when the internet came on the scene, we consumed it on yet another box – our computers, which mostly sat on desks. Digital marketing became (and, in some ways, remains to this day) putting ads in boxes on web pages targeted in much the same ways as they captured the dudes watching “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Then the iPhone came out

When the iPhone launched in 2007, it liberated digital media from the desktop – it was set free from the box. It also was the start of digital media invading and taking over traditional media. Today, digital media encompasses all the individual media of the past in one online universe: TV, radio, print, and film, along with social, and e-Commerce.

Today people live much of their lives online. It’s where they watch, read, listen to, and buy. Their hobbies, their interests, and their work lives revolve around the web and their mobile devices. And the resulting data is a bonanza to marketers.

Digital marketing begins to mature into a people-based marketing

This relatively new world of widespread human connectivity means we can leverage the avalanche of data available concerning consumer behavior. Advances in data and analytics make this all a tantalizing reality, enabling marketers to merge all they know about a customer with what others know to connect with and engage that individual. By doing so skillfully, we can target specific consumers – in an anonymous, unobtrusive fashion – across various media and devices to provide them with marketing that is relevant and timely, not intrusive or disruptive.

To illustrate, imagine past marketing efforts as someone standing on a street corner hawking balloons at the top of their lungs to passersby. Now, compare that with a professional salesperson who, having just sold a pantsuit to a repeat customer whose tastes they are familiar with, suggests, “You know, I have the perfect pair of patent leather pumps to go with this.” That add-on item doubles the sale – and in the process, it makes the customer even more loyal than they were before. People-based marketing is being able to do this with customers across the globe whom you’ve never met.

Marketing and sales online can and will be just as charming, subtle and engaging as the best sales associate in the world. And relationships between online vendors and their customers will be defined by more than a race to the bottom, where making a sale means almost just breaking even on the transaction. The most successful purveyors of goods and services online will be those who know their customers best and can speak to them most persuasively, at the right time. And the data is there to make that possible.

Taking people-based marketing too far

Knowledge is power, but a deft hand with the subtle application of the increasing wealth of data is key to the ongoing development of successful people-based marketing. The more granular the data available, and the more specifically businesses can target a consumer, the more care must be taken with how that data is used.

Employed carelessly, people-based marketing may incite consumer backlash by igniting fears of a surveillance culture that doesn’t respect privacy. This could result in a reduction of actionable data available and deprive marketers of a tool that has changed their everything.

Having access to the data is not enough. Knowing how to use it effectively and with great care is also paramount. You can count on BDEX to help you use your own data and the information on the network to further genuine human connectivity and close sales with a customer base willing to reward the extra attention.

BDEX endows your marketing with the power and depth of human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or contact us to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you with your present and future marketing data needs.

Marketing Culture 2.0: Data Analytics on bdex.com

Marketing Culture 2.0: Data Analytics

A look at updates organizations must make culturally to compete in today’s real-time marketplace, where the focus is human connectivity

Customer data is driving marketing into the future. But even the most tech-savvy marketing office won’t fully succeed when analyzing data without also integrating big changes into its company culture.

Data is valuable; there’s no doubt about that. But without using it to its full potential, businesses miss out on many crucial improvements to business strategy, including, most importantly, fostering real human connections.

A Forrester survey revealed that companies that integrate an advanced analytics culture increased their marketing ROI by an average of 9.1 percent over the last one to two years. This improved performance 1.7 times for these companies versus those that didn’t have an advanced analytics culture.

These considerations clearly matter for the bottom line. Here are ways that organizations can harness data to its full potential.

Updating company analytics culture

A greater focus on company culture is a major part of using data analytics successfully. It’s not enough to use the newest tools and technologies; the team must collaborate and learn together how data push the business forward.

Across the company, the key components of a successful analytics culture are, according to Forrester:

  • Strategy. This requires business leaders to use data insights to drive decision-making. Data should be included in all marketing channels.
  • Adoption. Marketing strategy that is driven by data insights must be considered a business growth driver across the company.
  • Turning insights into action. The team must be able to interpret data and use it quickly.
  • Tech and tools. Data must come from various sources, and tools must be implemented that provide clear and distinguishable facts about the data.
  • Data science expertise. The team must be able to weed through large amounts of data and have the expertise required to use the insights for future predictions.

Because using customer data to drive marketing strategy is so multifaceted, it’s clear that doing so successfully requires much more than bringing new platforms into the office. An effective analytics culture must be learned and implemented across teams and experience levels so decisions can be driven efficiently by real-time data insights.

Integrate data in a decision-making

Company leaders may not be fully using data and relevant customer-insight teams to make decisions. The Forrester surveyors concluded that companies that involve customer insights and data teams into decision-making for marketing show a stronger analytics culture overall than those that don’t.

This is why customer insights and data should be directly connected to marketing decision-making. Business outcomes are improved when decisions are made based on facts and real-time insights. The majority of companies surveyed by Forrester (81 percent) that use data to drive their decision-making processes saw better business outcomes and reported improvements in marketing performance.

Companies should, therefore, focus on educating employees so everyone is aligned on driving decisions from analytics, and teams must then come together behind this practice. Decisions should be backed up by facts pulled from data, and this should become the minimum expectation.

Fostering real human connection

One of the biggest benefits of fully integrating data analytics is the human component. Companies using real-time customer data are able to make immediate, relevant connections with their audience.

It’s important to note that customers shouldn’t be treated like data figures or numbers; for companies to effectively use real-time customer insights, they must connect on an individual and human level. This means decisions should be well thought-through and based on data, but they should also have a basis of underlying trust that drives relationships, as Inc.com points out.

This thinking continues to drive the age-old idea that the customer should be No. 1 in any marketing strategy, digital or not.

Mastering analytics

The Forrester survey also indicated that there were clear advantages for companies that had actually mastered measurement and analytics, over those that had just started implementing such programs. One company surveyed reported a 30 percent reduction in customer acquisition cost that was directly attributable to the company’s increased focus on analytics.

These “mastering” companies were shown to have “nearly 3x improvement in business decision-making speed and time-to-market with new products, higher marketing ROI, greater marketing efficiency, and new customer insights.”

The benefits of revamping analytics company culture are clear. Knowledge is power, and data is behind all valuable marketing information in our modern world. Data should begin to drive business decisions, which will ultimately improve business outcomes, valuable customer connections, flexibility, credibility, and ROI.

BDEX provides advanced data infrastructure that drives human connectivity. The BDEX Data Exchange Platform (DXP) provides data as a service (DaaS) and real-time data signals so you can target consumers with the latest information. Get in touch today to learn more about BDEX’s advanced data solutions for marketers.