"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today's column is written by Laura Desmond, founder and CEO at Eagle Vista Partners.
The current COVID-19 crisis has been an unprecedented game-changer for marketers.
The last decade was driven by business and digital transformation, from investment in taking offline to online and building ecommerce, to measuring everything that happens on the customer journey. The pandemic exposed a deep chasm between those who had invested in ways to better engage with and understand their customers and those who had not.
Over the coming years, the focus on ecommerce, first-party data and omnichannel will accelerate, fueled by personalization at scale. Through this trifecta, marketers will be able to identify, track and manage consumers who demand engaging, relevant messaging and creative.
This rapid shift requires the power of first-party and second-party data, as well as technology-driven omnichannel efforts that help brands get smarter about who is buying.
But as businesses work to maintain a healthy customer base and drive growth in the aftermath of a global recession, the brands who succeed in this new environment will be the ones who aggressively pursue higher marketing performance. They will make sure every marketing dollar is spent wisely, with no waste or duplication, and they will also build consumer confidence and commit to participation in a trusted ecosystem to deliver the seamless, privacy-minded experience today’s consumers expect.
The key to unlocking and leveraging data-driven, personalized messaging and creative are permission-based identity solutions, based on a new marketplace framework that moves beyond third-party cookies toward a collaborative industry effort that effectively meets this moment of profound change.
Prioritizing personalization at scale is a must
Personalized messaging is a must in a post-pandemic commerce landscape. The digital explosion requires relevant, curated content, which means companies need to get smarter about buyers through data sophistication. First and second-party data are the king-made areas in this environment: Without it, brands cannot fully achieve effective addressable communication.
Further, the demise of third-party cookies presents an opportunity for a new marketplace framework based on consent-based identity.
If this marketplace transition away from cookies to a trusted identity framework is done well, marketers will enjoy greater reach and an even better understanding of frequency and frequency capping. They will also improve omnichannel marketing with a buying journey that is authenticated, more relevant and personalized.
Creative is the next big frontier
To improve reach and sales, brands should spend more time on creative messaging than media targeting/optimization, which has plateaued as everyone now works with the same programmatic players.
Creative is the next frontier, since marketers can’t make solid plans with economic openings constantly shifting and regional.
While they’ve focused on reducing budgets, now is the time to move urgently toward a digital transformation that focuses on better creative. This is absolutely essential when today’s consumers can so easily move to the competition with a simple click.
Even for brands who haven’t yet built a sophisticated digital marketing stack, or automated creative messaging, there is no time to waste in order to prioritize trust based on identity.
Keep in mind, consumers will always be out ahead of companies and technology, which means brands need to keep moving rapidly toward providing the digital relevancy and personalization that shoppers crave.
These are the three winning strategies marketers should prioritize as they look to achieve personalization at scale:
- Invest in the technology stack. A post-COVID world is one where cookieless, omnichannel, OTT, data-driven technologies are king-made. Those who have invested in this technology stack and did not cut spending are already thriving. They have the data sophistication they need to understand their customers and offer them relevant, personalized messaging.
- Get creative for the win. Creative is the next big key in unlocking marketing performance, integrated with better media targeting and optimization. It’s about fine-tuning impactful campaigns that use deep and rich data, seamlessly orchestrated across an omnichannel landscape.
- Focus on a first-party data strategy. In our digital world of online commerce, absent of third-party cookies, those that succeed have harnessed the strength of first-party data. They can seamlessly orchestrate across an omnichannel environment, with the right data set to understand contextual messaging. In addition, companies will be able to integrate and activate the right data-driven creative.
As companies move through and emerge from the current recession, marketers need to double and triple down on completing a full suite of digital transformation solutions that help them move toward personalization at scale.
How data drives marketing strategy is becoming table stakes. Those that had the right first-party data during the early months of the pandemic performed better than those who did not.
Moving forward, those that hone in on a new, ecosystem-wide identity-driven strategy that does not depend on cookies, and are more focused on the convergence of performance of media and marketing, will accelerate and grow faster coming out of this crisis. They will be able to drive their marketing efforts forward through any economic crisis that comes down the pike.