To build powerful relationships with consumers, marketers must have a strategy based on consumers' motivations and needs, across channels and devices. The challenge is harnessing the massive volume of data that consumers create throughout their entire journey and activating it to anticipate and steer behavior with relevant experiences. The cookie is limited and we are realizing the evolution of techniques that deliver on the task of personalization. So, what is changing?
There is no silver bullet and the cookie isn't going away immediately. However, in a mobile-first world we have to go beyond it via techniques such as tracking logged-in users or device IDs. We leverage data from owned assets, third parties or from clients to give a deeper understanding of consumer activity such as device usage, content consumption, geographic location, demographic and psychographic info, purchase behavior, connected device data or TV viewership. Machine learning models then help score data and uncover relationships between cookies, devices, email, offline behavior and people.
Getting Closer to People
To achieve deeper engagement with consumers on a more personal level, we need to understand them as people rather than cookies or a block of demographics. Doing this allows marketers to think and act beyond media optimization; it unlocks opportunity identification, content and creative treatment, and scoring of brand affinities. People-based marketing is being realized. Soon, we'll look back at archaic segmentation methods and personas and see how far we've moved beyond their limited scope.
By observing people and their habits, brands can create predictive models to drive real business outcomes. To illustrate, a telecommunications brand was losing subscribers when they moved homes. Ordinarily, the brand wouldn't learn that a subscriber moved until after the fact when, oftentimes, it was too late to retain the customer. By understanding the content subscribers browsed (e.g. movers, real estate sites, apartment listings) the brand knew when a subscriber intended to move and could engage them earlier on, customize the site experience to anticipated behavior and significantly reduce churn rates.
Gaining Organizational Alignment
Predictive personalization is proven to work but most brands are not yet utilizing these techniques, at scale, across all campaigns. It's not the technology that's holding them back; it's organization from a creation, workflow, delivery, measurement and investment standpoint. Alignment can be accelerated by unifying end-to-end marketing platforms to allow for synchronized use of data and intelligence across all means of engagement -- strategy and ideation to campaigns, content and commerce.
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