Strike a Pose - 2016 Data Fashion Trends in Digital Advertising
Over 500 people passionate about marketing and advertising recently converged at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City to talk about "The New Face of Data" at this year's Oracle Data Cloud Summit. Martech ecosystem players across technology, data, agencies, social platforms and top brand advertisers came to talk about data and how its fundamental impact on marketing is making for better customer experiences.
Cory Treffiletti (@ctreff), VP Marketing and Partner Solutions, Oracle Data Cloud was the event host and set the tone for the day promptly announcing, "Data is in vogue, and it's not going to go out of style."
Treffiletti coined the term "bespoke experiences." Today, he said we can understand the behavior of a particular audience in real time as they journey through an increasingly digital purchase path — it’s all part of that bespoke experience — seemingly custom-made, or made to order. The data and science behind these dynamics let advertisers do precise segmentations for a new level of personalized messaging to target customers groups.
The day unfolded on a center stage with a series of comfy chair chats and panel discussions from a round robin of impressive thought leaders and practitioners. They offered viewpoints on the role data is playing in current-day digital advertising and what we can expect around the corner.
Here are 7 data fashion trends that rose to the top:
1. Data Quality Is Top of Mind
"Data quality restores the confidence of the advertiser." This from Omar Tawakol (@otawakol), SVP and GM, Oracle Data Cloud. Advertisers are looking for insights on how their ad dollars are performing and where to invest next. Couple that with confronting fraudulent activity, and the ability to measure quality data, ideally using scores and truth sets, is critical. Why? Because quality drives spend. Tawakol cited, "Advertisers who use measurement spend 1.66x more on targeting than those who don't."
2. Think Mobile First
This panel kicked off with an astounding market indicator. Mobile is the only media consumption category that is growing. According to eMarketer, mobile ad spending will approach 64% of digital spending and 23% of all media spending by 2020. Extracting relevant data derived from mobile, and being able to do cross-device attribution (mobile, apps and web), is needed to connect back to ROI. "Mobile is the new currency for identifying customers," declared John Nitti, Chief Media Officer from Verizon. Analyzing cross-device behaviors at scale will help , as Steven Glanz, CEO Crosswise (@CrosswiseLtd) suggested, "to shine the light in corners to understand mobile users."
3. True Measurement Strives To Scale Walls
Measurement was a hot topic over the course of the day. It was abundantly clear that advertisers need quality data and predictive insights to measure their advertising efforts and to hold spend dollars accountable. Walled gardens that control the user’s access to web content and services inhibit the marketer's ability to gain the holistic view they desperately need to understand their audiences - across devices, across campaigns and across mediums. As Bob Rupczynski (@rupp), Vice President of Media, CRM, Kraft Foods Group, emphatically stated when understanding the effectiveness of advertising efforts, you have to ask, “How did I do? Period.” (This drew applause from the crowd.)
4. Personalization Will Persevere
While some may find the word personalization over-used and over-promised, this room of advertising experts truly believed in its ability to deliver. And for the best reason - to add value to peoples' lives with relevant and interesting experiences that give them time back in their day. It was aptly framed as not a "point in time" narrow message or campaign, but rather a set of experiences where data should be collected over time to understand and ideally predict when a shift is happening. Personalization combines online, CRM, modeled, first-party and third-party data. It is powerful when it can helpfully interact with a shopper "in experience." Tim Kendall, President Pinterest (@Pinterest), framed the value of personalization best in saying that people "go on Pinterest to figure out what they want to do with their lives - and they're wildly engaged."
5. Intent Signal Predictors Need Quality Data and Testing
Deeper engagement happens when marketers can predict where and when buyers will go to learn, shop and buy. "In the B2B world, we must look both online and offline when analyzing intent. It's much harder to derive," said Ed Carey (@EdCarey), Global VP Advertising Market Development at Dun & Bradstreet. "Many of the B2B brands and agencies that use our deterministic audience segment data employ an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach. This focuses on specific companies and contacts who have an intent to purchase, and then targets ads to people at those companies. ABM is based on intent and analytics."
When it comes to harnessing intent using modeled data, Jonathan Stringfield (@JDStringfield), Global Measurement Research, Analytics and Insights at Twitter gave this guidance, "Don't be enamored with putting data into a machine and what comes out. Someone built it. No matter how good the machine, a person who made interpretations with the data built it. Look at the results over and over again. Watch outcomes, iterate and test."
6. No More "Just Digital" - It's About Experiences, Not Impressions
Customers aren't thinking about their "buyer's journey" and how linear or jagged it graphs between online and offline stepping stones. They are thinking about what they need, what their best options are, what it costs, how it works, what other people think about it who have purchased before them, where they can buy it and how quickly they can get it. Marketers' jobs are to connect all those steps to truly understand and engage with their audiences. "Advertising is about adding value to peoples' lives. Identity means knowing a person as a person," said Nirali Bhagdev, Head of CPG, Healthcare, Government Measurement at Facebook (@facebook), adding, "Advertisers should use their power for much better and relevant marketing and measurement, digital and everywhere - cross-media and cross-channel, based on identity."
7. We Need Analytical Thinkers To Join Marketing Teams
The convergence and demand for data to inform meaningful marketing "everywhere" means the industry needs more people who are analytical experts, and not only in digital. There's a danger in analyzing just users and impressions vs. sales and customers. As Stringfield from Twitter aptly asked, “Can they speak it back in human?” He said that data-driven marketing would help this ecosystem get better when data and technology worked in tandem.
Karima Zmerli, PhD, Vice President, Digital Data Strategy and Audience Management at Merkle (@merkleCRM), recommended that SWAT teams of people form to understand how technology and data work together to execute marketing strategies. She also cautioned against using data in a black box. There are fewer siloes between CRM and digital today because of data - data that can be used to develop new models. And this requires more analytical people with the skill sets to make it all work together.
Data in Vogue — The Common Thread
The data fashion-forward crowd at the Oracle Data Cloud Summit was in consensus. Data is the common thread that is raising the bar for marketing excellence. The challenge remains in how to stitch the data together. Like most things worthwhile, an evolution of ideas, early adopters, best practices and technology developments will drive the next generation of data-driven marketing, resulting in excellent customer experiences.
Julius Genachowski, current Managing Director and Partner of The Carlyle Group, and former Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, offered the most motivating martech prediction of all, "The wind is at the back of this category, with tons of economic value. Good ideas have power, and with good execution will win."
Data is good fashion, and that never goes out of style.
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