Intent Data: The Game Changer in People-based Marketing

January 15, 2016

Missed part one? Read Timeliness is Relevance: Speed is the New Data Point of Differentiation first.

Every day, as consumers search and browse, they are sending a live stream of digital signals to marketers about their intentions. These time-sensitive intent signals are pure data gold. Because when marketers are able to capture and respond to this live data in near real time, they have the opportunity to connect with customers at the very moment they are in buying mode for their products. The opportunity for conversion is high – and even higher if they are able respond quickly with personalized messages and offers.

The challenge, of course, is that consumers are constantly shifting from desktop to mobile device to retail store throughout the buying journey. This means that in order to capitalize on these real-time signals, advertisers need to evaluate their tech stacks to ensure they have key capabilities for real-time data activation, real-time cross-channel identity resolution and real-time data onboarding to connect offline and online data.

In part one of this series, I detailed the first of three ways advertisers can identify and target customers during their journey for the most efficient use of advertising: negative retargeting in real time to reduce wasted ad spend. Below are two more ways you can identify consumers and their buying signals across channels and devices and immediately take action to address them.

Real-Time Onboarding and Media Activation

The key to a people-based marketing strategy that intends to capitalize on timeliness is to ensure the tech platform used for data onboarding not only connects and matches online and offline data quickly, but is also able to update digital advertising platforms just as quickly.

Incorporating offline conversions often represents a bigger opportunity to save ad spend than simply ensuring online conversions are updated on all bidding and buying platforms. If you invest in data onboarding technology that requires you to wait over a week to update your targeting and messaging platforms with this valuable data, how much money have you wasted across them all?

Consider how many other attributes and behaviors exist in offline data sources that can be combined with this live stream of customer signals and used to update customer messaging when it matters the most – right now.

Solving Cross-Device Customer Journeys

Last but not least, investing in technology that allows you to capture data from other parts of your digital engagement portfolio is fundamental to people-based marketing success. And the ability to leverage that right away is what can set you apart.

Odds are good that your brand has an app that is capturing valuable information about consumer behaviors and preferences. Even if the data is as simple as their location and how often they use their mobile device, you’ve now begun to add important information to the overall profile you have on consumers. Given that the average U.S. consumer is now spending more time interacting with their smartphone per day than their desktop, and more than half of that time is in-app, there is likely a big opportunity for you as an advertiser to connect more data into and out of this channel.

If a customer leaves a full shopping cart in-app for more than an hour, how likely are they to convert on it? Did they just use your app to do research, and are they thinking about purchasing elsewhere? On the surface, this by itself is a great opportunity to message these consumers on their desktop, where it likely easier for them to convert. But on top of that, every second wasted not sending them an offer relevant to what is in their cart on any device represents a risk that you are losing their interest to another product, or worse yet a competitor. Does your data technology allow you to not only identify this customer across devices, but also to take action on the behaviors exhibited across devices, in real time?

All in all, the image we have of people-based marketing is not likely to change soon, nor will the challenges associated with it. In fact, with connected device adoption on the rise, it’s likely that users will continue to find more ways to engage with your brand in more places and more quickly than ever before. While piecing together the puzzle is one part of the equation, there is tremendous value in making sure that you can make this data move as quickly as your customers do.

The good news for advertisers is that technology has caught up with these needs. Signal’s data platform positions advertisers to identify and react to the freshest and most recent customer signals when they matter the most – right now. By collecting this rich, streaming intent data and connecting and matching CRM data to online activities, it’s possible to customize audiences based on known identity, attributes and behaviors at scale and activate relevant media all from one platform.

The fact that this is done within minutes when the customer is in market – not a week later – is the key to truly capitalizing on the timeliness of a customer’s live intent signals. Signal’s technology makes this possible by integrating the data, identity management, and activation functions and collapsing the execution from as much as five business days to less than minutes. With one data taxonomy and zero hand-offs between providers, Signal simplifies the process and clears roadblocks so consumer engagement occurs within hours of recognition.

The impetus is on advertisers to make their data catch up to today’s consumer by investing in strategies and platforms that maximize the speed with which they can react – and it is those marketers that will win out in the end.

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Jon Padilla

Jon is a data-driven marketer who's passionate about using technology to deliver innovative media strategies and create meaningful digital measurement. He the former Director of Product Strategy at Signal.