Real-Time, Smart Marketing Powered by Customers Data Platforms

by Venkatesh Korla | October 01, 2017      

Today’s consumer is undergoing a significant change in purchasing decision and media consumption behavior. The consumer engages with the brand in multiple channels at different times in a very fragmented journey to get to the purchase decision. These changes in consumer behavior have a significant impact on advertising, media and B2C industries such as Retail, Healthcare, Insurance, and Automotive.

The big challenge for marketers is to answer key questions such as:

  • Who is consuming the media that we produce?
  • Which ads are doing well on what media channels?
  • What is influencing the consumer’s purchase decisions?
  • What are consumers buying and where are they buying from?

Historically, when marketers and business strategists dealt with a limited set of content formats and channels with sequential and predictable consumer journeys, it was reasonable to expect to make an educated decision on the approach to engaging the consumer with the brand. In today’s world where

  • There are multiple content formats and are constantly changing
  • New ways to consume and publish content are emerging every day
  • There is no clear path to a purchase decision and consumers are in control of defining their own
  • The consumers expect frictionless experiences that are personalized, real-time and contextualized

There is a significant need for marketers to capture and draw insights from effective performance metrics across multiple channels and unify them to a single consumer to understand their behavior. With ever-increasing marketing spend, it is imperative for marketers to optimize spends and show actual measurable ROI to the organization.

To optimize their spend and prove ROI, not just at the end of conversion but at every stage of the purchase process, Marketers need to get a deeper understanding of the consumer’s behaviors that lead to decision and actions. It’s not just about last click or imprint attribution but it is also about the understanding of “cause and effect” behavior patterns and its influencers.

This requires a significant change in the way data is collected, processed and used within the organization. The traditional model was based on a small group/sample and making generalizations for a broader set of people. The new digital reality requires technologies and processes to be more data-centric and real-time based on actual data input from large-scaled audiences. This change from traditional methods to data-centric methods is happening very quickly.

For example, in a January 2017, Winterberry coup study that interviewed 100+ top marketers, and it was found that increasing the quality and measurability of their data is very high on their priority list.

“Which factors do you expect will be most important in driving ahead your data-driven marketing and media initiatives in the year ahead?”
% of marketer choose these answer20172016015304560Growing volume/quality of our first-party data resourcesGrowing emphasis on investment measureability/accountabilityImproving availability/functionality of supporting technology

Source: IAB/Winterberry, “Outlook for Data 2017” – Jan, 2017

The same study found the cross-channel measurement and attribution was the #1 area that the surveyed group planned to spend their time in 2017.

“Which use cases do you expect will most occupy your time, attention and resources during 2017?”
% of marketers choose these answers015304560Cross-channel measurement and attributionProgrammatic media buying for established formats

Source: IAB/Winterberry, “Outlook for Data 2017” – Jan 2017

This approach to data-driven marketing will require new technologies or platforms that are focused on real-time data capture, analysis, visualization, and segmentation. These platforms are called CDP, which stands for Customer Data Platform. If we ignore all the hype and the out-of-the-world promises of a CDP, at the core, such a platform will provide marketers the ability to:
• Ingest real-time data streams
• Unify disparate customer data channels with a single customer view
• Make this unified data visible to external systems to take action

Such a platform will enable Marketers to get a single view of each customer and allows them to make better use of their first-party data to more accurately segment and drive hyper-personalized experiences. A data-driven approach to contextualizing experiences and delivering personalized advertising will not only help Marketers optimize their spend but also increase their effectiveness and be able to prove ROI for various activities performed by their organization.

Identifying the right Customer Data Platform for your business and then developing a strategy to effectively utilize and implement it is the key to success. We at Element Solutions help our customers manage through the development of a strategy, selection, and implementation of CDPs and Digital Experience Platforms. Contact us at if you think we can help you.