Marketers are struggling with how to get customers to engage. With so many channel options and declining attention spans it has become an issue. Add to that the problem of ad blockers and increasing options for consumers to receive only the messages they want and marketers are having to up their game. This means really getting to know their customers, what they like, what they have, what they may need and how to get their attention to get them to buy. Having the ability to attribute or identify consumers and become a necessity in order to make sure marketers can  reach consumers in a more targeted way while advertising at scale and still use customizable content to grab their attention. Many marketers though are still trying to make sense of their data, let alone identifying who those consumers are by category or what they are in market for and how to reach them through different channels. DMP’s with the ability to onboard first party data, make sense of it, and then add scale with look alike audiences or more deterministic in market audiences. But if you are already behind on just getting your data to a point that it reveals even a small portion of insight how do you catch up?

Get your marketing strategy mapped out and solid – Data is only helpful if you know what you are looking for and who. Identify who your core audience is, and what type of data you will need to reach them. The data will often reveal this and it may be very different than what you think. Having the ability to match back data points like hashed emails, IP’s Latitude and longitude to your own internal site URL’s and POS data will give you a wealth of information on who and what age group i s buying what. Looking at user-agent information will tell you what devices they are using to do that either while they are in store or at home. Then build the model for what you need to collect and get IT involved to get focused.

It’s cheaper to outsource than build internally – Sending your data to a 3rd party may make lawyers and privacy wonks internally nervous. Make sure the agreements are all spelled out and signed before sending data for analysis. Also look at what the company does. Some only do analytics, others only do appending, some will give the data back, others only do the matching internally and give one data point with internal ID’s back. It all depends on who you use. A disadvantage to using someone who only gives back internal Id’s is if you are unhappy with the results from the data you pretty much have to start over with the next company. If on the other hand you get the data back, you can at least validate it and weed out the bad data and build from there. Look for companies that will you allow to license data also. You may get locked into licensing everything in an all you can eat plan or they may just let you license what you need for a reduced fee.

Make sure to have your use case well defined. – The quickest way to ruin a perfectly good campaign is to not know your audience, have the wrong identity, or no clearly defined goals for the data or use case. This will almost certainly ensure you get the wrong audience and the wrong data to market to meaning your campaign will be a failure. Let the vendor of choice look at your data and give recommendations based on what they see as well. More than ones I have seen companies define who their perfect consumer was, give them a name and then want to plow ahead with a campaign, only to find out instead of the hip 20 something mom they were marketing to, their perfect audience was a 40 something mom-preneur who was buying their product for a completely different reason. So have your audience and use cases well defined.

Get saavy and creative with your audiences. – I am always surprised when a client is so focused on their core audience they forget they can add scale by being competitive. If you are Dunkin Doughnuts wouldn’t you love data on Starbucks visitors? Wouldn’t Lowe’s love to know who the contractors are that are shopping their store for one thing and then going to Home Depot immediately after? hat about the bargain hunters that may go to four different grocery stores on Saturday either because of coupons or flyers to get the best deals on specific items? We know they are out there, yet we often miss the forrest for the tress because we get so drilled down on just getting to know our audience. Get creative, know your competitions audience and reach out. Find out who shops where and why. Are they looking at Target ads while in store? Is there beacon data that will show where they go when they shop? There is a lot of data out there with a lot of insight. Settling for someone who is only good in online data, or only good in mobile, or maybe they can even give you a full identity but only if you use them will limit what you can do and how you can deploy your campaign. Look around, sometimes the big providers are the most restrictive.

Don’t be afraid to go niche”. – Sometimes smaller is better both for audience size when it comes to targeting and provider size when it comes to data. Some of the smaller providers may have insight you wouldn’t necessarily think of. This is why it is always good to have a number of options and have the data matched internally and kept in a single repository so all of your silos have access to use the data for their part of a campaign. You can find those Gremlin owners who are rabid about that brand and model of car and spend a ton keeping it up, sometimes just as easily as you can find the late model Ford Explorer drivers who’s leases are about to expire or are tired of recalls.

The bottom line. –1. Know what you want and how you want to use it. 2. make sure you “know they customer” and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion from your data provider. 3. keep your options open. Don’t get locked into using one data provider because of their walled garden. 4. Use multiple sources and keep the data matched back and in a single repository internally (Unless you are locked in with someone who will not let you have the data). 5. Use data to grow AND compete. Look at what the competition is doing and who is visiting them. 5.5 Sometimes a smaller audience means better conversions and engagement. Don’t freak out over a lack of scale. Smaller Audiences sometimes mean higher yield.

Datastreams’ Ingage 360 Allows you to have a complete view of your target consumer with records that are all opted in, and consumers can be targeted offline by postal and telemarketing efforts, online by keyword, interest, and intent. Audiences can be targeted by intent to purchase categories, IP Address (B2B & B2C), and by a device (desktop, tablet, and smartphone). Data can be licensed for append purposes, marketing purposes, and hygiene & verification uses. Datastream will also enhance and enrich a company’s existing records through their Ingage 360 platform.

Datastream has a competitive edge licensing their data because there is a large appetite in the current market for a marriage of digital identities to households. The Consumer Master File is built from active online consumer and business audiences and can be traced back to a postal address. You can also find our data on platforms like LiveRamp datastore, Lotame, and others. For custom requests, or to find out more contact us. We specialize in helping you make sense of your data, engage and convert the right audience.. (bryan@datastreamgroup.com)