The way we use data to target audiences is constantly evolving. The first phase in targeting was fairly simple in that we relied on only a few simple demographics, like age and gender, to segment consumers. Then audience groups were formed. More advanced and specific, audience groups were, and still are, based on consumers’ shared interests. The newest chapter in data targeting, utilizing real-time insights, merges information about demographics and audience groups with real-time activity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Real-time data isn’t just information about your consumers’ spending habits in the last month. True, real-time insights let you know what your target customers are searching for the moment they shop online.
In the mid-20th century, marketers focused on only a few consumer demographics when developing marketing campaigns. While factors like age and gender were more important sixty years ago when people sourced their news and entertainment from the same place, the traditional methods for obtaining consumer data are not as relevant anymore. McKinsey’s John Forsythe demonstrates the problems associated with using only a few, superficial demographics by citing the differences between Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and her heir apparent, and Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer of heavy metal band Black Sabbath. While both men are British and the same age, a marketer obviously wouldn’t market to them the same way.
Marketing and brand expert Adam Paulisick also believes that simple demographics don’t provide enough information to properly target consumers.
“Segmenting consumers by age and gender or other demographics is inefficient at best, even for more traditional marketing campaigns because there are no hard and fast rules anymore for what a man or a women will intuitively buy (with few exceptions).”
While we might not know the “hard and fast rules” that drive what a consumer buys, we can know the next best thing: what product they are shopping for the moment they shop. Real-time data takes into account everything we used to know about consumers based on demographics and audience groups and merges it with live activity.
Keith Sayewitz, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sales at BDEX, a market-driven exchange platform that provides users with real-time data, explains the value of real-time analytics for marketers.
“For years a company depended on simple demographics to identify a certain consumer, like ‘soccer moms.’ Then audience groups were formed, so we discovered those soccer moms were interested in fitness. But now, with real-time data, we learn which of those soccer moms are in the market for a treadmill or are switching to vegan cuisine. This information is incredibly powerful because it allows for truly advanced targeting. We know that this customer is likely to buy a treadmill because she is in the market for one at this exact moment.”
Marketers can then create specific ads for the desired consumer, increase the probability for conversion, and, therefore, create more sales. The insights provided by real-time data are essential to brands, retailers, and agencies who want to stay up-to-date on consumer activities and truly understand their customers’ needs.
BDEX, the first ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP), is currently the only source for true, real-time data. For more information about BDEX’s unique services, click here.
Image Credit: NEC Corporation of America
The importance of data to a business’s success isn’t a recent discovery. For decades, the fate of American television shows rested solely in the hands of The Nielsen Company, which still monitors citizens’ viewing habits via customer surveys and meter readings today. However, thanks to an incredible influx of information from a variety of sources, including cell phones, computers, and even sensor-equipped trains, brands have more access to analytics than ever before. Harvard Professor Gary King even referred to this stream of statistics as a “big data revolution” (Harvard Magazine). While the amount of information is impressive, King doesn’t believe the quantity is the “revolutionary” part.
“The big data revolution is that now we can do something with the data.”
But for many companies, knowing how to properly use acquired information is a major problem. When brands consider the following factors of big data, they are better equipped to reach consumers:
Timeliness of the Data
“In the rush to avoid being left behind, I also see that many companies risk becoming data rich but insight poor, says data expert and author Bernard Marr (Forbes). “They accumulate vast stores of data they have no idea what to do with, and no hope of learning anything useful from.”
One major issue with businesses storing data but not taking action is that the information goes bad quickly. Companies will keep the information hoping it will be of some use though it’s “no longer relevant, inaccurate or outdated,” says Marr. In other words, “time is of the essence.” BDEX is different from other data providers in that brands can access real-time analytics the moment consumers browse and shop online. By knowing what consumers want at a given time, businesses are better able to meet consumers’ needs.
Source of the Data
There is a common misconception that first-party data is superior to third-party data. While first-party data is owned by the company that obtained it, the data does not change as it’s transferred from party to party. That’s why data expert Kevin Tan believes companies should focus “on the quality and transparency of the data, not the party label.”
“Advertisers that choose to work with high-quality data providers can obtain third-party data that is timely and clear. Used together with first-party data, top quality third-party data enables brands to build a fuller picture of target audiences,” says Tan. (Exchange Wire)
In order to determine the quality of the information they receive, brands should also know where their data providers get their statistics. Some sources, like the US Census Bureau, may contain a broad range of data, while others, like market research surveys, may provide more specific information. By making use of data from a variety of sources, brands have the ability to assess their target audience and create better marketing campaigns.
Accuracy of the Data
You may be wondering, “How do I know what data is usable?” After all, the sheer number of data resources suggests that some of the data will either 1) not pertain to every business or 2) be incorrect. And while it does not serve your business to cater to every online consumer, know that the specificity of the information big data, especially third-party data, can provide is unparalleled. Information is collected by a variety of tools ranging from desktop cookies and e-tags to smart phone IDs.
“All this allows firms to glean what sites users have visited, what they have shopped for, what postcode they live in and so on. From this the firms can infer other personal details, such as their income, the size of their home and whether it is rented or owned.” (The Economist)
While the amount of data can be overwhelming, utilizing big data will not only help you reach your consumers but anticipate what they want next.
BDEX is the first ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP) offering real-time data in a marketplace environment. All seller and consumer information is impartially scored to ensure that data is and high-quality and accurate. To learn more about BDEX’s unique services, or to become a BDEX buyer or seller, click here.
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