Collaboration is key to true people-based marketing

Collaboration is key to true people-based marketing

By Luis Fleita

People-based marketing has a problem. 
The large amount of data available today is dramatically changing people’s lives, no matter who they are or what industry they work in. But for marketers in particular, there is no doubt the future of the profession is intrinsically linked to data-driven insights. 

Marketers will live or die on their understanding of the data value chain, raw data, insights, distribution and personalisation – and this is an area where the problem arises.

For too long, the marketing community has ‘targeted’ audiences instead of ‘tailoring’ messaging to individuals. Personalisation lies at the heart of people-based marketing, and this is what the industry is striving to achieve. But reaching this goal is not without its hurdles.

In a study conducted by Janrain  in 2014, marketers were asked to rate the level of complexity of various customer data management activities. Respondents answered that analysis was the most difficult with 44 per cent rating the activity challenging or very challenging. Data collection was close behind, with 43 per cent rating it challenging or very challenging.

This lack of skills needed to collect and interpret data is a big issue that needs to be addressed. Not being able to access data in a timely manner, or only having access to insufficient or inaccurate data, can potentially hamper personalisation.

Dependency on large walled gardens

For those unfamiliar with the term, a walled garden is a closed platform where one entity has full control over applications and content. Facebook is a prime example of a walled garden. It’s also one of the world’s best platforms for people-based marketing, thanks to its scale and the depth of information it has on each user. 

Large walled gardens like Facebook can help assist marketers create engaging campaigns, thanks to their reach and the strength of the data they have access to. But they provide little customer intelligence back to marketers or brands outside of their network, creating a cycle of dependence that benefits the controllers of these walled gardens to the exclusion of others.

However, Facebook are not the only walled gardens in the market. There are many small to mid-sized data walled gardens with access to the kind of customer information that can make people-based marketing possible.

Knock down the walls and collaborate

Similar to those businesses that anonymously share their data through Equifax, if Australian organisations came together with intent to mutually benefit from the data they hold, their marketing messages would be more tailored and appropriate for the end consumer.

In Australia, the major publishers such as News Corp and Fairfax are great examples of mid-sized walled gardens. Individually, each does not have the depth of information held by Facebook, Twitter or Google. However, in combination with each other and similar organisations collecting customer data, these companies may achieve the scale needed for effective people-based marketing. 

Unfortunately at this point in time, data walled gardens are not interconnected in Australia, down to an individual level.  All organisations are guarding their information and covering their eyes to the benefits of collaboration. 

Several brands in the US and the UK have decided to lower their walls, so to speak, and share customer information in a compliant manner, to great effect. Sharing across gardens will potentially create greater data pools to draw from, making people-based marketing achievable.

Truly tailored marketing is achievable

People-based marketing is the future of the marketing industry. A tailored approach to reaching consumers is now more important than ever, as corporate budgets continue to tighten and customers become less engaged with traditional advertising. 

Achieving truly tailored marketing is only realistic if companies share their data to create large-scale data pools. In order to do this, Australia’s mid-sized walled gardens must learn to collaborate like their counterparts in the US and UK.

Sharing across brands, even competing brands, can be accomplished safely and securely by capturing data using the correct consent and then rendering it anonymous before sharing and allowing other parties access to the data insights. This can be all done through secure 3rd party safe harbour platforms.

Marketers need to pull together to achieve people-based marketing in Australia. For brands wanting to compete on a global scale, and for marketing teams wanting to deliver the best possible customer experience, collaboration is vital.