[Editor’s note: Ajay Gupta, CEO of Stirista, was a sponsor of RampUp 2017. We invited him to share his thoughts on unstructured data, and other recent data and marketing trends.]
The “whole view” of the customer has been the quest of data-driven marketers since the advent of multi-channel marketing many years ago. Yes, there was a time when integrated marketing meant a telephone call was timed in conjunction with a direct mail piece. As long as the marketer had contact data on a customer in both channels, a compelling offer, and a means to record results, there was a science and art applied to lift response… whether that be a sale, a lead, or store traffic.
Seems so long ago.
Everything has changed, and yet—has it?
First, the change: Digital, social, and mobile data on people flood servers. Channels and platforms proliferate. Consumers have taken more control over data about themselves, setting up their own filters. Attention spans have collapsed, particularly anywhere irrelevance is detected. Many consumer—and business-to-business—segments are increasingly hard to reach. The volume, variety, and velocity of data are overwhelming. Who has the keys to link all these data points back to the individual?
Let’s consider structured data. Having near 100% data accuracy for all addressable media points for a consumer is exceptional, though highly unlikely. Having such data points linked across channels is hard enough, but these outcomes are table stakes for brands moving forward.
Now enter the core problem—and this is what really hasn’t changed: how to tap all the unstructured data, assign it to a prospect or customer, make meaning of it, and apply it so that the marketing and media mix creates more relevant brand interaction.
Marketers still need contact data in all channels—a means to link contact data across platforms.
Marketers still need to have compelling content.
Marketers still need to have a discipline to test, record, analyze, and refine.
Every day, often multiple times a day, many consumers (and businesspeople) are posting information to their profiles, providing location data and other mobile signals, and essentially providing “context” and “behavior” cues for what they are doing and thinking about. This information is a treasure trove to any brand that wants to offer content that speaks to the mindset of that individual.
The whole purpose of onboarding customer data is to bring unstructured data to the addressable media universe. Using ad tech and responsible data sources enables brands to link the self-reported and observed digital, social, and mobile contexts and behaviors—and use these data for analysis segmentation, attribution, and marketing strategy decision making.
With more than 90% of transactions still happening offline, marketers still need to use email, phone, and mail data—in addition to social and mobile channels—to help guide consumer interest to action. Yet brands can be incredibly effective now that they are able to identify buying triggers, sentiment, and other contextual triggers from unstructured data sources and overlay this intelligence with more traditional CRM.
Everything has changed—and yet it’s still the same.