• All stories have a narrative. It’s what hooks audiences and keeps them interested. The same holds true for marketing. But instead of a writer’s imagination, marketers have data to work with. By analytically combing through data narratives, marketers can create cohesive, audience-specific narratives that drive engagement and purchase, and most importantly, create loyalty with their brands.

    Understanding your potential and existing customers at this level is no easy feat. It takes bringing together as much online and offline data as possible. Strands of data narratives are in every YouTube video, every Facebook post, every Tweet, every photo on Instagram, and every DIY project, recipe and inspirational quote on Pinterest. It’s in every website session, search query, app download, and online purchase, not to mention visits to car dealerships, ballparks, national parks, hotels, spas, stores, and many other real-world destinations.

    Finding and following all of the threads that lead us to each of our distinct customers is the goal of all customer recognition processes. Being able to navigate and apply this complex data is what sets you apart from your competition.

    So, how can marketers wade through all this data to create the perfect data narratives for their customers? Here are three ideas:

    Be an advocate for breaking down data silos. Marketers need to seek other like-minded colleagues who understand the value of creating a superior customer experience. Work with these collaborators to gather and manage disparate customer data to a comprehensive, well-maintained database. From a technical standpoint, this can involve working with an identity provider or building a data warehouse, depending on how much data your company generates and how many internal silos you have.

    Breaking down these data silos and fostering greater collaboration among teams helps you understand what your customers are doing when they’re not interacting with your business, who they’re buying from when they’re not buying from you, or even understand what kind of relationship they have with your competitors. These data narratives, and knowledge of your current and potential customers, will help you create a solid narrative and a more personalized approach tailored to their particular path to purchase. In turn, you’ll be able to engage new customers or generate greater customer loyalty from existing customers.

    Don’t take risks with data. Take the time to understand that effective people-based marketing efforts require a high level of expertise and a commitment to understanding consumers and building relationships with them. It also takes computing horsepower, security, the right channel choices, and a strong sensitivity to consumer privacy. These skill-sets and mindsets are what differentiate people-based marketing from cookie-based marketing. It’s not something you can just decide to do one day, slap together, and hope for the best.

    Start with good data—first-party data from your company, as well as second- and third-party data from outside trusted sources

    Start with good data—first-party data from your company, as well as second- and third-party data from outside trusted sources—to ensure you’re able to recognize your customers regardless of channel. Each channel requires a different approach, so design your efforts with each channel’s characteristics in mind. Connecting first-, second-, and third-party data, along with consistently updating, refreshing, and cleansing your database, is all part and parcel for creating solid data narratives  for people-based marketing.

    Use the right recognition paradigm. Creating a personalized experience for your customer across all of your channels requires compiling data to secure the full spectrum of demographic, socioeconomic, psychographic, geographic, and lifestyle data from a wide variety of sources. It’s important to work with a trusted data provider that also offers detailed household and life-stage-level clustering and segmentation to help you tie all of this information to a single person via a persistent identifier. With this recognition paradigm in place, your analysts can recognize the most profitable and/or underperforming customer segments. With these attributes in hand, marketers can optimize what they offer and focus on the customer experience by having confidence in the data they reference across any channel.

    Marketers understand that customers’ expectations have increased. It’s now more important than ever to create accurate and actionable data narratives by working with the best resources to gain competitive advantage. By doing so, marketers are able to reap the benefits that people-based marketing provides, including improved brand perception, better customer loyalty, increased sales, more effective data collection, and enhanced productivity.

    To learn more about data narratives and other people-based marketing practices register to attend RampUp, the premier conference for leaders in martech.

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