• It’s easy for people-based marketing programs, however well-intended, to miss the mark. For example, an ad for a Father’s Day gift intended to be seen by a woman for her husband may accidentally be served to their son when he’s using her tablet. It takes a lot of data for a mobile ad to hit the marketing bullseye. And, when it is all collected correctly, surprising and delightful consumer experiences become easy to deliver.

    Case in point is the success of TD Bank’s #TDThanksYou program. It’s incredible how much personal information TD Bank must have sifted through for this campaign; customers cried tears of joy when they were given personal unique gifts ranging from trips to Mexico to see a relative to new furniture for a first apartment.

    Today, data continues to explode, driven by the constant onslaught of information collected from sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Eleven billion IoT devices are currently connected, and 80 billion are expected to be connected by 2025, according to Vernon Turner, senior vice president of enterprise systems at IDC. This means that roughly 4,800 new devices have come online since you started reading this article.

    As the opportunity to capture and integrate more IoT data grows, companies must keep the customer experience at the heart of what they do. Here are three ways to ensure that data used for people-based marketing continues to build rational, emotional connections, rather than miss the mark:

    Figure out what data is relevant to your business. A car wash doesn’t need fitness tracker data, but it certainly benefits from weather data. A stretch of sunny days after a storm is more likely to bring in customers. Accurate, real-time weather forecasts, which are entering a new era due to the IoT, have many benefits for businesses that aren’t as immediately obvious. The Weather Company have seen its data applied in many unique ways – from a quick-service restaurant driving an increase in foot traffic because it learned that coffee sales spike when Atlanta’s humidity is lower, to an automotive brand seeing a spike in social engagement for a campaign touting superior driving performance in winter conditions when temperatures plummet. These marketing messages would have been impossible to send without the micro forecasting capabilities enabled by analyzing data from thousands of climate sensors.

    Look at your customer journey and consider whether integrating your first-party data with second-party information – data owned by another company – might bring about a more meaningful, relevant experience.

    These types of IoT data integrations are already happening across industries. For example, a variety of companies and organizations are analyzing data collected from connected cars very closely: automakers, insurers, academic institutions, big digital platforms, and more. With this information, insurance companies can offer lower premiums to safe or infrequent drivers. Ridesharing apps can track their fleet in near-real time. Automakers can remotely diagnose maintenance needs and send proactive reminders. These companies are ahead of the curve. According to research cited by McKinsey, connected car technologies are expected to become standard in automobiles by 2020, at the latest. So for companies who haven’t yet, now is good time to build the business case for sourcing and onboarding connected car data, and whatever other IoT data may be relevant to your industry.

    Connect online and offline data: Bringing in new data streams for marketing campaigns is useless without purposefully connecting it to information on how people behave in real life and in front of their devices. What people do offline and online helps paint a clearer picture of who someone is, providing companies with insight into what constitutes a welcome connection with a particular person. Accomplishing this requires a lot of data and analysis.

    Take Netflix as an example. All it has is subscribers’ viewing and ratings history, but from that, the brand calculates the likelihood of enjoying a new series or movie. If you have ever watched something Netflix recommended with great anticipation, only to hate it, you’ve experienced firsthand how more data could have delivered a better, more personalized experience. Netflix has a strong adversary in Amazon Video by virtue of the fact that it has access to browsing and purchasing history from its subscribers who shop on Amazon, own Echoes, and talk to Alexa. As Amazon Video can more confidently target known individuals with better recommendations, it will be interesting to see how Netflix responds and escalates the race for streaming dominance through personalization.

    Establish a culture of self-regulating your own data: Lastly, when thinking about what new data to connect to and manage for your marketing campaigns, ensure that your growing database remains privacy compliant and in line with the experience your customers expect. A trusted data resource can help source, connect, and give you valuable insights when the information is procured through ethical, privacy-compliant means. Start from a place of digging into your data to understand it and whom you are trying to create personalized experiences for. Pick out the signals and predictors that matter for your business—the rest is just noise.

    Zooming out a bit, self-regulating primary data also involves determining what is acceptable and required in your industry. This can be a moving target, as those in the healthcare industry know. A recent survey by Transcend Insights, a digital health company, uncovered that 97 percent of patients believe it is important for any health institution, regardless of type or location, to have access to their full medical history in order to deliver high-quality care. Providers, insurance companies, and regulatory agencies also have this optimal patient experience in mind, yet we’re quite a ways from the free flow of personal data among healthcare organizations patients envision.

    As discussions on data privacy continue across industries, it’s vital for all businesses handling personal data to keep abreast of new policies and proactively maintain regulatory compliance. Attending industry events such as ones organized by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, or joining associations such as the Digital Advertising Alliance, are worth considering to have a seat at the table at these important discussions.

    The above is a good blueprint for thinking about not just IoT data, but also other information that you may have access to in the future. With more insight-laden data being created all the time, the opportunities to discover more about people and create truly inspired, personal experiences are endless.

    To learn more about people-based marketing, download the LiveRamp IdeaBook: 300 Ways To Do People-Based Marketing.

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