Updated: Sep 21
My career involves 3 stages of Internet business which are perfectly aligned with any start-up lifecycle that came out of Internet business.
I started my first era in digital space in 1999 when Internet was just a baby. We were all working like in a start-up. There were no experts and we were creating expertise/knowledge by trial and error. As in every start-up initial phase I started my digital career by developing products. Specifically we were developing web interface for airline reservation system products, online reservation, online check-in and e-ticket. In this stage there was a big focus on product. Marketing or analytics was not too relevant, because we were all very busy to create some base product that customers can use.
My second era started in 2007 with web analytics. Amazon had been founded in 1994, and Google had ben founded in 1998. So 2007 was the time when some product know-how was already established. Internet was also a growing business with many unforeseen possibilities (like Amazon.com). That time I was working for US Airways and our focus was to increase channel share of website sales after we had a new brand website. We were thinking hard to answer this question:How could we grow this channel more and more? We started using marketing and analytics more. We developed other products and we marketed on different channels and modified our strategy depending on the data and the business results. This second era was still simpler than today. Smart telephone era and multiple device era had not taken off yet. As you know first Iphone was released in June 2007 and first Android device was released in September, 2008. First popular tablet Ipad was released in April,2010. We did not have multi-channel and and multi-device environment yet. We had one single customer view and we had few marketing channels. We knew where they were coming from, we knew what keywords they typed in Google (yes Google was passing that information once!), remarketing/retargeting was not much a thing by then, because things were simpler.
Now we are in the third era in digital business. We created great products, we analyzed and marketed our products well and our business had a significant growth. What is next? Now it is time to integrate this digital know-how into the rest of the company to optimize overall business. This is the era of customer intelligence.
It is a time when we need to stop making discrimination in analytics and marketing. Discrimination was needed between online and offline, between digital and non-digital to divide things into small details to understand it better . But now it is time to put all pieces together.
There is marketing and there is analytics. CRM, online marketing, offline marketing can still be different departments in the organization but everybody in marketing has to have knowledge about all of them, everybody has to work together and act together. Because doing things independently in one area will damage all of your marketing efforts. This starts with unifying all data.Are your CRM campaigns are supported by your customer’s digital behavior? Do you target customers onsite and offsite based on CRM data. Unfortunately many enterprises are still failing to do this,
Now we are deep into multi channel marketing era. It has been here for sometime but it is now more serious than ever. I say serious because multi channel makes you to lose money and hurts your communication with your customers. Unless you do something about it.
That’s where DMP (Data Marketing Platform) comes into a play. DMP is one central data location for your customers to bring everything together. Not just your data with your customer, but also your customer’s data from different outlets.
Our customers are now using our apps, mobile site and desktop site. They also interact with us on different social media outlets through with many different devices. They also see our ads on different marketing channels and again they are browsing on these marketing channels through different devices. They also go to our offline store. They also shop from other companies. They also travel, buy shoes, use credit card and so on.
While digital interactions with customers started to get more complex, different marketing technologies were evolved. Tag managers, content testing tools, push notifications, media optimizers, campaign tools and so on
While these technologies are doing many beneficial things for us, some of them fail to provide us one single view of our customers.
DMP(Data Management Platform) is now needed more than ever to optimize all your efforts in marketing by creating one single customer view. When we unite as much data as about customer, we might not need complex data science or machine learning activities to predict the customer behavior because we can actually know, exactly know what the customer needs.
Basically DMP is trying to unify all your customer data (first party, second party and third party) and feed this data into your marketing technology. So all your marketing technology is based on this feed. This is the true customer intelligence.
Currently many companies’ CRM data and digital data are not talking to each other. You need to start from there. You need to identify as much as people online so that you can serve your CRM offer to your customer in advertising channels before they come to your site. When do they come to your site and apps you can also know what ads they have seen and what is their segmentation so that you can show them personalized experience.That way you can stop offering things that customers can’t buy or won’t buy.
You might show same ad maybe 10 times to a same customer and can spend more than you intended. You can also irritate your customers with 10 ads in 1 day. DMP can help you to put a cap on it so that you can actually control how many times and where you show your ads to specific segment. But this is only possible if you have DMP who can integrate all your publisher data including Google, Facebook and local publishers.
I can also know what device or channel they use more so that I can differentiate my ads based on this data. Rather than showing same ads on web and mobile, I can just choose one for specific audience. I can also customize my ads depending on audience popular day or time.
By buying additional data like credit card data you can also benefit from credit card segmentation and you can optimize your CRM offers. You can share data between your partners (such as airline and insurance company)
You can add publisher data to it. Google’s or Facebook’s segmentation will make this unification even stronger. As you know Google has lots of information about your customers, you can add this data to your intelligence.
With DMP possibilities are endless. Of course it will depend on the DMP you will be using. Please remember identifying customers online takes some time. So you will start to get benefits of DMP after sometime, results are not immediate. But in the long term you will get amazing results.