There is an unrecognized convergence happening in data-driven marketing that is creating new opportunity in digital media and could change the way we use marketing intelligence, understand customers and train our marketing teams.  Rick Erwin, President, Targeting, Experian Marketing Services and Treasurer of the DMA Board of Directors, believes that two industries are colliding to reshape marketing – traditional offline database marketing and digital media.

Offline data is the powerful data we use to know people at an individual level.   Digital media buyers are starting to use this data to drive what is increasingly becoming a Personal Internet.  “We know the offline data is applicable,” Rick says, and as evidenced by the strong partnership between Experian and Yahoo! and other media companies, the transformation is already underway.  Rick connects offline and online data for digital media with an “and” not an “or.”   This is the difference between targeting and connecting, he says.

“Customer relationship optimization demands that these two disciplines come together,” he says.  “When you use a broader dataset in digital media and advertising targeting, you apply a personalized approach to individual individuals, not just segments of individuals, all of whom are authenticated to be actual US householders and measured over time.

“In the past, we gathered a group of people in demography and six months later marketed offers to a similar demography,” he says.  “Bringing the offline data into the online experience allows brands to connect with people as people as they interact in (near) real-time with online experiences.”

Yahoo!  has successfully increased the value of their media properties by attaching Experian Marketing data and effectively now are able to think in an omnichannel dimension, Rick says, and integrate experiences across all their display and search channels, as well as with direct mail.  (Experian and Yahoo! are doing a joint case study presentation at DMA13 to share more insights.)

Authentication is extremely important to the value proposition, he says.  The longstanding principles that we covet and practice in offline direct marketing – the tenants of notice, choice and transparency – apply here and make this possible.  Customer relationships are built on trust and respect.  That is just as true in online media as in offline channels.

Digital marketers who eschew offline data are missing a big opportunity, Rick says.  Understandably, this isolationist attitude may be because they have not been exposed to or grown up in the database marketing world where individual data personas are second nature.

“Success in this age requires that these two disciplines cross over.  Database marketing and digital media are very complementary.  However, most practitioners grew up in one or the other, and so we must now move with purpose to cross pollenate,” he says.  “Our industry needs multiple-sport athletes who have been in both worlds, and will help us find and connect with customers to grow the business.”

Advanced technology and consumer preference have led us to this intersection.   What used to be unknown is now known.  We as an industry haven’t kept up or created opportunities for our people, Rick says.  “Experian is swiftly moving to close that divide.”

The traditional database marketing community has a stake and self interest in this transformation of digital media, he says.  “No question there is an expansion and explosion of data and of the ways that consumer data is generated, collected and used.  Much of that is happening online.

“Optimization and monetization by marketers of our digital lifestyles has a logical application outside the traditional bounds of the lifecycle,” he says.  In a very concrete example, he says, many people in the digital media community had to think about how to collect and use data in an appropriate way, other than behavioral targeting.

“You have to be a responsible steward of consumer data for marketing to be effective,” he says.  “Traditional database marketers are accustomed to following DMA ethical guidelines for the responsible collection and use of data, and we make that commitment to the benefit of consumers and the economy.

“Digital media professionals must adopt the same principles and guidelines, and one way to jump start that approach is to work with the offline data and see how those guidelines build consumer trust and improve response by connecting right offer, right person and right channel,” Rick says.

The “we” is different now, he says.  “The data-driven industry includes people like digital media and ad tech folks that five years ago wouldn’t have even considered themselves part of this world. “  The recognition is coming both ways, from both sides – and certainly DMA is reaching out now through our conference content, educational programming, Board leadership and the launch of our National Center for Data-driven Marketing (NCDM).

“This is not just vocabulary.  It’s cultural and education.  None of us can help marketers derive intelligence or fully take advantage of the data they have without this convergence,” Rick says. “Both disciplines have the same goal:  Customer satisfaction and engagement.

“It’s time for us to come together.”

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