Why Data Is All-Powerful For Agencies: MediaMath

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In this Q&A piece, Heather Blank (pictured below), senior vice president of MediaMath Audiences, gets quizzed on how agencies and brands can make the most of the data they’ve got.

Heather Blank

What is the single most important thing to consider when transforming into a data-savvy organisation?

 When looking at transforming a company’s marketing into something truly digital, it is all about the consumer – that is the single most important thing. Marketing today has shifted from silos defined by media channels to a focus on the consumer. At the same time, consumer behaviour is getting increasingly complex.

This means that all consumer data – across touch points – is now essential to the success of marketing and business. Brands now need to have a much better understanding of the value of their data and realise the need to access integrated data products at scale to solve full-funnel problems.

With a data-driven, omni-channel approach, marketers can connect all channels, formats, and devices, allowing for a seamless, personalised user experience which is unified across consumer devices.

Are agencies really harnessing the power of data to the full extent yet?

It is definitely increasing across regions, but there is still a significant way to go before agencies realise the true potential of the data that is at their disposal. In many cases, available data is not being used to its full capacity, or brands and agencies are aware, but they have not made a complete shift to a data-driven approach yet. This is often the result of a lack of understanding and expertise around the complexity or technical implementation of data-driven marketing platforms.

Yet, brands and agencies that have implemented a data-driven approach have already experienced better audience targeting, faster and more efficient execution, real-time optimisation, and of course increased marketing ROI and tangible business results. This is only the beginning, as data-driven marketing continues to take main stage and agencies and brands continue to jump on board.

With the right knowledge, partner and technology, agencies and brands will be able to harness programmatic marketing in their practice (if they have not done so yet) to gain strategic and real business advantages.

 How much data is enough?

A recent body of work that MediaMath produced together with the CMO Club revealed that a little over a quarter of companies hand all their data over to their agency of choice, and more than a third limit the amount of data their agency can access.

This means that the majority of agencies are working with only the information that their clients provide, or in combination with third party data. Essentially, it is incumbent for marketing leaders to decide which data sets are relevant to their marketing strategy and where to draw the line between providing third-party access to relevant information for data-driven insights and retaining information that might be sensitive or unnecessary. Generally, as long as the data is relevant, provides a direct line into the sales journey of each consumer and covers each touch point along their journey to market, it will suffice.

As the volume of data increases and technology becomes more advanced, agencies can become the predominant strategic partner for brands by creating a holistic, privacy-friendly strategy around technology, data and measurement.

Is any one data source more important than others?

Each data source must be used in conjunction with others in order to provide a complete, unified end-user experience. A cross-device campaign can best incorporate data from all sources available and extend them across a multi-channel campaign. For example, one of our clients – a large online gaming business – had faced issues with re-engagement of single log-in players, and was looking to expand reach and find their most valuable users in an optimal way. By employing cross-device marketing, the company was able to double response rates, with 24 per cent of conversions from multiple device users, while generating 17 per cent more revenue.

This shows the effectiveness of a cross-device campaign, as it allows for holistic behaviour profiling, which in turn leads to a higher audience find rate, more efficient marketing spend, and ultimately more accurate analytics for reporting and re-marketing.

What are the most important actions that an agency should be focusing on?

As programmatic moves into new territories in TV, audio, print, and native, agencies have to understand the various data sets using an integrated platform to generate actionable insights that can improve marketing ROI and lower CPA.

User data is what powers the marketing that allows brands to reach and engage with consumers on a one-to-one level across channels, formats and devices throughout the customer life-cycle, though there is still a need for technical convergence and message coherence across channels as viewed from a consumer perspective. These inputs should then be applied to those across multiple devices and channels.

With the insights generated, invest in the customers that you know have the highest value, and develop relevant and engaging campaigns. That is the key to success and most important thing that agencies should focus on.

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