The Power Of Integration: Best Practices For Combining Customer Relations Data & Your Media Buy

With the incredible amount of data available these days, plenty of brands have figured out how to gather, mine and utilize it to engage with consumers. According to a McKinsey report, 15 out of 17 industry sectors in the U.S. have more data stored, per company, than the U.S. Library of Congress.

However, there are few companies that have figured out how to successfully integrate their customer relationship management (CRM) data with the most basic campaign metrics, such as impression clicks and conversion rates.

This isn’t an easy task — measuring reach and frequency across your media buy to see segment performance, and measuring that performance against customer data, is a tall order. Advanced technology is necessary to determine relationships between the two.

Still, it’s well worth the investment. Brands and their respective agencies that connect CRM data with their existing databases will uncover richer and more useful data. In turn, this will allow for a more relevant and engaging experience for brands’ target audiences.

Data Integration Magnetic

The most successful brands and agencies are utilizing the following principles:

Gain Your Consumers’ Trust

Encourage your customers to provide data, but do so in a safe and confidential manner. By building a relationship and in turn, gaining their trust, you can provide them with a much better experience.

Vail does an awesome job at this. All you need to do is provide basic information about yourself and who you are — and in exchange, you get a map of all the places you’ve been and photos that were taken of you as you ski down the mountain. WIN!

Don’t Be A Data Repository

Don’t just be a repository for data. You must know how to handle massive amounts of information, or hire analysts who are experts at drawing relationships between two separate pieces of data.

Find out what data is actionable and then drill down on that. Hire data scientists to take a really close look at your data and analyze relationships between different data points. Then figure out how you can act on those relationships. If you can’t make the data actionable, then it decreases in value.

Your Data Must Be Real-Time

Your data is only useful if it can be identified in real-time. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from gathering data instantaneously — the immediate feedback will give you clarity on how your media is performing.

Real-time or near real-time information access enables marketers to quickly shift their messaging or media spend to better reach the target audience. But real-time data is only relevant if the business can make sense of the data and act in the right time frame. Data updated multiple times per day is often good enough.

Auto-Optimization Is Key

Work with tools that can auto-optimize and alter campaigns in real-time. While you should be a bit cautious as some of these tools are still being developed, auto-optimization will save you time and resources. It will also save you from making any false conclusions.

At Magnetic, we often see tactics that work for a campaign, but they may not work a month later or when implemented in a different geography. If you are automatically optimizing campaigns, you won’t make these types of mistakes. It is always a best practice to make sure a human is reviewing the data logic. This helps to ensure that the computer and automated technology are not missing variables, which may cause inaccuracies. Remember, computers don’t make mistakes, but human programmers can!

One company that’s proven successful in incorporating its CRM data is Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG). They’ve taken details such as income levels and preference of family-style or business-traveler accommodations from the 71 million members of its Priority Club rewards program and integrated it with social media sites and process queries into one single data warehouse.

Using the system, they launched a campaign at the beginning of the year that increased customized campaign marketing messages from seven to 1,552. According to IHCG leadership, the campaign generated a 35% higher rate of customer conversions than a similar campaign from last year. While there’s still room for improvement, I hope more companies follow suit and make integration a priority in 2014.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is chief executive officer at search retargeting leader Magnetic charged with driving overall company expansion and building out Magnetic’s search retargeting infrastructure.

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