Data can play a significant role in ensuring that in-market customers convert, says Saul Stetson, Manager of Product Strategy & Operations and Platforms at Exponential
Data, data, data. It’s a real buzzword for any marketeer. Big data, small data, customer data. It doesn’t really matter what kind of data it is; everyone wants it and digital advertising really has bought into its importance. Nevertheless, there remains a disconnect. It’s clear that data driven insights can and should always inform a high level marketing strategy. It’s also clear that data can play a significant role in ensuring that in-market customers ultimately convert. However, the disconnect I speak of exists in our understanding of how data is systematically important closer to the beginning and throughout a customer’s pathway to purchase.
It’s simple to find your best customers and then first observe them. By using the data which you have on customers who you know are in market, you can be much more effective when looking for new ones. We may not want to accept it, but a combination of social cultures, commercial trends and financial limitations has meant that in many respects we aren’t very individual at all. We buy the products that suit our lifestyle, and we live a lifestyle dictated by our surroundings; a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes marketing segmentation a far easier strategy to achieve.
Exponential maps online interests enabling us to compare and contrast online activity across millions of internet users. The results offer some pretty distinct patterns that allow us to make statements such as the following. If someone is interested in cruising then they are 60 times more likely to be interested in board games than the average internet user. But, if they like skiing then they’re 38 times more likely to be interested in tennis. Consumer behaviour is habitual, and that’s why it’s predictable. Of course, there are exceptions, but in the world of digital we are looking to be relevant, but not so relevant that we talk specifically to an individual.
If a Monopoly advert is shown to someone who dislikes board games then that’s ok. No one is suggesting that a behavioural approach to advertising is an exact science. Far from it, in fact. But when the technology is aligned with the principles of consumer behaviour, you can be confident that statistically it will get it right more often than not.
So why cast the net any wider than need be? Every brand is looking for new customers, but chances are those new customers will look very similar to their current ones. They’ll have very similar interests and be looking to buy the same types of things. Data for brand prospecting, evolution not revolution.