How to make marketing decisions based on the whole truth and nothing but the truth

This is a sponsored post by Criteo.

Online consumers are now browsing, researching and purchasing products across multiple devices more than ever before. Unfortunately, most of today’s digital marketers are not adopting a holistic view of the consumer purchasing journey, and are missing out on engagement opportunities and sales.

Criteo’s The State of Cross-Device Commerce Report highlights that retailers who lack a cross-device perspective or measurement tool will have a distorted view on up to 41% of their online transactions.

This is similar to the Indian parable of the blind men and an elephant. In various versions of the tale, a group of blind men touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the trunk or the tusk. They then compare notes and learn that they are in complete disagreement on what this creature might be. This story implies that a subjective experience can be true, but that experience is inherently flawed or limited by a failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth.

Nowhere are multiple, credible versions of the truth more prevalent than in the data created by today’s cross-device consumer behaviour. Marketers can therefore ill afford a myopic approach, or one that involves a shot in the dark.

Now, imagine that you’re a consumer who is looking for leather shoes because you’ve noticed wear and tear on the old pair you’ve been wearing – not to mention that it looks dull compared to the new and slick pair that your neighbour owns. You start exploring options and prices online from your computer.

The next day, an online retailer serves you an ad on your smartphone while you’re reading online news and deciding where to go for breakfast. Later that day, you read product reviews while commuting. That online retailer then serves you another ad highlighting free shipping on the exact pair of rich chestnut leather shoes you’ve been considering.

As you arrive home and remove your shoes, your eyes are inevitably drawn toward the blemishes and wrinkles. You immediately grab your smartphone and open the mobile app of the retailer who’s been making you offers. Before you know it, your new shoes are delivered to your doorstep.

In this scenario, the marketer has successfully targeted a shopper across multiple devices. Without a cross-device measurement tool, mobile gets full credit for the sale. But what does your data tell you? Is your solution designed to let you follow the journey of a single customer, with each digital touchpoint enhancing the opportunity for conversion? Or does your technology present you with a truncated (truck-cated if you will) and disparate set of facts which, when viewed individually, do not tell you the entire story?

Had the final purchase been on the desktop, you might have even concluded that mobile devices played no meaningful role in the customer purchasing journey.

Knowing what’s really happening, as compared to what you might conclude from disconnected datasets will allow you to prioritise what’s most important, especially regarding resource allocation. If you draw the wrong conclusion, you’ll end up with a misallocation of ad spend. It’s critical to synthesise all data sources and distil the truth. When every dollar counts, digital spend must be leveraged as accurately as possible.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, retailers have accumulated huge amounts of consumer data. However, more than half are finding it difficult to segment unstructured data to create actionable insights, and have so far failed to deliver personalised and relevant online engagement. This stems from having to manage unintegrated and incompatible data sources.

Conversely, brands like Zalora, MatahariMall and Tiki have already adopted advanced digital marketing technology to build comprehensive profiles of shoppers based on their cross-device behaviour, before automatically and optimally engaging them, and achieving substantial uplifts in eCommerce sales.

Ultimately, the most effective and actionable information is not based on a host of contradictory facts, but rather, the aggregation and summary of the most precise and updated information that’s been made available. Marketers must address the proverbial elephant in the room – device-centric approaches are outdated and the time is now for a shift to a user-centric approach.

The right cross-device technology, one that delivers proven reach, scale, accuracy and match rate, will enable you to observe the entire chain of customer interactions, ensuring that you make marketing decisions based on “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Download the complete The State of Cross-Device Commerce report here.