The secret to true customer-first marketing

This is a sponsored post by Squared Online.

Delivering a joined up, real-time, cross-device brand experience still remains the holy grail for many marketers today. However, challenges around identifying users across browsers and devices, and linking that data together on the right technology platforms, not to mention ethical and privacy concerns, means that achieving this is no mean feat.

Resolving the identity crisis

We all know that consumer behaviour has changed and that the path to purchase is no longer a linear journey. Today, according to Kshira Saagar, head of insights and analytics at Datalicious, an individual consumer will use around four to five different devices or browsers in any given month.

This means that when it comes to being able to identify a particular user and track their journey, this multi-device, multi-browser behaviour reduces our ability to track unique visitors by about 25-30%. Herein lies the problem.

So what can be done about it? Despite the challenges, there are several methods of cross-device attribution, the science of identifying users and linking multiple devices. Indeed, it already has many names: session unification, device matching and stitching, session audience depuplication, to name but three.

As each method has varying degrees of accuracy, it’s probably no surprise to learn that companies specialising in this field use a combination of methods in order to deliver the best results.

The move towards real-time

In addition to the practical considerations of cross-device tracking and linking those devices to actual users, being able to respond to those users with real-time, one-one communications is what drives true customer-first marketing.

For some time now businesses have been steadily evolving with the uptake of new technologies, such as marketing automation, now becoming increasingly common place. Indeed, the benefits of real-time marketing communications have been examined in depth many times over in various reports and articles. What’s more, while we’ve been experiencing this rise of automation and 1:1 communications, the availability of user and device ID tracking has, at the same time, led to an increasing number of companies to be active in media, or marketing, attribution.

Achieving true customer-first marketing

To achieve true cross-device marketing, a business needs to have both automation and attribution up and running before it can be successful. However, it’s when you put these two things together – marketing automation and media attribution – that you begin to achieve cross-device marketing in real-time.

This is what we call “customer-first marketing”.

In our whitepaper titled Digital performance marketing - The next frontier,  we explore how new technologies present new opportunities to engage with customers and why, as marketers, we need to improve on our ability to see customers as a single individual that moves across different devices on their path to purchase.

We found that this move towards true customer-first marketing also requires a shift in mind-set among marketers – the shift from being data-driven to being data-dependent. This may be a small change in words, but it represents a huge change in both action and behaviour. The first step in making this change is for marketers to become bi-lingual in both marketing and data.

In fact it’s widely accepted that being data-literate is an essential attribute of a successful marketer today.

Richard Pester is strategy lead at Data Runs Deep and speaker for Squared Online.