In an article published on its site in late March, the IAB asserts that data is the “fuel inside the engine” of online marketing. “Simply put,” the article reads “a marketing professional who doesn’t understand data and its role in the online ecosystem is just as ill-equipped and out-of-date as one who ignores social media or mobile advertising.”
In other words, data isn’t the future. It’s now.
But marketers are still struggling. A survey of 600 markers and agency pros revealed that 62% of us feel overwhelmed by the amount of data they have while 82% said they’re unable to fully use that data.
Blue Apron and Data Aggregators
Blue Apron is an online service that delivers a meal directly to your door. But the meal doesn’t come fully cooked. What you get is a box of ingredients that you’re supposed to assemble and cook yourself. This is all well and good if you like to cook.
But some of us are inept in the kitchen. We can burn soup; our Hot Pockets explode in the microwave; our mashed potatoes aren’t just lumpy, they’re a solid solitary lump. When Blue Apron provides us with all those wonderful, organic, locally-sourced ingredients, we know that therein lies the possibility of a good meal…but we also know that’s it can’t be us who tries to cook it.
Data can be like this. It can do wonderful things in the right hands, but without the right expertise it’s just a bunch of raw information.
First-Party Data; Third-Party Data; Intent Data
Marketers have a few kinds of data available to them: first-party data, the information they have amassed about their customers or website visitors; and third-party data acquired from outside vendors. Third-party data is, by nature, more robust as it is gleaned from many different sources rather than the single source of first-party data.
As such, third-party data can be a boon for marketers looking to target specific audiences. However, the quality of third-party vendor sources can vary significantly. Often, purchasing from a large-scale vendor can result in insights that are out-of-date and suffer from quality issues. Third party data is a snapshot of a moment in time. The best vendors shoot a lot of pictures, but each picture is still static.
By contrast, intent data is a livestream. Intent data tells you who’s researching what and when they’re researching it. With it, you can understand both what companies are researching specific topics, but who at the company is actually researching it. In other words, intent data finds the accounts and the people at those accounts exhibiting the most propensity to buy.
Data is Great, but Strategy is Better
If you’re using a third party data vendor, you can take its raw data and dump it into a programmatic ad buy in order to target your desired audience. It’s a powerful promise, but weaker in execution than it would seem.
If the data is good, and the buy is well-executed you will reach your desired audience. But is this an endgame?
Let’s say you’re selling server arrays and want to target IT pros; you can do this, but when your message is served to an IT pro who is happy with his solution, the message is wasted. Or, if you serve a well targeted display ad, but don’t back it with content, it’s another wasted message.
A strategic program mixes content syndication with a targeted advertising campaign, driving both with intent data so that your messaging gets in front of the in-market prospect.
Data Drives Marketing
Data is the raw material of today’s marketing. It requires expertise to turn all that information into something useful. When properly applied, data can drive your marketing programs to be more effective, and generate real, measurable ROI for your company.
To learn more about how intent data can drive marketing, download Madison Logic’s whitepaper: Account Based Marketing: Targeting with Intent.