When it comes to marketing strategy, don’t let your data meet a dead end

In a data driven world, business leaders are well aware of the critical role that customer insight plays in driving successful commercial or marketing activity

But when it comes to using data to inform company-wide strategies to deliver both short and long-term business success, many companies are missing a trick. By investing a significant chunk of their ad spend with walled gardens such as Facebook and Google – 2017 saw the digital giants attract 85% of all online advertising spend – brands are simply handing over control of their data as well as their dollars. This blind reliance on walled gardens to deliver results means that, for too many brands, data put in isn’t returned, lessons aren’t learned, and insights, outputs and outcomes are missing once an advertising campaign is over.

It is only through true transparency about what data is being used, how much is being spent, and what outcomes are being achieved, that organisations can accurately evaluate the success of their ad campaign. Without the open sharing of data and insights, brands will continue to be left at a serious disadvantage, unable to learn about their own customers and build effective company-wide strategies.

Data transparency is critical for consumer engagement

Audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented thanks to the proliferation of digital channels. Reaching consumers in the right place, at the right time, with the right content and in the right context is no mean feat. To combat this challenge, advertisers are under pressure to create personalised ad experiences as a way to build meaningful engagement with consumers. Yet the platforms on which they are predominantly placing their ads are unable to deliver the transparency that is needed for the two-way exchange of high-quality information. And without this data, brands will find themselves lacking the tools they need to create campaigns that capture the attention of consumers.

The promise of extensive audience reach should no longer be enough for companies to justify such stratospheric spend within a walled garden. This is especially true when you stop to think about the huge expanse of ad inventory that exists outside of organisations like Facebook and Google, where brands can communicate and engage with customers.

Breaking down the walls for greater success

The world of data doesn’t have to be as daunting as many think. A coherent and clear understanding from brands about what first party data they hold, and how it can be used to improve ad campaigns and wider company strategies, should not be an unachievable goal. Yet the reality of today’s advertising landscape means advertisers are restricted to a one-way conversation, in which the walled gardens take consumer data, use it and do not report back.

So how can advertisers break down these walls, and capitalise on the data at their fingertips to prepare their company for the future? How can they ensure they make their data go further? The answer is using a platform that puts transparency at its core. For advertisers, they must look for a technology company, not just a media company, that can act as a strategic partner. This partner should be able to – and willing – to deliver deeper insights, greater understanding about a brand’s customers, and the campaign results that are being achieved. They should be open, not secretive. After all, why have access to all this data if a partner is not going to use it to serve the advertiser and the end user? This is the only way to realise greater return on ad investments. By working in partnership, clients and their ad tech suppliers can make marketers or agencies smarter, and ensure that every campaign is contributing to a strategy that builds a stronger, more successful business.

About the Author

Andrew Morsy is Managing Director UK at Sizmek. Sizmek is the largest independent buy-side advertising platform that creates impressions that inspire. In the digital world, creating impressions that inspire is vital to building meaningful, long-lasting relationships with your customers.  Sizmek provides powerful, integrated solutions that enable data, creative, and media to work together for optimal campaign performance across the entire customer journey.