In my last post, I intro­duced “10 Ques­tions for the Future of Third-Party Data.” With this post, I’d like to go a step fur­ther and tackle the ques­tion that topped the list:

How can we use the avail­able data to sup­ply the right con­tent to the right per­son at the right time?


If you’re not from Utah, this bill­board might be lost on you. Fry sauce? Ask any Utahn and they’ll tell you the only way to eat French fries is slathered in a creamy mix­ture of ketchup and may­on­naise. We invented the dip­ping sauce (and per­fected the 1 part ketchup: 2 parts mayo ratio), and we won’t hear otherwise.

When Fiat planted this bill­board beside a busy Salt Lake City high­way, they were using their data on Utah to deliver tar­geted mar­ket­ing. “Fry sauce” is the right con­tent for Utahns. There are other types of tar­get­ing at play, of course: mar­ket­ing the sporty imports to dri­vers in a town known for its resorts and busi­ness just makes sense. The right con­tent to the right peo­ple at the right time (and place)? Check, check, and check.

What Can We Learn from a Road­side Billboard?

Per­son­al­iz­ing a sin­gle bill­board in a fixed loca­tion for a lim­ited mar­ket is one thing; deliv­er­ing local­ized, up-to-date con­tent to indi­vid­ual vis­i­tors across mul­ti­ple pages in real time is quite another. But dig­i­tal mar­keters should still strive for the written-just-for-me per­son­al­iza­tion Fiat deliv­ered in Salt Lake.

Fiat didn’t need Big Data to pull this off. They only needed to focus on the data rel­e­vant to a par­tic­u­lar region and a par­tic­u­lar kind of cus­tomer. This kind of good old fash­ioned seg­men­ta­tion and tar­get­ing is mak­ing a dig­i­tal comeback.

Is Your Data Going to Waste?

Many dig­i­tal mar­keters are strug­gling to uti­lize mul­ti­ple, inde­pen­dent data streams, which they must access and manip­u­late sep­a­rately. This way of orga­niz­ing data is labo­ri­ous and lim­it­ing, and com­pa­nies often spend all their energy on one data stream while the oth­ers slip by. Or they divert all streams into one giant reser­voir, only to real­ize they don’t have the tech­nol­ogy to fil­ter and treat it. Then all that valu­able data sits stagnant.

How can we use data to sup­ply the right con­tent to the right per­son at the right time? The answer lies in inte­grated, indi­vid­ual vis­i­tor profiles.

Give All Your Vis­i­tors a Mini-Pool

What if instead of one giant reser­voir, each vis­i­tor had their own per­son­al­ized mini-pool? The grow­ing field of cus­tomer data man­age­ment (CDM) is work­ing fast to make this “what if” a real­ity. When data is orga­nized around unique vis­i­tors, it becomes more per­sonal, respon­sive, and effective.

Cre­at­ing data-rich pro­files is about inte­gra­tion, inte­gra­tion, and inte­gra­tion. When a vis­i­tor lands on a site, he or she can become imme­di­ately vis­i­ble as a clus­ter of rel­e­vant data: age, gen­der, geo­graphic loca­tion, or reg­is­tra­tion data make up their mini-pool. If you are access­ing third-party data, a visitor’s past pur­chases, brows­ing his­tory, sub­scrip­tions, and other insights will fill their pool as well. Finally, as vis­i­tors move from page to page, they gen­er­ate behav­ioral data that sales can respond to in real time and mar­ket­ing can use to opti­mize site content.

Pro­files Meet Personalization

Vis­i­tor pro­files enable you to deliver cre­ative per­son­al­iza­tion that will dwarf any bill­board. With the abun­dance of data avail­able, it’s eas­ier to tar­get folks online than it is in print. Here’s how you can use some of the most com­mon data streams to cre­ate respon­sive web con­tent and boost conversion:

  • Third-Party Data

With third-party data, your com­pany can get access to com­pre­hen­sive vis­i­tor pro­files already cre­ated by other companies.

The moment I access your site, you can detect my age, gen­der, income, and loca­tion. To unlock some great geo­tar­get­ing, tie local­ized con­tent or regional ad cam­paigns to my geo­graphic data. If I saw an image of Utah and a ref­er­ence to fry sauce splashed across a web­page, I’d be blown away.

  • Behav­ioral Data

As soon as I reach your site, you can mea­sure and store my behav­ior. Am I engag­ing with cer­tain prod­ucts or solu­tions? What kinds of links, images, and assets am I click­ing on that tell some­thing about me? Do I linger on some pages and imme­di­ately aban­don oth­ers, and how does that indi­cate inter­est? All this inter­nal data enriches my vis­i­tor pro­file and enables bet­ter and bet­ter per­son­al­iza­tion with each return visit.

For exam­ple, by com­bin­ing third-party data on income with my first-party brows­ing behav­ior, you can deter­mine which prod­uct I’m most likely to favor. Got a deal for the family-focused career man who likes to ski? Show me! You might high­light items I can afford, replace generic copy with a per­son­al­ized call to action, and offer cus­tom dis­counts to smooth the path to conversion.

  • Reg­is­tra­tion Data

If I’m still intrigued after brows­ing the site, I might request a quote, sub­scribe to an e-newsletter, down­load a report, or make a pur­chase. The forms that accom­pany each of these trans­ac­tions are a great oppor­tu­nity to solicit more detailed infor­ma­tion from visitors.

If I am choos­ing to sign up or buy in, I’m prob­a­bly will­ing to answer a cou­ple brief,

non­in­va­sive ques­tions about myself. Ask for my indus­try, or see if I have a per­sonal web­site. This info goes right into the vis­i­tor pro­file, which helps mar­keters pro­vide per­son­al­ized dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences as well as assists the sales rep who con­tacts me, boost­ing per­son­al­iza­tion the next time I visit the site.

Is there more you could be doing with your vis­i­tor profiles?

The chal­lenge of the day is not acquir­ing, but per­son­al­iz­ing Big Data. Vis­i­tor pro­files offer a way to orga­nize, inte­grate, and make good use of your data so you can focus on con­tent and conversion.