Fantastic people-based marketing is like a fantastic dining experience. If any part of the experience — the food, ambiance, or service — is three-star quality, then the whole experience is a three-star experience.
Great dining requires that the server make you smile a few times and ideally laugh at least once. When accomplished, every other interaction — cups filled or plates removed or added, for instance — happens without you noticing. The server knows just the right moment to swoop in and exchange your plate without so much as a syllable being interrupted in your conversation.
This is what people-based marketing is all about. Getting what you want without asking and at the perfect time.
The Five Core Components
What exactly comprises people-based marketing? For starters, great content. Then, that content must be delivered through the right medium. And lastly, both the content and medium have to come together to provide compelling experiences. To achieve this, people-based marketing needs five core components.
1. Cohesive Device Graph
This first component allows you to cohesively carry on a single conversation with your consumers across each of their devices — not just individual devices. For that, you’ll need a Device Graph, which links all the separate devices your consumers use to that consumer. There are two primary ingredients to a device graph:
- Deterministic Links — These links use anonymized logins to link devices. For example, if a customer logged in to Company A’s website on her mobile phone and laptop, a deterministic link would connect these two devices to that individual based on that login.
- Probabilistic Links — This second ingredient uses an algorithm to sift through anonymous information — like IP address and geolocation — in search of similar patterns. When the algorithm finds a pattern that meets a certain similarity threshold across multiple devices, the algorithm will link these devices to a single person.
Probabilistic links bring incredible scale to the device graph, while deterministic links bring unmatched accuracy.
To deliver the best possible experience to consumers, a device graph that includes both deterministic and probabilistic links is best. Using a device graph with both key ingredients gives marketers both scale and accuracy. While there isn’t a set ratio of deterministic to probabilistic data, I would have more confidence in a device graph with 20-percent deterministic data versus another graph with only 10-percent deterministic data.
Beyond having a device graph built on both deterministic and probabilistic links, there are two more options that should be considered when exploring device graphs:
- Works with what you have — Marketing technology is growing increasingly complex. Device graphs are no different. To assure that marketers glean all the benefits of people-based marketing, it’s important that the device graph works with the marketing stack already in place. Otherwise, marketers may find themselves with siloed device-graph data that is unable to feed their other marketing tools.
- Integrates with existing tools — Using a third-party device graph with a third-party marketing tool could cost marketers up to half of their device-graph scale due to the two tools being unable to sync cookies. Instead, find a device graph that can be embedded within your existing marketing tools and negate the need to sync cookies.
Until recently, the lack of a device graph created the chasm between marketers and people-based marketing. Today, this chasm is closed. Device graphs can accurately — and at scale — link devices to people so marketers can use this information to deliver the experiences consumers crave.
2. Transparent Consumer Controls
People-based marketing is about giving consumers what they want, when they want it, without being asked for it. It’s about understanding consumers well enough to anticipate their future wants just like a seasoned server at a swanky restaurant.
But, a fantastic experience can’t come at any cost. Consumers today want vivid transparency and control over their identity.
- Transparency — The more transparency brands give to consumers, the better the relationship between the two will be. When it comes to device graphs, the graph is responsible for providing two key dimensions of transparency. The first centers around devices. Consumers have the right to know which devices are linked to them. The second dimension applies to data. Consumers also have the right to know where the device-graph data is coming from to assure it originates from trustworthy brands that respect consumer privacy. After all, no one wants mystery meat.
- Control — Transparency alone is not enough. Device graphs must also give consumers the freedom to choose which — if any — of their devices are linked to them.
3. Advanced Analytics Solution
A robust device graph will produce a tremendous amount of information. To transform this device-centric information into people-centric insights, marketers need an advanced analytics solution. It’s only when these two technologies are fused that marketers are able to gain the insights they need to anticipate consumer needs. A people-enabled analytics solution provides:
- People Metric — Traditional analytics solutions are restricted to providing device-centric metrics. People-enabled analytics solutions can deliver metrics based on people — such as revenue per person, the number of people who visited your website or app, or the number of people who saw your display ads. This foundational shift in measurement from devices to people can impact every report your marketing team uses and, more importantly, the insights drawn from those reports.
- Customer Journey Analytics — Historically, marketers have only been capable of understanding the customer journey from the perspective of a single device. But, people interact with brands from many devices — not just one. With people-enabled analytics solutions, marketers can see the complete customer journey, stitched from device to device, to better understand which touchpoints drive business and which touchpoints hurt it.
4. Integrated System of Action
People-based marketing doesn’t stop at gaining insights. People-based marketing requires that marketers go from insight to action quickly enough to meet consumer expectations. Marketers and analysts should be able to identify an insight in their analytics solution, create an audience segment, and share that audience for fast action in any marketing channel. When the system of action is truly integrated with the device graph, the integration goes beyond audience sharing to triggered actions in one solution based off insights in another. The marketing channels that should be supported by an integrated system of action include:
- In-app messaging,
- In-store messaging, and
5. Fluid, Open Ecosystem
A device graph that’s confined to an ecosystem — whether a marketing-technology partner or a walled garden such as Facebook or Google — is not good enough. The consumer journey is not restricted to one marketing channel, one domain, or one anything. The consumer journey is fluid — and so is true people-based marketing.
For people-based marketing to keep up with the consumer journey, it needs an open ecosystem in which to share device graphs and audiences with technologies outside of the native ecosystem. Open ecosystems give marketers freedom to choose which marketing tools to leverage to best reach their consumers.
The Five Core Components in Conclusion
To enjoy a superb dining experience, the food, ambiance, and service must all be topnotch. If any one of these components is out of place, the whole experience falls short. Much like a fantastic dining experience, a five-star people-based marketing experience needs all five of these core components to empower marketers to deliver what’s wanted — without being asked — and at the perfect time.