9 Things You Should Know About People-Based Marketing

September 26, 2017 Ginna Hall

There's a lot of buzz around the term "people-based marketing." Since the concept was introduced in 2014, marketers and advertisers have embraced it, with varying degrees of success.

The big picture: With people-based marketing, you have greater confidence that your message is reaching your best customer and driving measurable results.

According to Forbes, “People-based marketing represents an industry shift from targeting devices to connecting with the right people at the right time, with the right message.”

83 percent of marketers are seeing more success from their people-based campaigns.

The vast majority of marketers (83 percent) are seeing more success from their people-based campaigns.

Read on for nine things you should know about how people-based marketing.

1. What is people-based marketing?

People-based marketing means identifying your customers and prospects as individuals, not just devices or cookies. It’s a shift in thinking. Instead of viewing consumer behavior in separate silos—display, email, search, social, etc.—you place the individual at the center of marketing activity.

When you can track and measure consumer behavior across channels and devices, you can understand how they’re interacting with your brand and which interactions are generating activity (an online conversion or an in-store purchase, for example).

2. What problems does it solve?

It’s a busy, multi-channel, multi-screen world. Who are all these people? Marketers’ challenge is how to identify consumers across channels and devices. People-based marketing helps you “connect the dots” between multiple consumer interactions.

When you can identify your customers and prospects as people, not just devices, you can then map those individuals to first- and third-party data. This creates an actionable profile that enables you to execute people-based marketing.

3. How do I start?

People-based marketing is made possible by the creation of a persistent identifier (or ID) that links a person to his or her devices and browsers.

Today, individuals are assigned different user ID’s by every entity they interact with, making it challenging for marketers to recognize the same user across multiple audience segments, marketing platforms, devices and digital vs. offline environments. Without a persistent ID, you must rely on a soup of CRM and other data, as well as cookies, which don’t work on mobile devices.

Research has revealed that 76 percent of marketers believe our reliance on cookies will end in the next two years.

With a persistent ID, it’s possible to identity a person across his or her smartphone, desktop, laptop and other connected devices (such as addressable TVs), which allows you to deliver personalized, relevant messages. It’s the arrival of the sought-after right person, right time, right message triumvirate.

4. How do you create a persistent ID?

A persistent ID is created by reconciling the information a brand collects about their customers and prospects (first-party data) with information gathered by external organizations (third-party data). Combining these two elements allows marketers to forge a unique, anonymous ID that contains an enriched profile of each individual.

5. What are the benefits of people-based marketing?

The tremendous power of people-based marketing is its ability to target real people rather than generic buyer personas. Understanding who your customers and prospects are, what they are like, and how they behave, is key to delivering tailored messages and experiences that meet their unique needs and preferences.

By improving the overall consumer experience, marketers can boost engagement and conversions, increase lifetime value, improve ROI and, ultimately, gain a competitive advantage.

6. Why do I need to use it?

Today’s consumers have more choices and control than ever before, and they expect highly relevant experiences, regardless of when or where they are taking place.

  • 56 percent of consumers feel more loyal to brands that show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences.
  • More than 37 percent of consumers own a combination of smartphones, laptops/desktops, and tablets.
  • 87 percent of consumers use more than one device at a time.

How do you know whether each interaction is someone visiting your site three times or three different people each visiting once?

Managing marketing and advertising channels separately, using siloed, channel-specific strategies, tactics, and metrics doesn’t produce the results we need. Silos are inefficient, efforts duplicated, and ad spend is wasted. Consumers also have a disjointed experience.

7. How do I implement a people-based approach?

People-based marketing requires shifting away from traditional advertising and marketing silos. Most companies rely on a structure in which display, social, print, radio, TV and other channels are managed in isolated silos, each with their own teams and budgets. Each team optimizes their budget to meet their metrics, independently of the other channels.

With people-based marketing, organizations move toward a cross-functional team. This approach allows teams to track, measure and optimize strategies and tactics across digital, mobile and physical spaces using a shared set of success metrics.

People-based marketing also requires collecting and consolidating audience and behavioral data from separate systems into a single repository, such as a data management platform (DMP).

The best solutions combine data from both online and offline sources (web, mobile, call center, in-store, etc.), as well as demographic, intent, interest, and other audience attribute data from first- and third-party data sources.

By synthesizing all of this data in one place, marketers can develop a more complete, people-based view of their customers and prospects.

8. How does Nielsen support people-based marketing?

Nielsen Attribution aggregates user IDs collected from across the advertising and marketing ecosystem (DMPs, cross-device data providers, offline data providers, etc.), as well as user IDs collected from a  customer’s system of digital marketing measurement (ad server or Envoy Pixel). All personally identifiable information (PII) is removed to safeguard privacy.

We consolidate both sets of non-PII user IDs, reconciling millions of disparate IDs and mapping them to a single Envoy Unique ID (VUID). Each VUID contains an enriched consumer profile (cross-device journey, offline touchpoint and conversion data, audience attributes, etc.).

These profiles are then combined with multi-touch attribution to produce people-based marketing performance insights. Marketers can then use this insight to make inter- and intra-channel budget optimizations, as well as optimizations to the consumer experience.

9. Anything else I should be aware of?

Like any new approach, people-based marketing has a bit of a learning curve. Marketers need access to types of data they may not have relied on before. Collecting, tagging and maintaining first-party data can be a technical challenge.

With a people-based marketing approach, it’s important to take people’s privacy concerns into account. Some consumers may be hesitant to share information with digital platforms, despite the benefits of a more personalized experience.

Don’t use personally identifiable information (PII) unless you have a relationship that allows it. Make sure that you’re respecting user preferences and that you have a privacy policy in place. Allow people to opt out of data collection. Take into account the newest legal regulations, especially if customers are from the European Union. Any responsible company will take these steps as they move toward a people-based approach.

A New Era of Marketing

It’s time for marketers to move beyond the world of cookies as consumers come to expect a more relevant, personalized experience. When you can identify your customers and prospects as people, not just devices, you can achieve one-to-one people-based marketing in ways that haven’t been possible before.

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