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How Marketers are Adopting People-Based Marketing—and How They’re Not

  • LiveRamp
  • 3 min read

Today’s marketers are in a bit of a pickle. On one hand, they need to be everywhere their customers are and readily adopt new channels. On the other hand, they need to bring all of their data and touchpoints together to understand their customer journey and create better experiences.

Bridging these two challenges isn’t easy, and solutions are often competing. Adding a new channel only increases fragmentation, but failing to adopt them also means missing out on potential customers.

Rock, meet hard place.

In 2016, Forrester published their report highlighting the strategic role of identity resolution for marketers in accurately identifying their customers for campaign analytics, orchestration, and execution. A bit more than a year on, the same holds true, and they’ve published another report—Elevate Your Marketing with a People-Based Approach—to uncover lingering roadblocks marketers face in adopting a people-based marketing approach , and the role identity can play in alleviating those problems.

So what do they have to say about this people-based marketing bind?

From display to VR

To start, 90% of firms surveyed have already implemented people-based targeting on premium publishers. These are publishers with large volumes of logged-in users that marketers can target in a one-to-one manner.

From there, marketers eye implementation in mobile (67%), search (45%), and display (40%). While almost half of marketers surveyed have moved their people-based marketing tactics to display, another quarter are taking the first steps towards adopting that channel as well.

Even the newer channels like IoT (32%), addressable TV (17%), and VR (6%) are seeing adoption. To be sure, they’re still the wild west of people-based channels, and marketers are looking to tech providers to offer aid in implementation.

This tapering off of implementation in emerging channels makes sense given that everyone can’t be activating across channels equally. So what’s driving them one way and not the other?

Untangling the data webs we weave

It’s the hard place: more channels means more complexity and fragmentation. And that’s not easy to overcome.

The difficulty with bringing a people-based marketing approach to additional channels is not just running it on those channels, but connecting that with the existing people-based data and channels. Forrester explains, “marketers struggle, especially with data integration beyond website and email, which helps explain why those are table stakes and the others are taking more time to adopt.”

For example, 78% of marketers and 71% of marketers say it’s difficult to connect their first-party data to gaming consoles and addressable TV respectively, making them hesitant to experiment. Data integration is a challenge even for established channels like video (64%) and search (62%).

Connectivity challenges are surely a result of disconnected technology and siloed data, but privacy concerns are also slowing expansion. As regulatory oversight grows (like GDPR), no one wants to be on the front page for privacy violations, and so many move slowly or avoid new channels until they’ve proved their value.

But waiting runs the risk of allowing competitors to blaze ahead, and is making it difficult to catch up.

Moving forward

Still, many marketers are plowing ahead, and those that partner with an identity resolution provider have an advantage.  According to Forrester, “firms working with an identity resolution partner are over twice as likely to have a more consumer-centric marketing approach.” They describe themselves and their marketing programs as “integrated” at a rate of two-and-a-half times more than firms not working with an identity provider.

This means that implementing people-based marketing is an organizational shift as much as it is a technology shift.

Working with an identity resolution provider gives these firms an advantage in integrating their marketing across existing channels and adding in new channels as they emerge.

This makes sense as identity resolution providers enable marketers to tie touchpoints back to consumers and get a lot closer to building an omnichannel view of them.

Is it time for you to get going?

Overall, Forrester’s survey is clear: investing in the technology behind identity resolution is key to unlocking integrated, people-based marketing.

Starting with premium publishers and then moving to display is the most obvious path, but there are so many other channels to integrate beyond that. The exact path doesn’t matter—the key is just starting somewhere.