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2022 Predictions: Data strategy and privacy

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2022 Predictions: Data strategy and privacy

In the year ahead, successful marketers will be using data to initiate more communications while respecting consumers’ privacy. In many cases, one of the most important messages the brand will be communicating is how they are honoring a commitment to privacy.

If a message is of real value to a consumer, however, it will be easy to tell based on the actions that follow from it. In 2022, the deep analytical dive will occur before those messages go out. These data insights will embolden the marketers who wield them, fueling a larger number of precise communications, many of them automated.

Proactive approach

In the new year, it won’t be a question of whether to communicate manually with customers one at a time, or to put your marketing efforts on autopilot. Instead, automation will be a must, and it will be driven by data analytics and AI.

“2022 will require brands to use AI and analytics to acquire insights and learn more about their customers before they even reach out,” said Andy Traba, Director of Product Marketing for cloud-based experience platform NICE CXone. 

Marketers will have to do their homework ahead of time (because, of course, if they don’t, their competitors will). They should be analyzing the data points that tell them what service or product their customer might be looking for and what the preferred channel is to reach out to them.

“[This] will be the driving force for brands to better control the conversation – and have more meaningful interactions outright,” said Traba. “And, in order to build trust, appreciation and loyalty, brands must move away from ‘spamming’ and use more proactive communication to add value. This will mean using automated systems like smart, proactive AI-driven conversational chatbots to guide users through searches and early troubleshooting.”

Team adjustments

This doesn’t mean that communications with customers will be completely automated. Instead, it will be more important than ever to have service reps and other brand personnel at the ready and skilled in using new CX software.

“Businesses understand the value of a positive customer experience in order to maintain brand loyalty,” said Traba. “Brands will tap into AI and analytics to guide employees during interactions and recommend next-best actions, as well as to automate the more basic tasks so agents can focus on providing better, more empathetic experiences. Brands will invest more in training for front line employees, using AI and analytics to ensure they are well-prepared to resolve even the most complex queries.”

Just as the pandemic became a global force fundamentally changing how customers interact digitally with brands, global forces are also affecting workers at all levels in the org.

“With the pandemic upending labor market dynamics leading Americans to early retirements, career changes and what’s currently known as ‘The Great Resignation,’ brands must evolve in order to hold onto workers in the face of an acute labor shortage,” said Traba.

Using data in real time

In assembling a team of front line customer service professionals and sales staff, brands don’t have to be flying blind. Data on staff interactions with customers, online or in-store, is an important layer that helps deliver better CX and customer messaging. 

And it’ll be in real-time, according to George Shaw, CEO and Founder of Pathr.ai, an AI-powered platform that provides insights into human behavior in physical spaces.

“Real-time human behavior analytics will help retailers achieve higher in-store sales through improved employee training,” Shaw said. “Real-time human behavior analytics in physical locations allows companies to address if staff is interacting effectively with customers. This could include anything from ensuring customers are being helped in a timely manner to making sure the proper number of cash registers are open and employees are focusing their efforts on high-margin items.”

Prioritizing first-party data

Google’s announced deprecation of third-party cookies rocked the boat enough in 2021 that marketers were left scrambling for alternative data sources to keep their future campaigns afloat.

“In 2022, the marketers who depend on third-party data, from cookies and other sources, will need to consider and prepare for the inevitable ‘death of the cookie,’” said Tracey Ryan O’Connor, Group Vice President at personalization technology company Qubit, which was recently acquired by AI-powered experience platform Coveo. “The retailers who prioritize first-party data sources from customer journey data, CRM platforms, POS systems, retail apps, affiliate marketing programs, etc. will be well-positioned. For the brands that use a mix of first-party and third-party data, they will face a myriad of challenges as they lose access to cookie data.”

Marketers will also find that “renting” data in expensive advertising environments like Facebook is more costly than building your own first-party customer data resources, according to Michael Osborne, President of messaging and notification engine Wunderkind.

“Take advantage of your brand’s own consumer data before turning to rented data (Google, FB Ads, etc), as this can be a more cost-effective and bespoke solution,” said Osborne. “Analyzing your own customers’ shopping habits and implementing it towards a greater purpose is the solution.”

More loyalty

One benefit of a more regulated exchange of data between consumers and marketers is that consumers feel like they will be in more control of their data. This, in turn, might lead to more confidence in sharing data with trusted brands. 2022 will be a pivotal year in this evolution.

“Loyalty programs will be in the 2022 spotlight,” said Nikki Baird, Vice President of Retail Innovation at retail technology provider Aptos. “This new take on loyalty won’t be the pay-for-data schemes of old. A term that we’ll hear more and more is ‘zero-party data.’ This is the information that consumers intentionally share with a retailer.” 

She added, “Armed with this insight into shoppers’ preferences, purchase intentions, and context, optimally, a retailer can deliver a better and more personalized experience. But retailers need to be mindful – when a shopper freely gives you their information, they expect you to put it to good use and provide value in return. 

‘Clean rooms’ and publisher data

Robust loyalty programs of the future will help marketers grow value from existing customers. To acquire new customers, the advertising ecosphere will have to be more data-driven than ever because of rising consumer expectations for relevant ads.

So, in 2022 this balancing act between harder-to-come-by data and relevant ad experiences will become more challenging, and the full value of data collaborations will manifest.

“As we face a cookie-less future, clean rooms will emerge as the answer to providing more advanced analysis around attribution and measurement,” said Libby Morgan, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer for IAB. “Clean rooms are where the walled gardens are able to share aggregated data with advertisers while still adhering to privacy laws and data restrictions. Whether used for transactional audience matching and segment building or for advancements in how data is shared, clean room solutions will continue to grow and mature as true cross-platform opportunities associated with the promise of ‘right ad at the right time’ continue to evolve.”

“One of the most promising solutions for a cookie-less future lies in publisher first-party data, and in 2022 I believe we will see an increase in its value to buyers,” said Ashley Wheeler, Vice President, Seller Accounts for independent SSP Magnite. “While the true value in publisher first-party data as a replacement to the third-party cookie lies in its ability to scale to the open marketplace, in the near term, I think buyers will start to increase their reliance on publisher first-party data and publishers will lean into first-party data as a key point of differentiation to drive revenue from the open marketplace into private marketplaces.”

“The future of data collaboration will rely on secure, data matching services that can allow agnostic collaboration and not require data to be moved,” said Kristen Williams, Magnite’s Senior Vice President, Strategy Partnerships. “There won’t be one solution that will provide the answers to all of the industry’s identity needs, so tools will need to be able to reach across service providers.”

Proactive accountability

The confidence that successful marketers take into their new data-backed communications with customers in 2022 will give them an edge against competitors. Being proactive about consumer privacy and data transparency will also help establish a trusting relationship that can only add to the marketers’ swagger.

“With all the news about protecting, and being transparent about consumer privacy, it only makes sense for consumers to want more clarity on how their data is being used,” said Shubham A. Mishra, CEO and Co-Founder of Pyxis One, a codeless AI infrastructure company. “More information on what consumers are saying ‘Yes’ to when they click on the ‘I Agree’ button of privacy policies is a huge potential story.”

Just as marketers bring more data into the fold for consumer messaging and staff support, they should expand the conversation around privacy. The more they know about how the customer feels on these issues, the more trust and loyalty they can earn in the coming year.

Read next: 2022 Predictions: Customer Experience & Digital Experience

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.


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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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