Marketing data does yet not evolve the way individuals evolve. The inability for marketers to quickly adapt to rapid changes in how their customers behave is undermining the effectiveness of their communications.
How, then, can what is learned about an individual be leveraged into a better experience for the consumer, and a conversion for the marketer? If that question is intriguing or befuddling, then you are ready for a universal profile management system.
Conceptually, a universal profile management system is very simple. It is a marketing database that captures and stores both known customer attributes and anonymous customer behavior in one location for the purpose of easily powering personalized and targeted direct digital marketing communications.
The importance of a universal profile management system is evident for two reasons. First, it lives within the same software platform that is responsible for executing direct digital marketing campaigns over the email, mobile or website channels. The proximity of the data to the content enables dynamic content quickly and easily, regardless of channel, and without the usual slowdowns encountered as data is forced to navigate an increasingly complex enterprise data ecosystem.
Second, the ability to capture and store known and anonymous customer attributes, then build a segment and attach it to content, is unique. For example, a universal profile management system is able to capture and store enterprise customer data, past purchase history, and customer preference and survey feedback directly — or bring it into the system through a secure API.
It is also able to capture behavior from unauthenticated website visits, email and mobile marketing activity, organic or paid search activity, and any online advertising participation. As the data is captured and stored, it is able to immediately be put to effective use.
Beyond Data Capture
Large investments in enterprise data warehouses and business intelligence systems are important and valuable to any marketing organization, but they lack the ability to support real-time online marketing execution.
A universal profile management system serves as a direct digital marketing data mart, capable of supporting real-time, data-driven marketing campaign execution. It is not designed to replace existing database investments, but to deploy alongside existing environments for real-time targeted marketing.
In many ways, a universal profile management system is the missing piece marketers are searching for to achieve effective and efficient customer-centric marketing — and the time is right for marketers to reprioritize their data strategy.
Capturing data is still important, but marketers have more than enough data to improve marketing communications. The objective is no longer simply to get as much data as possible, but to organize it better and put it to better use — the two primary strengths of a universal profile management system.
Existing database investments support linear, traditional online marketing. It is pretty straightforward to pull a list for an email campaign, for example, then leverage that data into a carefully planned out and executed campaign. But most current marketing database ecosystems are not able to, in real-time, adjust and switch up website content according to consumer changes.
Consider an example of using a universal profile management system to power a relevance-based onsite targeting strategy. “Tim” has a profile within the universal profile management system that identifies him as a single male who is a big spender — valuable information that is captured by business intelligence systems. However, unexpectedly, on Tim’s next visit to the website he does a search for baby formula and diapers.
Sophisticated back-end data tools — like the aforementioned enterprise data warehouse — lack the ability to adapt to Tim’s latest profile development in real-time on the website. A universal profile management system can recognize the new search, immediately transform the website experience to accommodate Tim’s newfound needs — before Tim’s next click — and then feed that new data back to the appropriate internal systems.
Regardless of which direct digital marketing channel a campaign is executed in, the closer the data is to the content in the campaigns, the better the campaign will perform. A universal profile management system enables timely content personalization and dramatically improves relevance — two key drivers for campaign success. From a 30,000-foot view, it makes the considerable investments in business intelligence and massive data warehouses even more valuable.
Marketing organizations have tremendous resources and customer insight but often lack the nimble systems necessary to apply customer intelligence in real-time for real results. A universal profile management system enables marketers to achieve real-time message adaptability so they can effectively evolve with their customers and drive measurable results.
Brian Deagan is cofounder and CEO of Knotice, a direct digital marketing solutions company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Knotice is available at the company’s blog.