By Jeff Keenan, SVP International, Co-Founder at LeadsRx, helping customers improve revenue through data/analytics and promote a customer-centric attitude.
People + Data = Better. It’s a not-so-new principle my team and I are applying at LeadsRx, the company I co-founded in 2015. We’ve always emphasized human involvement — be it through interaction with our data analysts or the marketing professionals we work with — as a benefit to using marketing analytics to improve performance.
But now we are overtly stating the “People + Data = Better” approach. It’s more important than ever for today’s marketers working hard to blaze new trails — but they shouldn’t do it on their own. Data is vital to increasing marketing performance, but combining that data with human experience is where the wheat is separated from the chaff.
Modern marketing analytics requires culling insights from data, applying real-world human experiences to strengthen those empirical insights and then acting on those insights to adjust marketing campaigns. Learning which channels are working — and which are not — through impartial data and insights is gold for marketers.
My team and I recently worked with a Pittsburgh-based multimedia company with radio outlets in both Pittsburgh and Kansas City. The company’s sales team used analytics to help boost the fortunes of a power equipment dealer, an auto dealership group, a pizza joint and a law office, among others.
I enjoy seeing the triumphs of our customers, who in turn are helping their clients achieve success. The owners of the Pittsburgh-area power equipment dealer said 2020 was the company’s best sales year yet — in spite of and, ironically, due to the pandemic. People needed equipment to complete projects around their homes they had neglected because they hadn’t had the time to do them. The pandemic provided the time. The dealer provided the implements and power equipment. Radio ads provided the awareness. It doesn’t get any more humanly connected than that.
From a data perspective, the power equipment dealer, with the help of its radio partner and marketing analytics, was able to define which length of ads, at which times and featuring which content, performed the best. Adjustments were made in real time. Everyone was happy, including homeowners, the equipment dealer and the radio station.
The other key to modern marketing analytics is doing so in a privacy-first manner. While marketers were given a slight reprieve when Google delayed third-party cookie restrictions on its Chrome browser until late 2023, today’s savvy marketers should already be collecting first-party data on consumers.
“Collecting data on customers” sounds nefarious, but many consumers will be the first to say that if the data being collected improves their experience interacting with a brand or company they already trust, then go for it. No one wants to return to a website they have interacted with or purchased from to find they must re-enter all of their previously provided profile information and/or discover their shopping history is blank.
Imagine a customer jumping on a pet store website to reorder dog food they’ve ordered before, and the site doesn’t recognize who they are. Instead, they must re-enter their credit card information, email, address, etc. Sticking with this example, the customer provided personal information directly to the pet store website. That is first-party data, provided by its customers.
That first-party world is where savvy marketers already operate, but it’s where all marketers will have to operate when third-party cookies meet their maker. Third-party cookies or data is what a brand or company receives from a vendor that provides a list of potential customers obtained indirectly, and for a price.
Personally, I prefer — and encourage — marketers to use a privacy-first, first-party approach then use that data and insights, with a dash of human experience added, to do marketing better.