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Why it’s time to take your hand out of the cookie jar

Only a third of marketers are satisfied with their digital marketing measurement approach.

It’s 2019. Traditional metrics such as impressions or clicks look good on paper but don’t mean what they used to. The only metric that truly matters is conversions, and it looks like two-thirds of marketers have woken up to this problem.

The true test of a modern marketing department’s ability to generate and measure results is its ability to evolve into a customer-first team that nurtures users and drives sales.

This is where people-based measurement enters the picture.

What is people-based measurement?

Right person. Right place. Right time. That’s people-based marketing. It’s the act of converting a company’s entire marketing ethos from a channel-based approach to a fine-tuned, personalised machine that takes into account the entire customer journey.

What does that look like? Each customer is their own demographic. Persistent user IDs enable marketers to track someone across every touch point, regardless of device or platform. Content, advertising, sales calls – they’re all customised based on the user’s history.

The benefits of people-based measurement

Knowledge is power, and knowledge is what businesses can gain from using a people-first approach to marketing.

When an organisation can track individual customers from awareness through to conversion – again, across devices and platforms – they can identify the why of a customer’s journey. Why did they drop out at this point? Why did they buy or not buy? Why did they select this item over another?

Even more importantly, people-based marketing allows organisations to measure results constantly, often in real time. If one message isn’t resonating with the right audience in the right place, it can be quickly identified and replaced. Or if one part of the funnel is slowing people down, it can be optimised, simplified, or perhaps removed entirely.

So people-based marketing replaces cookies?

Cookies still play a role in people-based marketing. Tracking users with cookies is not a bad thing – the issue is that users have to be tracked across devices and platforms, meaning single-channel cookies may not be sophisticated enough.

Indeed, a recent Equifax study titled “The Cookie Crumbles” found that for every one user in a company’s pipeline, there are three separate cookies. If one of these cookies yields a conversion, the other two that were involved are not properly credited – this lost data is a lost opportunity.

What companies need to succeed in a people-based marketing world is twofold:

  1. The right team: Consider a modern marketing team that isn’t siloed into groups of people specialising in particular tools or channels. Rather, this team’s members specialise in segments of the customer journey. They have mastered raising brand awareness, or creating nurture funnels, gaining conversions, building loyalty, etc. In terms of tools/channels, they are trained and competent in whatever is required for their stage of the journey. Additionally, they make full use of platform-agnostic partner companies to fill vital gaps in expertise and technology, so they can deploy a more advanced, modern customer experience.
  2. The right technology: Businesses will have to invest in new, integrated technology in order to connect all their customer touch points without amassing a jarful of independent cookies. Whether this is a single, highly advanced CRM or a legion of third-party apps joined by a central database will depend on the preferences of each company and the availability of such apps. Regardless, independent user IDs must be tracked consistently across devices and platforms, and such information must be quick to analyse so that it can be used to optimise each stage of the journey.

The customer experience of tomorrow is a customer-first experience. Is your marketing department ready?

Darren Kirkland is the managing director at krunch.co, a digital marketing consultancy that takes a multidisciplinary approach to digital transformation, helping brands blend data, tech and content to change the way they engage with their audiences.

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