The Great Debate: Should You Manage Data Activation Yourself?
While the prospect of freedom and control are appealing, self-service data management and activation aren’t for the faint of heart. Among other things, it brings with it an inherent risk that can lead to wasted time and money; these are a few of these reasons I typically don’t recommend it.
The decision to move forward with a self-service platform (SSP) ultimately comes to down to a handful of key considerations. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether you’re ready to go the self-service route.
You have persistent connectivity with your customers.
In order to effectively implement an SSP, you need to have a persistent connection with your customers. Rich, cross-channel data that gives you a 360-view of individuals is the goal for any marketer wishing to have one-to-one conversations with their customers. The more you know, the greater your opportunities to reach them with relevant messages will be. Persistent connectively ensures that you have enough interaction with them to make engage them on your own.
If you lack that level of connectivity and are unable to connect the dots to get a clear picture of your customers, you can easily focus too much of your efforts on the wrong individuals.
You have the time, money and staff.
An investment in an SSP or similar DIY solution is one of time, money and staff. Most clients we speak with are well aware of the cost considerations; what they don’t think of is the staffing requirements. In addition to the IT team that is needed to implement a platform, a robust analytics team is needed to help make sense of the data.
Attribution is only the start; it gives you a set point in time. Understanding what is happening over a long period of time across all channels is where the true value lies. With the right people, you’ll be able to analyze your customers and set up reactions to key events, ensuring you have efficient communication with customers over time.
The return on marketing investment is in your favor.
The return on marketing investment (ROMI) should always be in your favor when you’re evaluating whether or not to adopt an SSP. ROMI takes into account the cost of media along with the cost of talent and tech integration to provide a true sense of your investment. Every single item attributed to implementing the platform needs to be accounted. Doing so will allow you to determine whether or not what you’re gaining is worthwhile. A word of caution: you can’t simply focus on media costs as your “gain.” The money spent on integration and staffing quickly negates the marginal savings of media cost when you consider platform performance.
Clients that check all three boxes may be quick to move forward with a self-service option, but let me leave you with two additional points to consider: The value of wisdom and volume cannot be overlooked.
Third-party solutions are much more effective because they have gained knowledge over time that self-service options can’t replicate. It’s like having a circle of friends. Adults build a rich circle of friends over the course of their lifetime. Babies start with none.
The second consideration is the amount of data available in a platform. While clients may have a lot of data on their specific customers, do they have the volume and aforementioned persistent connectivity to make it meaningful? Here again, third-party managed solutions are much more effective; they can often provide access to additional data and deeper insights around what drives people that is not available to self-serve users.
Successful brands will conduct a thorough evaluation that factors in all the above points, not only before committing to a self-service solution but at regular intervals during its implementation. Only then will you be able to determine whether you’re truly ready.
Recommended Read: TechBytes with Agatha Rymanowska, SVP, Enterprise Operations, Conversant