People-Based Marketing: 5 Ways to Win

enginegroupAmong digital marketers, ‘people-based marketing’ has become something of a buzz term in recent years, with the likes of Twitter and Facebook developing a number of custom audience solutions for brands, and platforms such as LiveRamp collaborating with a broad range of agencies and brands to leverage customer data for hyper-targeted campaigns.

This growing trend has recently hit the marketing mainstream. But what exactly is it?

In short, people-based marketing refers to strategies that match customer data (such as a phone number or email address) to an individual online (via a persistent ID) in order to recognize and target that individual with tailored communications across multiple devices.

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With industry leaders such as Spotify’s Danielle Lee recently declaring it the ‘gold standard’ of marketing it’s imperative that CMOs start testing and implanting people-based strategies to avoid getting left behind. However, with great opportunity comes great risk. Data breaches are regularly reported in the media and with the Cambridge Analytica scandal still fresh in recent memory, consumers are increasingly questioning the use of their personal data for marketing

Here are 5 ways you can ensure your people-based marketing campaigns are ethically sound and commercially successful:

Invest in the right team and resources

It takes many different teams to make a people-based marketing campaign a success. Alongside your digital media planning and buying partners, you’ll need to work with trusted and reliable media partners (DSPs, Social platforms), an accredited anonymization partner or also known as “identity management platform” and consult experts in data operations and security, as well as privacy and compliance. Trust and frequent communication between all involved is incredibly important. When dealing with multiple partners, establish a core account team and a swap cell numbers with your day-to-day contacts to ensure you can always reach them, whatever the hour.

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Ask questions and interrogate daily  

Before any data is shared, conduct a data intake and goal setting session (or two or three!) with your teams. Use this time to ask the right questions and get as smart as you can about the offline and online data you’re dealing with. What do you hope to learn from the exercise? What is the source and origin of the data? When was it sourced? Who has verified it? What types of fields live within the data file? How many records are in the file? Ask as many questions as you can, then ask a few more. Throughout the campaign, return to your goals and interrogate them. Remember what you set out to achieve, and make sure the data is delivering against these objectives. If it isn’t, adapt your strategy accordingly.

Strike ‘send’ from your vocabulary

Never send data files over email. Preferably, have your data operations and security team set up an SFTP for any file exchanges and if a mistake occurs, notify them immediately so that they can remove the file(s) permanently from your device, email and server, and document the process. Not only do you have an ethical obligation to your customers to handle their data securely, you risk undermining the entire campaign by breaking the law. Compliance is key.

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Never assume

Make sure you understand what your organization or your clients are looking to learn or gain from people-based marketing at the beginning, middle and end of the campaign and keep your stakeholders informed at every stage. By setting a learning agenda upfront, you’ll be able to test and learn from your hypothesis at each stage of the process. Know the limits of your media and ad tech partners and ask tons of questions when choosing who to work with on a campaign. Protecting consumer privacy should be your utmost priority—make sure it’s theirs too!

Take the plunge.

Be brave and take the plunge! Not only will people-based marketing help you learn a huge amount about your customers and prospects, you’ll also shine a spotlight on the success of your broader marketing efforts within your organization, and ultimately, drive results and revenue for your business.

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