The Future of Data-Driven Marketing: We’re In It

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We often speak about the agency of the future, but it’s already here and it’s constantly evolving to provide a wide range of data-driven marketing services for clients and brands. The new face of data-driven marketing is the agency holding company, evolved to bring together people-based media, creative and measurement services underpinned by a unified data layer foundation that allows brands to engage their customers with relevance.

The marketing partner of now empowers data-driven marketing in three acute stages:

The first stage is getting a brand’s data foundation right – bringing together siloed data across both offline and digital channels, normalizing that data and ensuring the data is clean, with no duplicates in any one data set. This unified data layer can then be enhanced with up to thousands of data elements such as TV exposure data, behavioral, attitudinal, cultural, demographic and psychographic data to create a robust view of a brand’s high-value audiences, fueling better engagement with existing customers and as a basis to find new audiences that look like your best customers. This stage is where a company like Acxiom comes in, unifying, cleansing and enhancing data for optimal audience activation and engagement – with a closed-loop approach to analyze campaign results and optimize future campaigns.

The second stage is engaging these foundational high-value, addressable audiences through data-driven media planning and buying. When a media buy is planned and activated from a unified data foundation, media performance and engagement are improved. This is where the power of combining Acxiom and IPG comes to life and showcases the new data-driven partner paradigm. Agencies within IPG can take this high-value audience, enriched first-party data set and use it to target consumers directly with a media buy across digital channels and technologies.

The third stage is applying a data-driven approach to people-based creative. The foundational data set from the first stage combined with the media buy savvy from the second stage allows marketers to develop creative campaigns tailored specifically to that high-value audience profile, thus allowing for more relevant marketing and engagement for brands across the board. The foundational data layer Acxiom provides in this equation allows clients and marketers to better connect with creative tailored to the unique audience.

It’s revolutionary thinking, but evolutionary in practice. Yes, this is the future, and the future is happening now.

In truth, marketing data is an asset that brings real value to consumers’ everyday lives. It helps brands understand customers and makes marketing more relevant, consistent and effective. Data-driven marketing helps businesses reduce wasteful ad spending and helps fund free or low-cost consumer products on the internet, including free search, email and social media platforms as well as customized content that provide real value to the consumer day to day.

At IPG, this strategic shift to data-driven marketing is possible due to the acquisition of Acxiom last year. While advertisers strive to communicate better with their customers, the vast majority of companies are still struggling with siloed and fragmented data. This means advertisers are unable to rely on a meaningful data set that is integrated and coordinated for its customer base.

IPG and Acxiom are also an ideal combination for marketers looking to make immediate improvements in their data-driven marketing due to both companies’ “open” approach. At IPG, “open” means combining resources across their vast network of 90+ agencies as needed to meet a brand’s marketing and advertising needs. At Acxiom, “open” means we can work with the data, tools and technologies that already exist at a brand, and we can connect those fragmented platforms, partners, applications and channels to build a unified marketing ecosystem to power better marketing. This is an “open garden” – a blueprint for a marketing and advertising ecosystem that’s connected at the data layer, enabling people-based marketing to a brand’s high-value audiences through the right channels, with an optimized media buy and targeted creative.

While the three stages of data-driven marketing and the open approach to marketing is vital in today’s industry landscape, consumers demand that businesses treat their data responsibly and transparently. They rightfully want control of their data, but they also expect continuous innovation, service and progress. At Acxiom, we’re proud to be the industry leader in ethical data sourcing and use, as well as ensuring all data use for clients is privacy legislation compliant – be it General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the soon-to-be-enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Getting the data right, day in and day out, is no small feat – and it grows increasingly difficult as the expectations of customers and regulators expand. But getting the data right is foundational to data-driven marketing, and it’s the future of the marketing and advertising industry. Acxiom gets the data right and it does so in an ethical manner. With Acxiom providing the unified data foundation, IPG offers an end-to-end, data-driven marketing solution that powers better audience insights to drive more targeted creative and optimized media buys. This produces impactful marketing to consumers around the world. This is the future of data-driven marketing. This is the agency of now.

Dennis Self

CEO at Acxiom

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