Finding the Right Path for Your Brand in the Forest of Data

Making Sense of It All

Every successful brand selling to consumers has or is on their way to implementing a comprehensive customer data platform. This is critical in engaging, understanding, personalizing, and marketing to a brand’s existing audience. It helps brands avoid risks, introduce new products, develop new product campaign strategies, and roll out advertising and marketing programs. 

These customer data platforms consist of 1st party data. Companies usually rely on 1st party data because it’s their own data that they have access to, especially since the end of tracking cookies. The 1st party data comes from actions taken on the brand’s app or website, the brand’s own social media account, and customer surveys/feedback. This data reflects their existing audience and their existing customers. 

The key benefit of using a customer data platform is that it groups all available customer data in one place, where data-driven analysts, marketers, sales reps, and client-facing team members can work more effectively by easily accessing data to tell their stories and inform their decisions. 

But this is only part of the picture. Brands need to see the forest for the trees!

To avoid stagnating, bias, and losing out to competitors, brands need insights from the entire picture, not just their share. The broader wealth of consumer data makes benchmarking possible, sparks new ideas and approaches for brands to grow and enhance their competitive position. 

Third party data is any data that’s collected by an entity or business that doesn’t have any direct link to a visitor or customer that’s driven by the brand itself or collected by the brand’s own activity. 1st party data is almost universally seen as more useful because third-party data can also be collected by your competitors and isn’t data that is directly from your customers. However, viewing them in isolation is a mistake. Without 3rd party data, brands can’t benchmark or compare to competitors, learn from the market or identify opportunities outside their existing 1st party data to expound their audience, their market. They also miss out on seeing whether they are in line with trending and fatiguing influences in the market.  

How We Use Data

At Junction AI, we started working with 1st party data, focused on optimization within your existing audience. As our clients’ challenges grew, we knew we needed to ensure our clients had the full picture. For example, if a brand’s campaigns are to be analyzed for diversity, just using your own existing audience 1st party data may not help, but comparing your brand to what’s happening in the general market or competitors can reveal new insights and counter internal biases that have existed or are extrapolated – made worse – by not widening the scope of the data.

Our AI platform provides value to our clients because we provide data-driven insights that are a hybrid of both 1st and 3rd parties. When a brand connects its 1st party audience data to our platform, we can unlock hidden insights from that 1st party data. These insights are needed for driving better decisions regarding strategies and tactics for the existing audience and providing a context for strategies for expanding the audience. Our 3rd party data capability provides the benchmark to understand performance, competitors, and the market. Without this market data, a brand cannot see the forest for the trees. 

For example, if a brand needs analysis of their product opportunity in a major marketplace like Amazon.com, the brand needs to know how they compare to competitors. These insights inform best practices, missed opportunities, and competitive advantages. Taking advantage of these insights, a brand can expand their audience and critically harness the intelligence to improve their relationship and bond with their existing audience too. This may be critical in ensuring an existing customer does not churn to a competitor or the audience who has not yet taken a conversion step will, considering the learnings from the benchmark insights.

Understanding how to align a 1st party data and 3rd party data strategy is critical to success. No brand is an island, and audiences are fluid. What’s more clear than ever is that if your brand is not learning from both sources, competitors will benefit or are already gaining an advantage.

Our Advice?

  1. Analytics directors and teams need to leverage tools and platforms that can curate the right data and automate time-consuming and common tasks of data analytics/data science needs. There is simply not enough time or resources to manually collect, crunch, model, and report, given the market’s pace and the volume of competitor or benchmark data.
  2. Think outside the box, find 3rd party data sources that can be mined for clues as to the next market, the next audience, and understand how your 1st party data insights align to show your opportunity to win that new audience.
  3. Implement a rigorous benchmarking program so you are always collecting and analyzing best practices, competitor movement, and energizing and fatiguing trends, and make sure it is automated as no one has time to manually monitor all the constantly changing data in the market.

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