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Why marketers should focus on foundational tools like measurement and first-party data

Author: Lindy Porter

When it comes to  big data and complex marketing tools, it's easy to get lost in all the bells and whistles. But at the end of the day, marketers should always focus on the basics: measurement and good data – specifically, first-party data. In fact, 91% of global marketers say direct access to customer data is a critical component of competitive advantage. Whether you're just starting out or refining an existing strategy, getting familiar with the right measurement and data tools is essential to improving your marketing ROI and boosting your success. Here's why these foundational tools are so important.

The importance of measurement in marketing

It's a century-old saying in marketing: you can't manage what you don't measure. With revenue hovering at the forefront of C-level minds, many marketers rely solely on ROI when measuring the success or failure of their campaigns. But while ROI is an essential part of measurement, it doesn't tell the entire story. ROI tells you what happened, not why it happened or how to avoid similar results in the future. To gain a better understanding of their marketing efforts, marketers need to measure more than ROI. They need to measure customer feedback, engagement and behavior, and interactions with content and ads. By taking a closer look at critical data points related to marketing success, they can measure marketing performance more accurately and make informed decisions about campaign optimization to improve ROI and other results.

In short, if you don’t measure your marketing efforts effectively, you risk missing out on truly understanding your audience’s behavior and preferences. Measurement is key for getting the most out of any marketing campaign--from anticipating results to drafting better strategies going forward. Even if ROI is top priority from an organizational standpoint, there are multiple elements of a campaign that combine to deliver it. Each must be analyzed and understood for marketers to generate meaningful insight from their measurement efforts.

How first-party data can help marketers succeed

First-party data, i.e., data collected first-hand from customer interactions, is an invaluable asset for marketers. It allows companies to develop completely personalized strategies tailored to customer wants and needs. With first-party data, marketers can create hyper-relevant content that resonates with their core audience. They can also use customer profiles generated by a first-party Customer Data Platform (CDP) to personalize their campaigns in real-time and make sure potential buyers receive the best possible experience.

First-party data helps marketers better understand how customers interact with their product or service, as well as their campaign assets, allowing them to spot trends and craft more effective marketing strategies. It's no wonder first-party data is an indispensable tool for successful marketers! From audience segmentation to paid ads optimization, first-party data offers endless possibilities for crafting creative campaigns that drive customer loyalty and increase profitability. With first-party data at your disposal, you'll have the power to target customers more precisely and bring your marketing strategy into a whole new era of success.

The benefits of using both measurement and first-party data

It's no secret that marketing measurement isn't always a precise science. That's why so many marketers now use measurement data from multiple sources as part of an overarching strategy. Salesforce’s 8th annual State of Marketing report found that marketers are using 50% more customer data sources this year than last and expect that number to increase another 20% in 2023. Combining measurement data with first-party data can give companies a powerful combo: accurate measurement for forecasting, plus highly specific insights about customers for targeting and segmentation.

Using measurement data helps companies understand their campaign performance within the overall marketplace and track results against key performance metrics. Meanwhile, the use of first-party data provides a deeper understanding of individuals customers and how they engage with each brand's product or service. Combining the two elevates measurement of what happened to the next level – why and how it happened, so marketers gain contextual understanding of what interactions and behaviors contributed to the results.

Capturing first-party data is best done with a CDP, which can also be used as the central source of truth for customer data. For example, with typical last-click measurement, you might see that campaign A received 1200 clicks and 300 conversions, providing a 25% conversion rate. But with the insight from a first-party CDP you could find that an additional 100 visitors also converted, however they browsed the site and received a promotional email before doing so, which was lost in the straight-line conversion metrics. This additional insight would enable you to truly optimize your campaign by shifting funds to the most effective channels. You might also discover that only half of your ads were actually seen by visitors – completely transforming the conversion metric (doubling it to be exact), and indicating you have a visibility issue.

One client was able to drastically improve marketing efficiency and ROI by expanding from a last-click approach to contextual one, achieving visibility into the entire customer journey. By understanding how customers convert, where they started, and what they did in between, they were able to strategically reallocate advertising spend – resulting in a 10% reduction in ad spend while increasing overall conversions 5%.

The result of combining traditional measurement with first-party data is a more comprehensive view of customer behavior, giving marketers the insight they need to tailor their campaigns and audiences to specific behaviors and make better decisions based on reliable evidence. Ultimately, leveraging measurement and first-party data in tandem provides marketers with the actionable insight needed to stay ahead in today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape and build successful relationships with customers.

Why your marketing strategy should focus on foundational tools like measurement and first-party data

To drive ROI from your marketing efforts, you need the right set of tools to measure your results. Not only can these tools help you analyze ROI and make better data-driven decisions on ad spend, they can also provide deeper insights into your target audience, giving you an edge over the competition. When in search of a suitable platform, consider features such as user insight, analytics, and ROI tracking. User insight helps you to understand individual customer needs and behavior while analytics give you access to important metrics such as cost per lead, average order value, and average website visit duration. ROI tracking is invaluable for measuring how effective your campaigns are – just ensure it’s being fed with contextual, first-party data. Armed with accurate customer insights and powerful analytics, you'll be able to confidently implement smarter strategies that deliver impressive marketing results and improve ROI.

The importance of always testing and adjusting your marketing campaigns

There's no such thing as "set it and forget it" in marketing. A marketing strategy is only as effective as it is nimble - flexible enough to adjust and improve on the fly. A recent survey by IAB found that 35% of ad buyers reported improving media efficiency as their top goal for 2023. Smart marketers!

To truly maximize the success of your campaigns, you must  measure and monitor performance in real-time to assess where areas of opportunity are. This is exactly why marketing teams should leverage a CDP. CDPs provide a 360 degree view of the customer, using data captured from all marketing channels, enabling marketers to make thoughtful decisions using timely and informed insights based on comprehensive customer identity. With a CDP in your marketing toolkit, you can continuously test and refine your strategies; optimize promotions to reach customers in the right place at the right time, and spend more time fine-tuning campaigns rather than starting from scratch every time. By testing, tracking, monitoring, and adjusting campaigns through the lens of customer data, marketing teams can ensure they’re making decisions that drive impactful results. So, if you want your marketing strategy to be successful, make sure you’re always testing and adjusting, and leverage real-time data from a first-party CDP wherever possible!

With strategy ever changing, it pays to have an arsenal of reliable marketing tools at your disposal. These 'foundational marketing tools' are the cornerstone of marketing success, allowing you to understand exactly what works and what doesn't. Accurate measurement is key; the ability to identify which tactics create the most conversions or click-through-rates is essential in formulating a successful marketing strategy. To do this, you need reliable first-party data captured by a comprehensive CDP. Effective measurement needs data-driven insights to provide true value from your marketing investments - don’t overlook the power of data! Leveraging these foundational marketing tools will help ensure your marketing initiatives drive both short-term successes and long-term trends.

First-party data is more important than ever for understanding your customers so you can market to them in a way that resonates. And with the help of a CDP, managing all this valuable data is easier than ever before. If you're not already using first-party data and contextual measurement tools in your marketing strategy, now's the time to start. The benefits are clear: improved customer understanding, increased efficiency, and boosted ROI. What are you waiting for?