The success of your marketing and engagement campaigns depend heavily on how well you’re able to connect with your audience.

Now, more than ever, it’s important for brands to know their customers. Segmentation and buyer personas are two of the most popular ways to achieve this. While effective in a general sense, they only address the needs of the consumer group—not the individual.

For this reason, many successful companies have adopted balanced marketing campaigns that use personalization to look beyond the big picture, allowing them to gain deeper insight into customers’ individual identities.

But in order to do that, they first need an effective and efficient way to collect and compile data. That’s where data management platforms come in.

What is a DMP?

Also known as DMPs, Data Management Platforms are designed to aggregate, analyze, and optimize data. Useful for marketing, CX, and customer service campaigns, a reliable data management platform can help brands make informed real-time decisions regarding how to better connect with the consumer.

In the simplest terms, DMPs access data warehouses that contain first, second, and third-party data to build out digital marketing, retargeting, and omnichannel marketing campaigns. Built to help brands more effectively target audience segments (versus individuals), the use cases for a solid DMP are many and varied.

Using data (even 3rd party data) to build your marketing campaign

More specifically, DMPs can help brands optimize their overall business strategies. This might mean:

  • Developing actionable real-time marketing strategies based on data collected from customer touch-points and purchasing history.
  • Using DMPs to come up with razor-sharp targeted advertisements that always reach a intended audience.
  • Building high-quality audience segments that make it easier to assess consumer behavior and accurately assess the needs and expectations of the customer.

But what about those times when segmentation and buyer personas aren’t enough? After all, customers want personalization from brands now more than ever, but not every DMP can offer them the individualized experience they’re looking for.

This is why it’s important to look for a platform that offers customer identity solutions so you can use your audience data in a way that cultivates meaningful experiences for your audience.

Why most data management platforms aren’t working for you

One of the most common problems brands face when rolling out a data management platform for the first time is lack of cohesion. Data is often confined to various silos rather than being distributed across the whole marketing stack.

For example, information collected through social media campaigns isn’t aggregated with data from your CX campaign or email communications. So when it comes time to optimize your marketing and customer engagement strategy, you’re left with one of two options:

  1. Using incomplete data
  2. Manually going through siloed data and compiling it into a single repository

Naturally, the second option seems like the better solution. After all, who wants to base their business strategy on incomplete information?

However, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. Manually processing data files from different silos takes a long time (sometimes as long as days), and it also opens you up to human error–resulting in data loss or delayed response time.

A better way to manage data across platforms

Thanks to Signal, you don’t have to choose between options one and two anymore. There’s a third, more effective option to managing data: Signal’s Identity Platform.

On the surface, this data management platform operates the same as its competitors. You can use Signal to:

  • Collect and store valuable customer data—both online and offline
  • Learn more about different the types of consumers interested in your products
  • Optimize marketing and CX campaigns with the help of data collected

But what makes Signal stand out from DMP solutions is its ability to create a holistic view of the customer. Instead of keeping information locked away in silos, Signal distributes your complete data across platforms, making it possible for you to have a complete understanding of your customer base at all times.

Understanding the person, not the segment

In today’s market, few things are as important as the data-driven approach. Brands rely on a collection of information to help them optimize every facet of their business. And when it comes to being data-driven, few solutions are as effective as the data management platform.

But that doesn’t mean customers can be reduced to data and lumped into broad categories. People are complicated and, at times, impulsive. Their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings can’t be accurately represented by segments and buyer personas. That’s why it’s important to assesses customers starting with the most human aspect of all—their identities.

This ongoing stream of information is then used to build individual profiles rather than segments.

In other words, customers are responsible for their own actions, not the actions of people who happen to be part of the same demographic.

Excellent data means excellent customer experiences

There are three types of data you can use when building customer profiles and segments:

  1. First-party data. This is data that you’ve collected directly from the customer, usually through surveys, feedback, engagement, and other popular touch points.
  2. Second-party data. Essentially, this is someone else’s first-party data that has been passed along to you. You weren’t involved in collecting any of the data, but the person you got the data from was.
  3. Third-party data. Data from aggregators which has been collected from various websites and platforms.

As you can imagine, first-party data is the highest quality data, as it’s the least likely to be irrelevant and inaccurate. Still, any type of data is better than no data, right? Not necessarily.

A European study found that nearly two-thirds of consumers are fed up with brands sending them irrelevant information. What’s more, the study also found that people are actually more receptive to companies that personalize their communication. A whopping 87% of millennials admitted that they’re more likely to shop with brands that send personalized offers.

So why is this important?

Second and third-party data are more likely to be flawed, outdated, or completely wrong. Relying on inaccurate data increases your chances of spamming customers with irrelevant or redundant information. In today’s data-first landscape, marketing campaigns are only as good as the information that drives them. At Signal, we understand this and prioritize the use of first-party data.

Still not sold on the importance of getting data directly from its source? Take a look at these first-party data statistics:

  • Nearly three-quarters of marketers admit that first-party data gives better insight into customers than second and third-party data.
  • 64% of marketers believe first-party data give the highest boost in customer lifetime value.
  • 4 in every 5 marketers plan on integrating more first-party data into their new and existing campaigns.

Data management platform with a new direction

Brands have been using data management platforms to predict consumer behavior for some time now by tracking cookies relying on third-party data.

The results? Mediocre, at best. Cookies expire and third-party data is far from reliable.

As it stands right now, the data is one of the most important tools in the digital marketer’s arsenal. With good quality information, one can create laser-targeted advertisements that speak directly to the needs of the customer. But without good data, you run the risk of spamming supporters with useless information and putting them off as a result.

Just think how successful big-name companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify have been thanks to the use of first-party data. Instead of flooding you with offers or recommendations based solely on your assigned segment, these titans of eCommerce use your own purchasing (or viewing/listening) history to help them determine your interests. In other words, they’re actually looking at what you like and use that information to create a more personalized experience.

Unlike DMPs, Signal works by shifting the focus back to the individual. This means brands have the power to leverage insightful, high-quality data that can enrich marketing campaigns and improve customer engagement. As a result, the ownership of big data is back in the hands of the marketers, not second and third-party companies.

Imagine offering the same type of individualization at Amazon or Netflix. Sounds impossible, right? Not any more.