big-data

Big Data's Big Omission

  |  February 27, 2013   |  Comments

An email-centric big data strategy will help your brand communicate more effectively over the long haul.

I just got back from Phoenix, where I was attending the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. This year's theme was "Big Data and Big Ideas." So I had some big expectations about this conference, and for the most part I wasn't disappointed. I met some great people and participated in some fantastic conversations.

One thing we all learned is that historical data isn't always predictive, especially when it comes to the weather.

It's usually comfortably warm in Phoenix this time of year, so everyone planned for temperatures around 80 degrees, except for the folks from Weather.com who were smart enough to trust their own big data and were prepared for the unseasonably cool climate. Google sponsored a lovely - but lonely - village of cabanas provisioned with ice cold drinks to demonstrate its hot new "Pixel" Chromebook. Adobe sponsored a dinner under the stars that was so cold the dinner was actually held under heat lamps. For the first time in the recorded history of trade shows, everyone actually wore the fleece that was given out as swag at the OpenX party (thanks Tim!).

Since everything was already turned upside down, I thought maybe we could expect to hear something about email at an advertising conference about big data.

Fat chance! It was cold, but hell didn't freeze over in Phoenix this year.

Now don't get me wrong. Randall Rothenberg and the folks at the IAB put on a fantastic conference. But they put out a proverbial buffet and forgot the plates.

How do you have a big data strategy without including email?

If you spend any time building marketing databases, you know that customer identity management is a critical part of your strategy. Customer identity and relationship management is built upon the foundation from three pieces of data: email addresses, postal addresses, and phone numbers. Have all three and keep them up to date and you are golden. Even if you have just one of these you can still succeed in marketing. Phone numbers and email addresses are long-tail identifiers that comprise two of the most reliable primary keys within most companies' databases. Postal addresses form the basis for householding and are the cornerstone of demographic and geographic targeting.

No one can deny that cookies are important in today's web economy, but they are simply not enough. Cookies are not the cornerstone of a long-term customer data strategy. They are the cornerstone of an anonymous web display ad targeting economy and they are dropped, crushed, appended to, bombed, and targeted, but they have not provided you with the unified view of your customer that email, phone, and postal addresses can. Furthermore, now that it looks like Firefox is jumping on Microsoft's "Do Not Track" bandwagon, third-party cookies will be even less reliable.

The IAB has recently sharpened its focus on the concept of "brand," a notion that might otherwise be considered quaint. But we live in a shifting advertising world that is still trying to move past click-through rate (CTR) as its key measure, and this is a wise move. Bravo.

So as long as the IAB is focusing on big ideas like "brand," it should consider another big idea: an email-centric big data strategy will help your brand communicate more effectively over the long haul. Keep buying your cookies, but for best results don't forget the email.

Big Data image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Hendricks

As president of LiveIntent, Dave Hendricks has overall responsibility for revenue, finance, legal, and operations. Prior to joining LiveIntent before its 2009 Series A, Dave was EVP of operations at PulsePoint (then known as Datran Media), where he worked with LiveIntent founder and CEO Matt Keiser and ran Datran's ESP StormPost. Before all that, Dave held senior roles at data management companies InfoUSA and Experian. A member of the founding executive team at ExperianCheetahMail, Dave began his email adventure at Pioneering ESP MessageMedia after running global partnerships for Oracle Corp. Dave was named one of Silicon Alley Insiders Top 100 technologists in 2011 and is active in several IAB Committees including Mobile and Email. Follow him on Twitter @davehendricks.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...
    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...