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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

It’s Time to Take Control of Your Company’s Data-Driven Future

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By Scott Howe, CEO, LiveRamp

Soon the data economy will simply become the economy. Major enterprises are already reliant on data to reveal business insights, develop new products, and meet the needs of their customers.

However, while connecting supply chains is an obvious win, business leaders are more hesitant to connect data about customers, even within their own walls. Unlocking the value of data related to people can be overwhelming when you consider the complexity of data privacy regulations, concerns over brand safety, and a crowded technology landscape.

In business, adversity often breeds innovation, and pandemic pressures have spurred many companies to move with greater focus and urgency. Those that did are generating better financial outcomes while building competitive advantage.

The moment has arrived when brands, agencies, and publishers can take control of their data-driven futures and start to connect and collaborate with data to create value without compromising privacy and security.

The Moment the Right Data Is Accessible

Most companies collect a lot of customer data, which can be harnessed to deliver transformational experiences, develop insights, and more. However, value cannot be extracted unless the data is easily accessible. In the past, connecting disparate data sets usually meant combining data or a heavy lift from IT, but with new solutions using cloud-native strategies, applications can be brought to the data rather than the other way around.

With customizable controls, these solutions can be deployed in the cloud, in multiple clouds, or on premises. This makes data infinitely more accessible while never requiring it to move and solves one of the most technologically complex problems in the software world.

Such advances are particularly significant for utilizing sensitive data and for compliance with cross-border data transfer restrictions, like those inherent in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). LiveRamp is currently partnering with a consortium of academic research and health care institutions to enable access to the largest inpatient database of Covid-19 patients without transferring any data. Parties can generate insights without sacrificing patient confidentiality, and this exemplifies how good data stewardship can enable people to live longer lives.

The Moment Data Collaboration Becomes Essential

Most companies will never be the size of Amazon, Facebook, or Google; nor will they ever, in isolation, have access to such a staggering central repository of useful customer data. But today, any company can use data with as much intelligence and strategy as these walled giants do.

Cloud-based platforms that offer configurable data collaboration will be crucial to enabling partnerships while keeping private data useful and useful data private, according to a recent Winterberry Group report.

Recently, data collaboration between major retailers and their packaged-goods suppliers has grown rapidly. Connecting sales data to marketing-spend data means retailers sell more product, and packaged-goods companies optimize their marketing spend to drive more retail sales. Global organizations like Danone, and even brands in highly regulated financial services and health care, are creating breakthrough opportunities for top-line growth by building out collaborative intelligence.

A smart way to quickly begin harnessing the power of data is to work back from your ideal use cases. Ask yourself: Which decisions or outcomes could dramatically improve if powered with data? Do you have line-of-sight to the relevant data, and if not, who possesses it? For data sitting outside your walls, explore a prioritized list of data partnerships with agreed-upon terms and permission controls.

Becomes Actionable

Consumers lead complex lives. They stream TV, use mobile to both shop and chat, read the news online, write emails, and visit physical stores. They are omnipresent, so for data to be truly actionable, it needs to be omnichannel as well.

Today, companies are building their own technical data infrastructures to leverage customer data in more places. Interoperable technology that can effectively translate identity between spaces means marketers can begin to optimize the full customer journey, and with the ability to connect data more seamlessly, they can improve customer intelligence and conduct more granular analytics and measurement. So rather than executing marketing campaigns in dozens of siloed channels using multiple proprietary technologies, marketers can instead create omnichannel plans and demand that activation partners seamlessly integrate with them.

This change can be seen in the digital space, where companies like like Fitbit are enlisting comprehensive, people-based identity solutions to construct a truly connected view of their customer, activating data to more accurately find and engage the right people. Leveraging this new approach to reach its audience for a seasonal campaign, the consumer-electronics and fitness company doubled its return on ad spend and increased its average order value by 13%.

A transformation is also occurring in TV, where granular data can be deployed to better reach target audiences and accountable outcomes can be measured. One leading insurance company is saving more than $500,000 per month to deliver more connected TV (CTV) impressions to households that are not getting enough of its linear TV impressions and suppress those that are getting too many.

The Moment You Start Winning

This is not a time to go it alone. To get out ahead, remember three things:

  • First, it’s important to apply the best practices from others and collaborate where you have gaps—in both data and capabilities.
  • Second, always remember that your first-party data is strategic and sensitive. Leveraging technologies with embedded privacy tools to protect and encrypt it is critical, particularly before you take the important step of embarking on data collaboration with external partners.
  • Third, take a close look at your current media plan. Every element can likely be optimized through the application of data, so any destination where you’re not already using data is a great place to start.

Change is never easy, but many companies are emerging from the pandemic well-positioned for a prosperous future, with stronger data capabilities and improved customer satisfaction. It’s an important moment in time—the moment you start winning.

Learn more about how LiveRamp can help you connect, control, and activate data to generate more valuable business outcomes.

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