5 tips to help ensure a responsible data strategy

Marketers leverage data attributes on consumers related to household purchases, demographics, interests, and self-reported information to better understand consumers and acquire and attract new prospects. As brand stewards, it’s imperative to ensure that the third-party data is qualified, properly sourced and relevant. For example, if you’re a brand in the travel industry trying to increase awareness of your new cruise ship offerings, you might look at a segment of consumers who often purchase international flights. But do you really know where this data is coming from? And is purchasing data based on one segment alone the best strategy?

Here are some tips for consideration when reviewing your data strategy:

  • Source: Understanding the source of third-party data is key. Put data to the test by asking the right questions: “Is the third-party source a reliable brand, or a well-known data partner in the industry? Are there published usage reports to determine how and where the data is being used?” And when choosing a partner, always make sure that protecting consumer data is a key priority of the partner.
  • Temperature: What’s the ‘temperature’ of the data? Or in other words, is it ‘healthy’? To determine the health status, ask your data partners how often the data is refreshed and how/if it is modeled.
  • Partner: Are you working with a true data expert? There are many organizations that claim to have the ‘best in class’ data offerings, but make sure to do your research to ensure this is the case. Read the extensive reviews on the data partner options, set-up ‘informational interviews’ to inquire about the providers’ audit schedule, how often they cleanse the data and so on.
  • Multidimensional view: Investing in third-party data allows you to extend beyond the obvious and gain a deeper level of understanding of consumers. Top data providers can help you achieve a multidimensional view to reach new and existing consumers. For example, blending ‘takes cruises’ and ‘travels internationally’ with ‘early adopters,’ ‘convenience shoppers’ and ‘presence of children in household’ could help occupy the cabins on a new ship.
  • Transactional data: Have you considered transaction history when building your data strategy? Purchase data is the best indicator of future buying behavior. The power and advantage of highly predictive purchase data can help brands reach audiences that are most likely to respond.

Let’s put these tips into context. A men’s clothing retailer noticed their fall men’s apparel line was underperforming. To understand why these fashion trends weren’t appealing to their customers, they partnered with Epsilon, an established and well-known source and data-driven marketing company in the industry. We did an extensive multidimensional data analysis to understand who their customers are and how they’re different from the competitive set. Then, by incorporating additional third-party data, we were able to not only understand the brand’s core customers, but were able to gain insights into the preferences and buying behaviors of the market share they were going after. With Q4 being a key retail month for this brand, we looked at specific buying behaviors over that period to gain a better understanding of the significant increase in spend during the holiday season. Armed with these insights, the retailer developed a holiday campaign with distinct messaging and product focus to both existing customers and high potential customers. Epsilon was able to identify unique audiences and make them available for activation across channels for a synchronized and personalized campaign.

Don’t walk your data journey alone. Find a partner that you can trust, and build a relationship with. Asking the right questions will allow you to develop a clear understanding of how your data partner stacks up against the competition. Make it a priority to find high quality partners that can help you meet your goals while protecting and respecting consumer data.

To learn more about Epsilon’s audiences and how our data is sourced, please visit our Data Hotline.