ISSUES

Mining Gold From the Cloud

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Data has never been more important to direct marketers, and there is a lot of it flying around up “in the cloud.” One of the results is “infobesity,” a condition that can leave harried advertisers and their agencies feeling bloated and overwhelmed by too much information. Like any diet that provides sustenance, data needs to be organized in a way that makes it easy to assimilate, understand, and interpret, so that everyone in the supply chain can flourish. Fortunately, new solutions can help synthesize vital data from multiple sources and ease its interpretation. These solutions allow marketers to make smart decisions while saving time and money.

 

Marketers need to control their data, because they are the ones who are taking the enormous financial risk to bring products to market. And given the complexities involved in developing, sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing good products, it is more important than ever for them to access streamlined, actionable information. Back in the days when a typical Media Efficiency Ratio (MER) was commonly 2:0 or better, there was a lot more room for forgiveness when it came to interpreting data correctly. In today’s multichannel world, that’s simply not the case. What executives need is not necessarily more information, but more relevant information.

 

Fortunately, the best data-delivery systems possess several attributes that help them achieve success:

 

They combine data from multiple sources. CoreMedia Systems’ CoreDirect is one example; the dominant media platform for DRTV advertisers not only allows direct marketers to receive sales and lead data from disparate media sources, it provides an overlay of Nielsen audience data. The result of this correlation is that a marketer can look at results based upon traditional direct metrics such as cost-per-lead or MER, plus know the campaign’s reach, frequency, and effectiveness in reaching its target audience based on the Nielsen information.

 

They evolve and innovate. Core’s latest version includes an additional overlay of Dial800’s CallView360° call-tracking product to provide switch-level data. In the past, different call centers reported what they considered a valid call in different ways, so marketers would evaluate their performance based upon potentially inaccurate data. In addition to allowing marketers to listen to any call from their computers, CallView allows them to see exactly how many calls they are getting, and taps the Targus database to supply key household demographic information.

 

They save time and money. Instead of personnel having to cobble together data from three or four sources and sweat over the resulting Excel spreadsheets, systems can now synthesize and harmonize data from various sources to help marketers and agencies reduce labor costs and frustration. Streamlined data also helps optimize campaigns quickly.

 

Data is available, authoritative, transparent, and protected. Cloud-based computing solutions offer unfiltered data when and where you want it. With everyone working in virtual offices and on multiple devices, information access must be nimble. Such systems put real-time control over data into marketers’ hands, allowing them to choose how to filter and report it in the way that they consider most relevant. And with server redundancies, the data is safe from computer crashes and other natural and man-made disasters.

 

As a result of data specialists coming together, marketers and agencies alike can obtain a more sophisticated view of their buyers with ease, and thus gain a tremendous competitive advantage. With a centralized database, they can then manage their CRM from cradle to grave and assess the true lifetime value of a customer. This approach to data mining shifts the model away from one dependent on any third-party vendor to manage or make changes, and to one where the control rests where it should be: in the hands of the marketer or its agency.

 

It is the advertiser’s data, after all, and in an era where enduring customer relationships have never been more vital, the advertiser is the one who needs full access to accurate data. The result of that access might be a level of success that has marketers, their agencies, and their suppliers sitting on cloud nine.

 

 

Scott Richards is CEO o Dial800, specialists in marketing optimization.  Dial800′s tool suite includes memorable tool-free numbers, call routing, and call tracking that help marketers glean consumer insights.  He can be reached at 1(800) DIAL-800 or at [email protected]