Activating Audience Data: Interview With Gopesh Raichura From Oracle
- by Steve George
With the myriad of marketing and advertising solutions on the market, there is a great need for a ‘one size fits all’ marketing platform, as many marketers struggle to close the gap on campaign ROI, improve on data driven marketing and better understand audience data.
Savage caught up with Gopesh Raichura, DATA EVANGELIST at Oracle Marketing Cloud to better understand the challenges around programmatic marketing, audience data and brand engagement.
S: Programmatic advertising is on the rise with companies opting to have direct control over the customer data. What trends do you see forming over the next 18 months to boost audience planning and targeting strategies?
GR: When it comes to taking control of audience data, more and more companies are realising that the only way to do this properly is to invest in a platform that is 100% focused on the unification of all forms of disparate audience data sources, where meaning can then be added, and informed decisions can then be made, to accurately target and engage the right audience groups across the right digital channels, at the right time, and with the right message.
Whether it be programmatic advertising, or one of many other digital channels spanning mobile, search, video, or social, eCRM, optimisation, attribution, or data modelling vendors that companies wish to activate their audience data into, the technology that gives them direct control over their valuable customer data and connect the dots between this data and their digital activation channels is a Data Management Platform (DMP).
Over the last two years with Oracle Marketing Cloud, I have seen Oracle DMP (also known as Bluekai), used by companies in the Automotive, Retail, Financial Services, Travel, Entertainment, Publishing, and more recently B2B industry verticals. As marketers and publishers continue to recognise the need to take control of their valuable audience data, the take-up of DMPs will reach critical mass over the next 18 months, since it can help them to deliver truly personalised experiences to both known and unknown users to maximise business revenue growth.
Oracle is helping many companies today who are already ahead of the technology curve running at full speed with a DMP, and helping them to look to innovations in areas such as IoT, chatbot, and adaptive intelligence. For these companies, the next 18 months is seeing a change in the way they think about Customer Experience.
Importantly for these companies, it’s about extending the use of audience planning and targeting strategies in order to look beyond just marketing communications and deliver unified audience experiences. These experiences will incorporate innovations spanning connected devices, artificial intelligence, smart homes, and wearables, and more as our physical and digital worlds continue to fuse together to create for new ways to improve the customer experience, which will be fueled by the intelligent use of audience data.
S: What are the pitfalls of having too many martech / adtech solutions in a marketing stack? How does it affect the quality of the audience data a company possesses?
GR: In this scenario, I am going to refer to martech/adtech solutions as ‘apps’. This is actually a very big question that encompasses lots of points for consideration, so I’m going to break it down into sections… let’s first look at how companies that have reached marketing maturity, who are utilising numerous apps in their pursuit as either marketers to drive more product or service related sales, or as publishers to increase subscription sales and/or advertising sales revenue/yield.
In each instance marketers and publishers are bombarded with calls daily by a multitude of app vendors each wanting to sell their apps directly to these companies. While this has resulted in companies being empowered with a great selection of apps to choose from to achieve their business goals, the real challenge here is that each app vendor has a different story to tell as to why their solution should be used to drive more engagements, more clicks, more social interactions, more leads, and more conversions.
Given that the digital eco system today consists of over 3,000 apps (with over 400 in the space of programmatic alone) for companies to choose from, this leads to confusion from an education perspective since marketers are being told conflicting stories that don’t necessarily align.
So how can they possibly make the right decisions on which app vendors will deliver the right results for their business? The fact of the matter is that the majority of companies are so inundated with new app opportunities to consider that their personal marketing stack ends-up becoming saturated with multiple apps in their pursuit to increase revenue. This isn’t necessarily an issue provided of course they can audit all tracking that is taking place from this stack. If they can audit it, it gives them a means to remediate against any identified performance issues that are identified.
Let me explain… Each app integrated into your marketing stack will inevitably require different tracking scripts/tags/SDKs to be added to your digital assets (desktop site, mobile site, and/or native apps). Often 3rd party tracking scripts load off the back of the original 1st party trackers that have been implemented (the re-direct chain) when a user visits your site. When a company partners with more and more app vendors in their pursuit to increase sales or advertising revenue, it results in inefficiencies in the performance/load-up times of their web pages, which can cost the company in lost revenue!
Without the right tracking solution in place to audit these trackers, companies can struggle to have true visibility on which 3rd party trackers are being called in the re-direct chain and therefore which trackers are causing a potential issue that may be negatively contributing to poor site performance. There is also the issue of redundant 1st party trackers that could be spawning unwanted 3rd party trackers in the re-direct chain, and at the same time many of these may fail to have an HTTPS connection i.e. non-secure, which can lead to potential data security breaches.
Now if a business works with 30 or 40 different apps each with their own trackers that need to load-up in the re-direct chain when a user lands on their page, it can potentially cause the cumulative load-up time of that web page to increase. In terms of industry standards, if a web page takes longer than 500 milliseconds to load it can lead to higher audience drop-off rates.
So to put this into perspective, if your company is an online retailer or an automotive manufacturer for example, what would a 1% audience drop-off rate from your checkout page/request a test drive page mean in terms of potential lost ecommerce sales or new cars sales revenue over the course of the year? When you look to the next 2-3 years how will this loss of revenue affect your ability to help the company achieve its’ business growth targets? Will you still remain on track to hit them, or do you need to start thinking about how to address this challenge now?
“When audience data gets trapped in these app layers (data siloes), it prevents you from tapping into those valuable intent and buying signals”
So we’ve briefly looked at the performance implications of having too many apps in a marketing stack but what about the data related implications, which results in audience data getting trapped each of these different app layers?
When audience data gets trapped in these app layers (data siloes), it prevents you from tapping into those valuable intent and buying signals since each app has a different way of reporting back on audience data, incompatibilities in mapping audience data from one platform to the next, and this can limit your ability to gain a holistic view of your audience data. Without this, it is much harder to reach them at the right time, and with the right message. When you factor in your audience use of multiple devices, as well as offline data signals that may also be trapped in in mission-critical systems across your business, it further limits your ability to engage these audiences in real-time as they switch from one device to the next, which ultimately results in customer frustration! During my session on June 13 at Savage Marketing, you will get to hear how much of an issue this is for your customers!
S: How can publishers and advertisers leverage audience data for better brand activation and engagement?
GR: If a company has reached a stage of critical mass where they are experiencing some of the challenges highlighted earlier, a good solution could be to use a DMP to leverage audience data for better brand activation and engagement.
Using Oracle DMP for example, they would have the ability to create a comprehensive segmentation plan that can be mapped to the multitude of creative assets that exist across their business today, and ensure that regardless of the stage of the journey the audience is at, whether it be for branding and awareness, NET new customer acquisition, retention marketing to drive repeat purchase, up-selling, link-selling, recruitment, or customer service for example, that they have the confidence to know they can successfully deliver the right messages to the right audiences based on unified data insights that can be made actionable across any one of their desired app vendors pre-integrated with Oracle DMP.
“Oracle DMP clients have seen up to 630% increase in Return On Ad Spend, when their DMP is connected to both SSO Platform and DCO Platform to deliver personalised brand activation and engagement messaging”
Combined with the ability to create custom audience selections in-line with the most important audiences segments identified from their segmentation plan, together with in-built audience analytics that includes lookalike modelling, they can easily target the right audience groups with the right creative assets for better brand activation and engagement, which will help improve brand advocacy, increase retention rates, and ultimately help drive more conversions.
For example, Oracle DMP clients have seen up to 630% increase in Return On Ad Spend, when their DMP is connected to both a Site Side Optimisation (SSO) Platform and Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) Platform to deliver personalised brand activation and engagement messaging both within the actual advertising creative itself, as well as and on the physical landing pages, whether it be desktop web, mobile web, or across their native iOS or Android Apps. This is one of many use cases that can be applied when leveraging audience data through the DMP!
S: Though on the rise, only 34% of CMOs have any resolve to base their 2018 strategy on audience data and even less are concerned about consolidating their martech apps. Does this pose an issue or makes no difference to the bigger picture?
GR: Education is a really important factor here in terms of the bigger picture! In fact my role at Oracle Marketing Cloud is to help marketers, publishers, agencies and systems integrators to each understand the role that data management and activation plays for their respective businesses so they can successfully navigate this space and deliver the right results in the process.
Over the last 2 years, the biggest disparity I have seen here is the difference in understanding from one company to the next in terms of what it actually means to have a proper audience data strategy, as well as why, and when they should actually consider consolidation of their martech solutions, if at all.
Depending of course on what type of company I speak to, ideas in terms of how audience data should be used, and who should control it, can often be shaped by their prior experiences, which may or may not be representative of the right way to manage an audience data strategy both in terms of driving truly personalised experiences, as well as in terms of the wider implications surrounding data privacy, compliance and transparency.
While only 34% of CMOs have been identified as having any resolve to base their 2018 strategy on audience data, and even less are concerned about consolidating their martech solutions, as you will have seen from my response to question 3, the interpretation of martech consolidation can be seen as one of streamlining the number of app vendor trackers that are spawning from your website pages, but where many of these trackers are important to enable the successful delivery of programmatic advertising for example.
Here, thinking about consolidation of martech solutions in terms of the trackers, this will allow you with the right tools to remediate against performance issues related to these trackers that could be related to redundant tags that could be cleaned-up, whether they load synchronously or asynchronously to prioritise order in which they load, where each tracker is hosted, where your company’s website is hosted, whether you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), whether your trackers are all HTTPS secured, and so on, all of which can impact performance and result in lost revenue if not properly audited.
If on the other hand we’re talking about a CMO thinking of consolidating their martech solutions with one marketing cloud provider like Oracle for example, this comes back to the stage of marketing maturity that their company is at. Here there are so many factors that could influence how a CMO looks to consolidate their martech stack.
Depending on the size of the organisation the CMO may be working in collaboration with a trusted Systems Integrator or Agency partner to facilitate a full-blown digital transformation for their business or alternatively may be making the decisions in-house with other stakeholders from within the company. Either way, delivering the right education here is key! It requires tech vendors, systems integrators, agencies and industry press to all be aligned in providing best practice tips and guidance that help ensure that the end clients are informed of the right way to do things. This is where there the greatest misalignment can occur, which may prevent CMOs from recognising the right time to undergo change in relation to their audience data strategy and consolidation of martech solutions.
Working on the Audience Data Strategy side of things here for Oracle Marketing Cloud, I’m pleased to be in the fortunate position of being able to help proactively steer the educational strategy for our EMEA clients and partners on the role of Data Management and Activation.
This includes a dedicated DMP enablement training guided learning path that has been developed hot off the press that aligns Oracle employees, systems integrators, and media agencies who are members of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) to have a clear and concise message in helping CMOs understand how to place their audiences at the heart of the communication. It also provides the tools to help address the data related challenges highlighted in response to questions 1 and 2, to help clients take control of their audience data and achieve real business revenue growth!
Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Gopesh in person and learn more about audience data and its role in your marketing strategy at Savage Marketing 2017 Conference.