The Need for Brands to Invest in Data Analytics

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In this special guest feature, Thalya Hamilton, VP of Analytics & Data Science, Quotient, discusses how brands will need to strike the right balance by bringing data and analytics in-house. Thalya joined Quotient in 2016 after spending 12 years at Nielsen and Nielsen Catalina Solutions on CPG and media analytics.

The move to a more private web is coming up quickly, providing new safeguards for consumers while creating new challenges for advertisers. Consumers are the immediate beneficiaries of this transition; they will have the power of choice when it comes to dictating their level of privacy.

Brands will also benefit. They can focus on building assets for first-party data, which has been increasing in importance in recent years, and grow their direct relationship with consumers. As we approach this transition and the data ecosystem becomes more complex, brands will need to strike the right balance by bringing data and analytics in-house—staffing the right talent and empowering them to lead the way forward—while also finding third-party experts to partner with to strengthen their understanding of that data. This dual approach is key if brands want to succeed in a digital-first world.

Navigate Data Complexities with Support from Analysts

As we transition towards more permissioned marketing, data and data analytics are becoming increasingly nuanced. eCommerce saw massive amounts of growth over the past year—which has led to a wealth of information for advertisers and more digitally-engaged shoppers for their brand. However, eCommerce also requires a different type, level and speed of data analysis. In this sense, outside partners are a great resource for brands to utilize.

Additionally, large-scale logged-in environments, such as those offered by retailers and certain publishers, are well positioned for this industry shift. We are likely to see continued innovation around ad platforms in these environments, which allows brands and retailers to get to know their customers on a higher level.

One such innovation is data clean rooms. While data clean rooms have been around for years, brands haven’t adopted them until recently. Essentially, data clean rooms store aggregated advertising data. They have strict privacy controls that prevent brands from viewing or pulling consumer-level data. Today, some vendors are exploring how data clean rooms can enable retailers and brands to share data in a secure environment. In this self-serve environment, data can be queried and modeled but it cannot be removed. For innovations like this to work, brands and retailers will both need to have an understanding of the data.

Utilize All the Advantages of First-Party Data

The transition to first-party data has been in the works for years. Walmart, Albertsons and Kroger are just some of the grocery retailers that have gathered first-party data. They’ve formed a deeper connection and relationship with their customers, and they can use that to their advantage every time shoppers return.

But they couldn’t do it alone. Both brands and retailers must figure out how to turn insights into action. They need to identify the best way to collect data and how to maximize its value. Businesses that are on the cutting edge of technology will be in a much better position to establish and maintain a meaningful, long-term relationship with consumers. And that can be accomplished by investing in data analysts.

Today, some brands use customer relationship management (CRM) programs to collect data that determines how and when to provide communications while also designing campaigns that meet business strategies. In a data clean room, in-house experts can merge this data with retailer data to develop smarter campaign designs.

Strengthen Customer Relationships

First-party data is genuinely beneficial to brands. It’s personal and informative, inviting customers to opt in. They know and trust these brands because they’ve used them before, they like them and they appreciate their transparency. Thus, all of the data being generated is the result of a positive customer relationship. When that data is put to use, that relationship can grow stronger.

Data is only as effective as its best business use case, however, and that’s where data analysts come in. If brands want to succeed and execute on their vast amounts of information, they need the in-house expertise of people who know the brand better than anyone else. However, it also pays to balance that with third-party vendors who are entrenched in the data ecosystem and are well-versed in its many complexities.

Using the Right Resources for the Right Purposes

Ultimately, brands should focus on using the right resources for the right purposes. Outside vendors can and will offer expertise in campaign design and, at times, have overall market data that an individual brand may not. They also may be leaders in innovation. However, brands need in-house experts in their brand dynamics and the first-party data they possess. Brands can build their own first-party data sets and solutions while also filling any gaps and expanding opportunities by engaging outside vendors for additional data and insights and partnering to create better outcomes.

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