How Data Can Lead You to Your Audience
In this day and age, the world is saturated with digital information. There are so many bytes of data being produced every day, they’re measured by the quintillion. To put that in perspective, this is what one quintillion looks like:
Thanks to the internet, growing technology, social media, and more, the amount of data floating around out there is forever increasing.
Global Users Measured in Billions (2018)
- Active Internet Users: 4.1
- Unique Mobile Internet Users: 3.8
- Active Social Media Users: 3.3
- Active Mobile Social Media Users: 3
There’s so much digital information to draw from. That sounds like a good thing, right? If the pool of information to draw from is so wide, doesn’t that make it harder for you to find the exact data you need? The answer is yes.
Let’s take for instance what it’s like searching for prospects in the trucking industry. Let’s compare the usual starting point to the point a marketer in that industry is trying to reach:
For marketers like you and me who cater to a very specific audience, it’s hard to sort through all the data out there to find what’s related to your audience and relevant to you. That’s why it’s important to know the types of audience data out there and how they can help you.
Types of Audience Data
What differentiates the types of audience data is where they originate from.
1st Party Data
This is information you gathered about your customers or your audience e.g. newsletter sign-up info, info from forms filled within your campaigns, business cards collected at trade shows, your own CRM data, etc.
2nd Party Data
This is someone else’s 1st party data you may be receiving or purchasing through your relationship with that company. e.g. Keyword data from Adwords which is information Google receives from their users that you would receive from Google through your relationship with Google Adwords.
3rd Party Data
This is audience information you can purchase from a data aggregator.
Starting Point: 1st Party Data
For most of us, our own data, 1st party data, is square one and that’s a great place to start. Because you’re getting this data straight from the source, it’s highly valuable and high quality. 1st party data tells you so much about your audience and this insight makes you better at reaching them.
Getting the best use out of 1st party data starts with understanding what the data is telling you:
Who your audience is:
Profile information customers willingly share with you (e.g. forms filled, CRM data, etc.) allows you to identify the individuals who interact with you.
How your audience behaves:
Using past and current behaviors of your customers can help you predict future behaviors. What are your customers purchasing? What inventory are they drawn to? You can tailor your strategy to line up with these behaviors.
How to market to your audience:
Behavioral data (e.g. how a user interacts with your website) exposes your audience’s interests and what they’re responding to. This information cuts out the guesswork and allows you to cater directly to what your audience wants and how to get them to respond.
The most obvious way to use 1st party data is to advertise to your audience, but if you’re not taking a closer look at your data through data analysis, you’re missing out on an opportunity to get to know your audience better. The insight data analysis provides is key to creating a strong strategy capable of meeting your audience’s needs, and of course, bringing you to success.
Data That Complements Yours: 2nd Party Data
There are companies in your industry out there with high-quality data they’ve gathered on your audience, data you don’t have. This presents a need to build relationships with such companies. An example is the relationship Randall-Reilly has with our clients. Through our media sources (magazines, newsletters, events, etc.), we’re able to produce 1st party data on our clients’ audience and we use this data to assist our clients in reaching their audience.
2nd party data comes with certain advantages:
Because you’re getting this data directly from the owner of the data, there’s no question about where it came from.
Direct access to the source of the data allows you to judge for yourself whether the source is reputable.
It being the 1st party data of the company you’re dealing with, you know the company gathered this data directly from their audience, which means this is high quality and high-value data.
2nd party data opens up the opportunity to exchange data, thereby building a partnership that benefits both parties involved.
One of the most important keys to 2nd party data is privacy. Creating an environment where users know how their data will be used and have the option to opt-in has to be the foundation of using 2nd party data or else it can become very tricky.
Filling in the Blanks: 3rd Party Data
3rd party data is usually a consolidation of audience data gathered from different sources. The allure of 3rd party data is how vast it usually is. It’s often sold in segments relevant to the individual buyer. For example, if a buyer is looking to reach fleets in a certain location with 50+ trucks, the buyer will only be interested in buying data that falls into that category.
Ways to apply 3rd party data:
Identify your audience:
Not all companies have a clear picture of who they want to reach. So we take our role as 3rd party data providers a step further by using our data to help our clients define their audience and build a prospect profile.
Append your audience data:
You may have limited information on a prospect, but matching 3rd party data to your data allows you to fill in the blanks. For instance, appending names and email addresses you gathered from newsletter subscriptions with phone numbers and physical addresses from 3rd party data not only tells you more about your prospects but increases targeting opportunities.
Segment your audience:
The more data you have on your audience helps you to further classify that audience. This could mean you’re using behavioral data to get to know how your audience operates, their interests, etc. or it could mean you’re learning more about who they are. For instance, by matching our client’s data against our EDA data allows us to find SIC codes for our clients’ prospects. This reveals the industry these prospects fall into and thereby gives our clients insight into how to approach their audience based on the state of that market, industry trends, etc.
Expand your audience:
3rd party data can introduce you to prospects you don’t know. You may have a clear picture of who your audience is but limited data may be shortening your reach. With the help of 3rd party data, you can expand your prospect database.
When trying to draw from an endless pool of data, it can be difficult to not only find your specific audience, but find the exact information you need on your audience. It may seem daunting, but there’s hope. As long as know the different types of audience data out there and the part they play in your marketing journey, you can effectively utilize that data and gain insight on how to find and reach your specific audience.