Guest blog: Data – the world’s new precious commodity: Steve Martin, LiveRamp

Without question, the 21st century’s most valuable commodity is data – a resource that is growing at an exponential rate. With such high volumes of data, it is difficult to fully drive digital marketing to the next people-based level, especially when there is a wealth of offline data, that needs to marry with online data. Issues can arise when marketers attempt to do their jobs without offline data to tie all web and social marketing interactions back to real-life transactions and people.

A staggering 90% of all the world’s data (2.5 quintillion bytes per day) has been created in the past two years alone, and its value is rapidly rising. New marketing channels and technologies are popping up all the time, sending growing volumes of information at marketers from all directions. As this proliferation accelerates, marketers today find themselves with access to more online data than ever before. But online data – no matter how rich – often isn’t enough on its own.

Offline isn’t just another channel – it’s the key to figuring out which activities ultimately drive real sales. And its effects are far-reaching…

The golden rule – how can marketers get through this?

When marketers neglect offline data, they do so at their own peril. The marketing data landscape grows more complicated by the day. There will only ever be more customer information for marketers to manage. And until we connect our offline data to our online data, we’ll be flying half-blind.

Data onboarding is a smart way to make crucial marketing decisions based on a fuller view of what’s going on. It is a way of transferring offline data to an online environment for marketing needs. It makes marketing more precise, more measurable and more effective.

Data onboarding is one of the most significant developments in marketing over the last decade, one which is worth an estimated $250m today and forecast to reach $1bn+ by 2020. It makes massive inroads into helping marketers deliver more targeted, personalised and measurable experiences in today’s omnichannel world. Data onboarding takes CRM/offline data and links it to the same individual in the digital world, resulting in far more relevant marketing – a better result for both the consumer and the brand.

Being a modern marketer means handling, analysing and acting on information from dozens of disparate sources, systems and channels. But while marketers have been able to use services such as data management platforms (DMPs), to connect all their online data and activate it in multiple channels, one crucial piece has been missing – offline data.

And when you take a closer look at the gap it leaves in a digital marketing operation, it’s pretty huge. After all, most customer activity still happens offline. In fact, 90% of retail sales take place offline. So, if they haven’t connected the data living in their CRM, email and point of sale systems to online, then marketers are making important decisions with incomplete and imperfect data – and they’re missing out on a huge chunk of the action.

It is imperative marketers understand the importance of data sharing and the associated technological and compliance challenges that must be overcome to realise a new era of people-based marketing.

Steve Martin, managing director of International Data, LiveRamp

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