What Role Does Data Play in People-Based Marketing?

The term “people-based marketing” can be downright confusing. Who else would brands be marketing to other than people? The name may not win branding awards, but it’s not completely off-base. 

What Is People-Based Marketing?

People-based marketing is perfect cross-device marketing or targeting that reaches real individuals. It describes a fundamental goal of marketers: To seamlessly reach the right people at the right time with the right offer.

To be sure, the industry isn’t quite there yet in its marketing evolution. However, one first step toward achieving this lofty goal is to create a holistic view of an individual.

This view enables marketers to target someone in a more personalized way without the use of third-party cookies, which are nearing their end and offer only a limited picture of a consumer. Marketers can build customer profiles by using their own data and intelligence from outside providers.

People-Based Marketing is Still in Its Infancy

There are third-party technology or data providers that claim they can provide people-based marketing in its most ideal form. To recognize users across devices, many build anonymized profiles from various online and offline identifiers that are associated with the same person—a complex process known as identity resolution.

The problem is that many companies derive identity through probabilistic data, which is created by algorithms and often results in faulty profiles.  

An alternative is to use deterministic data that is supplied by a person, like an email address. While accuracy improves, the downside is that scale can be harder to achieve for companies that don’t collect massive amounts of email logins like Google and Facebook.

Fortunately, marketers can begin building profiles with their first-party data. Then, to advance their people-based marketing strategy and reach users across devices, they can enrich this intelligence with third-party data.

A Deeper Dive Into the Data That Fuels People-Based Marketing

First-party data includes email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, usernames, and other information that organizations gather themselves through means like:

  • Customers’ purchase histories
  • Digital interactions consumers have on their websites or mobile apps
  • Conversations users have with a call center
  • Participation in a loyalty program

Third-party data includes the granular data points that outside companies can collect in real time about what individual users are doing across verticals, industries, and categories.

For example, by inserting JavaScript code on websites, data providers can gather insights about users’ cross-interests and passions that emerge when they share content, search for information, click on content, and view web pages. 

This kind of intelligence can help brands map behavior to users, which creates a stronger view of marketing customers. 

Other data that providers can collect to improve profiles includes:

  • Location data
  • Demographic data 
  • IDs for devices that individuals use including tablets, connected TV, mobile, and desktops

Third-Party Data Providers Can Assist With Cross-Device Targeting

Those device IDs are so important to connect with other first-party and third-party data because they enable cross-device targeting. This kind of targeting brings omnichannel marketing to the forefront since valuable information can be appended based on the knowledge of what devices are being used.

It allows brands to reach people using insights like the topics they browse online, what they search for on specific devices, and how they search. 

Being able to reach people on their many devices is critical because people are dynamic. They often use multiple devices during a purchase journey, for example. Consumers may start researching a new sofa on a tablet, then continue on their mobile phone, then ultimately make a purchase on their desktop. Likewise, while they may see ads for a sofa on all their devices, they may habitually use only one of them to make purchases.

In addition, people often use devices for specific purposes, and the timing of messages can be key. While they may welcome ads that promote helpful tech products during work hours, they may be less receptive to those that pop up when they’re spending time with their kids. 

Marketers can use all the rich consumer data they’ve collected to tailor campaigns that are centered on an individual. This personalization can come in the form of:  

  • Offers and content that are most likely to resonate, including retargeting ads
  • Ads that arrive during the times consumers will be the most receptive
  • Campaigns that reach targets on any device they’re currently using

Personalization is increasingly important to U.S. consumers, as McKinsey reports in a 2021 survey. The management consulting company found consumers associate personalization with “positive experiences of being made to feel special.” Some of its findings include:

  • 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t receive them.
  • 72% expect the businesses they buy from to recognize them as individuals and know their interests.
  • 76% say that receiving personalized communications was a key factor in prompting their consideration of a brand.

Privacy Laws Impact People-Based Marketing 

Marketers have a responsibility to collect customer data in a privacy-compliant manner and to safeguard it as well. One way they can accomplish those objectives is by anonymizing personally identifiable information like email addresses before building profiles.

Savvy marketers follow consumer privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act. It gives certain rights to California residents including:

  • The right to know about the personal data a business collects and how it is used and shared
  • The right, with some exceptions, to have their personal data erased
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal data

Abiding by the rules becomes much easier when companies maintain a single profile of customers.

Third-Party Data is Critical for Delivering Good Experiences

People-based marketing aims to give consumers what they crave: Highly personalized content that resonates and seamlessly reaches them where they spend most of their time.

It’s a kind of marketing that challenges brands to look beyond cookies and instead build holistic customer profiles by combining their first-party data with quality third-party intelligence from trusted data providers like ShareThis.

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest news, tips, and updates


Related Content