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The founder on data

With Great Data Comes Great Opportunity: Adaptive Marketing, Mobility & Location

by Dipanshu “D” Sharma, CEO & Founder, xAd


“Adapt or Die” is an essential tool for the new age marketer describing the data-driven, always on, action-oriented mobile marketing ecosystem that drives the technology and products we live and breath at xAd.

Much like in our personal lives, the technology at our fingertips is making virtually everything we want and need accessible in real time – with greater speed and lower costs that were unimaginable just a few years ago. For marketers, this poses true with the massive amounts of information we have at hand about our business and consumer, as well as the speed at which we can act upon it (or, as Norm frightfully predicts... die).  

I look at this challenge as a new spin on the old adage “with great power comes great responsibility.” Only in the new world upon us - as Norm aptly describes in his book -- it’s better stated as “with great data comes great opportunity.” There is no question that data is powerful, but it also carries great risk of slowing down your business because you can get lost in the sea of data available and find yourself in analysis paralysis.

This is the curse and blessing of digital which is only accelerating at an incredible pace due to mobile now being the top engagement channel surpassing TV, desktop, etc. With the average consumer checking their device 150 times a day (every 10 minutes) and over half of those impressions being away from the home, we have an amazing opportunity to close the elusive activation loop from customer to campaign then conversion. At the same time, marketers can now deconstruct who exactly their target consumer is by understanding their real world behaviors enabled by location which has been unlocked by mobile.

 Mobile has single handedly changed the face of consumer data by enabling the digitization of real-world or physical behaviors.  Why this is significant is that every marketer is ultimately trying to better understand online-to-offline (O2O) behaviors and results. Consider this:  according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 9 out of 10 dollars are still closed or converted offline. Marketers have more understanding of online behavior than the physical world, where 90% of sales that happen. This understanding and connecting of online and offline behavior is a huge missing piece of a marketers puzzle and essential in understanding the entire consumer journey which is a mix of digital and physical omni-behaviors. 

Until now, we have not been able to capture this behavior in a scalable and meaningful way.  However, for marketers to leverage this new data set they will need to change the way they think about audience data, which today is probabilistic and static, and adapt to a more real-time and deterministic model. This further enables marketers to narrow the focus on fewer, high-impact data sets based on behavioral changes driven by mobile while embracing an adaptive marketing approach with new geo-technologies.

Today, most businesses still rely on the cash register balance at the end of the day to know how the business is fairing day-to-day compared to their forecasted revenues based on seasonality, pricing, pacing, etc. The missing element that is critical to the boardroom is real-time market share amongst the competitive set, which allows marketers to adapt and maneuver in the market versus after it has closed.  At xAd, we have seen enormous differences in the same competitive or category across different markets. Looking at in-store foot traffic from location data, we can see 3 retailers in 2 markets on the same days with very different market share with vastly different swings at different parts of the day. 

Of course, the drivers of these market differences require further analysis but what is more important is the ability to have the real-time knowledge enabling real-time action at the market level. This can be a crucial tool to adjust to Adaptive Marketing – real-time data that provides insights on how to optimize campaigns and activate audiences to influence today’s and tomorrow’s results that can be further implemented at different times of day leveraging mobile and location to influence tomorrow’s results.

Mobility unlocks new data and opportunities in identifying intent and a new definition of audience by understanding real-world behaviors. For example, this intent is harnessed by identifying visits to an auto dealership as an auto intender or frequent visits to children clothing stores as a parental audience.  Leveraging these audience strategies also provides amazing new opportunities to predict both where consumers will go and/or could be influenced to go, which can empower the adaptive marketer to have more control in driving the real bottom-line results we all strive to achieve. 

At the core of Adaptive Marketing is having access to real-time data on business activity, and the ability to influence behaviors that drive results. That’s what marketers have always been striving for – visibility into action that moves ahead of the markets.