Today’s marketers must navigate a fast-evolving marketplace made more complex by fragmented customer journeys, expanding privacy regulation, disruptive technologies, and much more. This has prompted the need for a fresh mindset around data and strategic partnerships that benefit not only marketing, but the entire enterprise. Whether it’s to deepen customer loyalty or advance business objectives, companies are increasingly leaning on partners to gain an advantage amid evolving circumstances.
I spoke with LiveRamp’s chief marketing officer, Jessica Shapiro, to delve into the value of data collaboration and its role in meeting these objectives.
Gary Drenik: Data collaboration is a hot topic these days. How does LiveRamp think about it?
Jessica Shapiro: Most people in the industry today associate data collaboration with data clean rooms. At LiveRamp, we’re thinking a lot bigger than just the tools and technology. We see data collaboration as a foundational strategy that empowers businesses to develop deeper partnerships and greater brand value.
Though many companies have lots of first-party customer data, there’s a tremendous amount of information they don’t have access to. Even the biggest companies in the world can’t get a fully accurate customer view on their own. However, through data collaboration, brands can securely share first-party customer data with one another to unlock new insights that open a new world of possibilities. Retailers can create new, connected experiences for shoppers. Publishers can improve yields and enhance communication to consumers. Platforms can seamlessly stitch together better customer experiences.
Data collaboration is about imagining what new insights could transform your business, then working with external or internal partners to get them. It uncovers endless ways to know customers better, launch strategic partnerships, and power new business opportunities that you simply can’t get any other way.
Drenik: Why is data collaboration so critical for companies right now?
Shapiro: The industry is in a state of immense change. Privacy regulations are getting more restrictive worldwide and customer journeys are becoming more diverse.
Take the origin of the shopper journey for instance. A recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey found that on average, 38.7% of consumers 18+ are regularly researching products online before making a purchase in-store. However, only 42.8% of Boomers use their smartphones to make a purchase, compared to more than half of younger consumers. Businesses must collaborate to achieve a holistic understanding of these data points, bringing them together in an organized way that provides a view of the customer’s journey outside of their own four walls. Better understanding where and what consumers are searching for leads to delivering the right message, at the right time, and in the right place.
Many companies LiveRamp talks to are drowning in data, but it’s complex and often messy. Plus, identifiers we’ve depended on for years are going away, while AI and other next-generation technologies are evolving rapidly. Compounding all of this are economic headwinds felt worldwide.
With this complexity, however, comes tremendous opportunity. There’s a growing consensus that first-party data has never been more important – and not just because of the incredible things you learn about your customers. Insights from data collaboration open up a whole new world of opportunities to grow brand and business value.
Drenik: What are some other examples you’re seeing of companies creating value through data collaboration?
Shapiro: Our customer Hill’s Pet Nutrition wanted to advance from a transactional customer relationship to something deeper and longer-term. Through data collaboration with marketing technology providers and media platforms, Hill’s was able to access and analyze data across screens, proving which advertisements were working and reaching their customers with relevant content. Hill’s was also able to develop richer partnerships with the retailers that carry its products. By helping retailers understand customer habits outside of their stores, Hill’s and the retailer could engage consumers with more relevant messages and ultimately, drive more revenue for both companies.
Another great example is Dollar General. The retailer’s 19,000 stores serve many communities in rural America, with shoppers who are difficult to target due to their exurban locations. That’s why the retailer developed Dollar General Media Network and collaborated with CPGs brands to define which SKUs were important in each location. This allowed brands to place the right products in the right store, and for customers to have access to mainstream brands they previously couldn’t buy locally. Supported by LiveRamp’s data collaboration platform, Dollar General has built incredible brand value as the retailer of choice for customers in rural America, while also helping CPGs reach more shoppers.
Drenik: What should companies keep in mind as they build out their data collaboration strategy?
Shapiro: The long play with data collaboration is building brand value and customer loyalty. Individuals demand protection and transparency when it comes to privacy. Controls must be in place over how data is used at all times to ensure strict adherence to expanding privacy requirements.
As data collaboration strategies are developed, there should be consensus within the organization about what leaders want to achieve, also ensuring strategies align with company values and customer commitments.
It’s also important to collaborate flexibly, especially in and across clouds where most data lives. Data collaboration across a broad ecosystem delivers the greatest amount of new intelligence. The more global destinations you can access, the bigger the opportunity for new customer insights and potential partnerships.
Drenik: How can data collaboration help companies overcome data fragmentation?
Shapiro: A great example comes from a travel information and booking company, which leveraged LiveRamp’s foundational identity framework to break down data silos across its enterprise portfolio. Bringing previously disjointed information together meant the company could consolidate data from businesses it had acquired, unlock replicable use cases across business lines, and test and learn in order to drive strategies forward.
Another example comes from a major media conglomerate we work with. The company used internal data collaboration to unlock significantly higher insight into the intersection of audiences across its vast portfolio, leading to the launch of new innovations like direct-to-streaming.
Internal data collaboration fuels many positive outcomes within the enterprise. By connecting dots across functions, companies can accomplish things like improving customer service or making technology investments work better.
Drenik: How do you see data collaboration continue to evolve from here?
Shapiro: Data collaboration is the future. Beyond what I’ve shared, we’re seeing clients leverage it to influence strategic business decisions, including where to open new retail locations, how to analyze potential acquisitions, and even how to inspire new product innovation.
We’re constantly helping customers pioneer new use cases. As data collaboration evolves, we’ll see even more exciting applications, such as increasingly precise cross-screen measurement, new privacy-enhancing technologies, and more collaboration capabilities across clouds.
Data collaboration can be customized to a company’s unique business goals, but it’s really about creating personal connections. It’s helping people discover things they may have never found otherwise – the ideal product to solve a nagging problem, the perfect gift for a loved one, or a special family vacation destination they’d never heard of. I love how one of our customers phrased what’s possible with data collaboration: “Our imagination is our only limitation.”
Drenik: Jessica, thanks so much for explaining data collaboration and the significance it will carry into the future.
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