Is Your Data Ready For The Holidays? Start Planning Now to Boost Seasonal Sales

This holiday season, e-commerce shopping is projected to increase by a whopping 15.3 percent compared to 2017. For digital marketers, that means honing catchy creative and crafting powerful offers to capture as much of that spending as possible. However, they may inadvertently be leaving money on the table. How? Inaccurate or incomplete customer and prospect data.


If you’re including retargeting and remarketing in your holiday online marketing campaigns, be sure your first-party and third-party data is ready to deliver.


Not all data is created equal

We all know that data is the linchpin of digital marketing. Without it, it’s impossible to establish meaningful interactions, uncover new audiences and improve conversion rates. Let’s do a quick review of two of the most frequently used types of data: first-party and third-party.


First-party customer data is one of your brand’s most valuable assets — information you’ve amassed via your CRM, site analytics and other vehicles. With precise details about your customers’ interests, behaviors and buying histories, you can leverage this information to target specific personas. The more you can personalize your communications, the better your conversions.


Third-party data, on the other hand, is information you acquire, typically from market data providers such as data aggregators. The greatest benefit? Sheer volume. Third-party data helps to expand your reach, giving you access to buyers who haven’t previously interacted with your brand. It’s also great for behavioral and demographic targeting.


Regardless of the type of customer data you’re using in your campaigns, be sure you’re adhering to best practices for data hygiene to maximize deliverability, allow for accurate targeting and avoid potentially expensive compliance problems in the age of GDPR.   


Now, some thoughts on the most effective uses of first-party versus third-party data.


First-party data: Making the most of your current client base

Focusing on your own data assets drives the development of effective creative and offers to your existing consumer base. By implementing CRM remarketing tactics, you can use your stored data findings to better communicate with your audience — analyzing customer data and trends to help reactivate lapsed customers and drive repeat purchases:


Re-engage seasonal shoppers. Does your data reveal customers who only purchase during the holidays, then disappear for the next 11 months? Increase your marketing efforts during the time they’re most likely to convert. Look at pages viewed, social media engagement frequency and past purchases, and send them recommendations for related products to reignite sales.


Promote cross-sells and upsells. When a visitor converts, promote complementary products based on the initial purchase. For example, if a customer buys a new gaming console, follow up with offers for the hottest new game for that platform or an extra controller for holiday guests.


Isolate customers who haven’t made a recent purchase. The holidays are the perfect time to reunite past customers with your brand. Send a series of carefully timed nurturing emails, letting them know that you value and miss their business. End the series with an irresistible offer such as a BOGO or free upgraded overnight shipping.


If programmatic ad campaigns are in your holiday marketing plan this year, we’ve found that first-party data is the most effective for this channel. Why? With no third party involved in collecting it, you know it’s both unique and authentic. Plus, it’s an asset you already own so there’s no additional cost incurred.


Third-party data: Find more customers like your best customers  

While CRM data and customer lists are great for remarketing, third-party data can help take your prospecting to the next level this holiday season.


Create a data powerhouse. First-party data is straightforward to collect, but it’s often not enough to get to know your audience on a deeper level. Third-party data is your go-to after you’ve tapped out your own data-retrieving resources. It gives you a broad range of options to better identify what your most valuable customers look like, so you can target them more efficiently at scale. But third-party data is most powerful when you combine it with first-party data. Think about it: Identify your audience, then build on it.


Implement smarter prospecting. Third-party data can be used to find new audiences that may not have been exposed to your brand. Matching the attributes of current customers with third-party audience profile data can provide more segment information, as well as more insight into who’s buying what.


Fine-tune your market segments. During the holidays, shoppers who’ve been saving items on their wish lists are more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase. Invest your resources into prospects who have demonstrated intent to buy (like placing items in their cart) rather than site visitors who spent thirty minutes simply reading product reviews.


Choose data providers you can trust. Third-party data is only as strong as its source, so your goal is to limit the number of layers between your brand and the data you’re looking to acquire. When evaluating providers, ask if they compile their own data versus companies that broker or white label data from outside compilers. Quality is imperative but not always obvious, which is why we’re strong advocates of testing to make sure any third-party data you’re considering meets your standards.


Market segmentation: The gift that keeps on giving

The more you’re able to drill down to behavioral, demographic, psychographic or geographical differences using your data, the stronger and more individualized your offers will be all year long. This holiday season, make your data just as high a priority as your creative — because without the former, no one will see the latter.