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What Is People Based Marketing?

What Is People Based Marketing?

According to a new white paper published by, you’ll be hearing a lot about People Based Marketing in 2017. This is not necessarily a new thing in digital advertising, rather it’s coalescing of many different trends and technologies that aggregate into this nicely packaged ways of conducting digital advertising campaigns.

The general concept is the ability for marketers to reach consumers based on direct knowledge of who they are. Marketers accomplish this by using email and CRM data to target people directly. Recently, after the ThinkLA Programmatic Summit I wrote about this. These efforts are in stark contrast to the use of syndicated data that is assembled from many sources. For many campaigns, these sources are immensely valuable, but they represent a different approach to marketing.

What are the contributing factors to People Based Marketing?

Consumers are logged into apps and sites continuously. You log into your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and those logins persist into your mobile device. Those devices track all the places you go in the physical world. With your email address that’s logged into these accounts you are also using them to buy products at retailers, subscribe to membership services and enable connections to brands.

Even if you aren’t logged into one of the big social media providers you may still be connected to one of the other large walled garden companies like Google and Verizon. This means you may have your email address tied to a Gmail account, which then logs you into a browser, and that may also carry over to your mobile device. Alternatively, you may have service provided by Verizon, and your email address is going to connect you to the places you go across the web by connecting your email address to cookies and device IDs.

Finally, if you aren’t tied to any one of these walled garden ecosystems, and even if you are, chances are that your device and cookies are being connected together by a number of third party companies like Live Ramp (who is the sponsor of the Digiday whitepaper). By connecting your devices marketers see a probabilistic view of your digital footprint. In other words, we have a pretty good (over 90%) match between your laptop, tablet and mobile device.

This all means that when a consumer is in our email list we can see them in a lot of different places all over the web. Ads can be served to these consumers, and we know with certainty that our message is communicated to the consumer.

In practice how does People Based Marketing happen?

The marketer uploads a set of email address to Facebook Custom Audiences, Google Customer Match, Pinterest and any platform that accepts a direct connection between the advertiser and the consumer. Marketers will capture the user’s device ID and remarket to them based on knowledge that these device IDs are important.

For example, if my client wants to reach consumers who shop at Ralphs grocery store, I would target ads to people at Ralphs. Any device IDs I capture as part of that ad campaign I know are important to the client, and we’re able to remarket to those device IDs.

In other cases, I would work with a partner like Verve to turn on historical retargeting. They look at their platform and identify the exact devices that were in a specific geographic radius in the past. We’ll then filter be frequency; i.e. will the consumer have visited the specific location once, twice, 10 times, etc? Then serve ads.

Finally, for larger marketers that deploy a data management platform these first party audiences (email lists, customer lists, other lists related to the customer’s connection to the business, remarketing data, device ID data) are all ingested to ensure that the marketer understands who the user is. The marketer will reference other databases of customer data for the purpose of filtering our existing connections with other behaviors to understand exactly what other attributes our customer base has. This is look-a-like modeling

How do marketers make People Based Marketing happen within their organization?

The first step is to take inventory of the assets they have. Take stock of the email lists, CRM data, device IDs and cookie data that are currently available to the enterprise. Understand whether they are organized in such a way that they can be activated, or whether there is work that needs to be done to make these data sets actionable.

The next step is to invest in infrastructure if it currently doesn’t exist. If it does exist, make sure the system is set up for success. You’ll need a data management platform to store all your data sets and allow the different data sets to cross-pollinate within the organization. In other words, you want your email list, your CRM data, your device IDs and cookie data to speak to each other and make all these data sets richer. Make connections and ensure that the users on your email list, where possible, are also connected to a device ID and cookie.

Finally, work with partners who can make these different data sets actionable. You’ll need a demand side platform to ingest large volumes of first party data. You’ll need an attribution partner to ensure your marketing dollars are spent in ways that result in business positive outcomes. You’ll need an enterprise wide buy-in to the concept of People Based Marketing to ensure that your different business groups all understand the value of this approach to marketing.

In summary, People Based Marketing represents a person-centric approach to the methods and modes of digital marketing. As marketers become more adept at reaching audiences scalably you’ll see a push to create more holistic views of marketers’ consumer connections through the use of People Based Marketing. In fact, I suspect these efforts to connect to the customer’s data will result in fundamental changes in the way that business decisions outside of marketing are made!

Check out the Digiday and LiveRamp white paper on People Based Marketing for more details.

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