Leveraging Customer Data for Growth Acceleration

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Raheem Akingbolu writes on how businesses can leverage on customer data to drive sales and accelerate brand growth in the market place.

First-party customer data is the most valuable data businesses own and is the starting point for any form of customer engagement. Now more than ever, the need for businesses to own and manage first-party data could be the difference between staying in business or going under.

Customer behaviour is dynamic and ever-changing as well as the landscape within which they operate (for instance the impact of COVID-19). The first step towards understanding and responding to customer needs is through data – to prevent churn and increase lifetime value.

First-party data refers to information business owners collect directly from their customers from various touchpoints – CRM, actions or interests demonstrated across their companies’ websites or apps, customer feedback and completed customer surveys. First-party data is usually consented and so privacy concerns surrounding it is minimal.

Over the years customer journey has become a multi-platform and multi-device, such that their footprint goes across various touchpoints including desktops, mobile phones, TVs, apps, watches and lots more – thereby creating the need for Advertisers to have a unified view of each customer. With the help of a number of tracking methods – including the use of third-party cookies, advertisers have been able to collect data and follow customer journeys and tailor ads to suit their preference and interests.

However, with customers’ increased attention to data privacy, stricter regulations to enforce compliance and phasing out third-party cookies, the ability to track customers and serve personalised Ads this same way is significantly threatened.

Speaking to THISDAY on how businesses could be able to leverage First-party data to serve personalised ads without third-party cookies, the Chief Executive Officer at Terragon, an enterprise marketing technology company, Mr Elo Umeh, said while third-party cookies are being phased out, first-party cookies, which businesses legitimately use to collect customers data, are here to stay and will play a prominent role in serving personalized ads.

He said: “Businesses that have had the foresight to invest in platforms like Terragon’s CDP to collect and manage their customer data have started to see significant growth based on improved business intelligence directly ascribed to insights generated by our CDP.

“They’ve been able to extract more value from their existing customers, acquire new customers through look-alike modeling against the over 108 million profiles available on our CDP and lower the cost of acquisition through targeted campaigns executed via the various online (web) and offline (mobile) channels available on the platform,”

Speaking further, he pointed out that Facebook which by design is the world’s largest repository of verified first-party data has listed Terragon as a partner for its Conversions API – a solution Facebook developed to prepare businesses for a post-cookie world.

“Interestingly an article by Forbes Agency Council states that “Facebook is in the best position to directly benefit from the transition away from third-party cookie data. Facebook can fill the cookie gap by serving as a “digital identity” source.” They state this because of the sheer amount of verifiable first-party data they have – over 2 billion active users as at Q4 2020.

This partnership adds credence to the work we have done, the value we have been adding to Businesses we’ve worked with over the years as well as our strong Data Governance,” he stated.

According to THISDAY findings, a number of solutions have been developed by various stakeholders and experts to solve for this new reality without cookies and they all have a common consensus, which is the need to leverage First-Party Data to enable personalisation of Ads to customers. This further highlights the importance and need for Businesses to invest in software capable of aggregating and managing data in a privacy-compliant manner such as a Customer Data Platform (CDP).

On savvy brands demonstrating the importance of first-party data, the Teragon CEO added that his company’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) was used by a top global FMCG Brand in Nigeria to surpass its target of building a verified database of their customers with 1 million first-party data.

“Owing to the success of the previous target, the brand is currently in discussion with us to grow that database to 4 million this year. A number of Top Tier banks have also been using our CDP to enrich their first-party database for various levels of customer engagement including cross-selling and upselling their products and they have reported an improvement in returns on their Ad spend.”

A CDP is designed to pull data from multiple sources and touchpoints and create a 360-degree view of each customer. This allows for personalised and contextual advertising. For instance, to market a specific brand of beer to male customers in the East during a premier league football match, as against a female in the North; or promote travel insurance to a Bank customer who just made a payment for a flight ticket.

On what is unique about the Terragon CDP, Umeh adds, “No one knows Africans like we do. We are the only Africa-founded Customer Data Platform (CDP) Company in the market today and the only Africa-founded CDP partner for the Facebook Conversions API.

“Our unique Telco integrations give us access to over 108 million consumer profiles, driving our enhanced market relevance and reach by offering seamless offline (mobile) and online (web) channel access and continuous data ingestion.

“With these very strong Unique Selling Propositions, some of the largest digital platforms from Google, Facebook, Telcos such as MTN, and several others have given a nod to our platform”

The Terragon CDP utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) and well modelled Machine Learning (ML) to allow Advertisers create lookalike audiences that mirror their best customers, thereby expanding their reach (beyond their existing customers), giving a higher chance of conversion and minimises the limitation of solely using first-party data for campaigns such as lead generation.