Why Data Scale is the Foundation of Better Marketing Outcomes

By Stephen Law, Media Center of Excellence, IRI

With consumer needs changing as fast as how media is consumed, CPG advertisers are more challenged than ever to keep up with capturing consumer attention. The average consumer already gets bombarded with more than 5,000 advertisements a day, the majority of which are either ignored or swiped and clicked away. Simply put, if an advertisement is not “tuned in” to the moment for a consumer, it will be “tuned out”, possibly for good. The result is thousands, perhaps even millions, of wasted ad dollars. So how can advertisers remain relevant to consumers in such a super-fast paced environment?

You can’t walk into an ad agency or a CPG brand marketing department today without overhearing a conversation about data, including the request for “more data, please!”  (Of course, how data can and should be used is an entirely separate conversation.) Given the increasing importance of data, one of the hottest topics in the past few years has been CPG advertisers wanting to build their own data lakes or data clouds through big data partnerships or, at the very least, having direct access to one. 
Why is having access to data at scale so important for advertisers? Because marketers know that using scalable data helps them deliver more successful campaigns.

Here are three reasons why data scale is important:

  • Recency and Reach.  You may wonder, “Isn’t this what television advertising has been doing for the past 50+ years?”  Well, sort of. TV is no doubt a reach-driving medium. However, it has mostly taken a more broad approach based on basic audience demographics. Although mass reach is great to drive overall awareness of your brand, you may or may not be hitting your most relevant consumers. High quality, scalable data that has been recently and ethically sourced allows marketers to reach those who have the greatest likelihood of becoming (or remaining) a customer. The right data, including on consumers’ actual purchasing habits, allows brands to target the best and most actionable audiences that will drive growth for their business. 
  • Precision and Accuracy.  How did Stephen Curry (the best 3-point shooter in the NBA) become one of, if not the best? Practice and repetition. Hours and hours of practice and gathering “data” and information about how and when to release the ball out of his shooting hand led to a more precise technique and a more accurate shot. Just like in basketball, the more substantial and relevant data points a marketer can use in the right way, the more precise and accurate their campaigns will be. Precise audiences and accurate accountability in measurement come from quantities of relevant data.
  • Efficiency.  With more data to allow for more informed decision making, marketers are able to deliver campaigns with greater efficiency. Less dollars are wasted going after the wrong consumers and at inopportune times during their purchase journey when the campaign message may cause inaction. Why not be more confident that your ad dollars are well spent on decisions that will have a greater outcome of conversion and success? And, of course, with less dollars needed, marketers can see higher gains in their overall return on advertising spend.

Access to scalable, recent and relevant data should be at the top of the priority list for CPG marketers so that they can make better and more data-driven decisions - driving the right message, to the right person, at the right place and the right moment. There are many big data providers in the market today but only a few have the scalability of data sources that are most relevant to the CPG, retail and over-the-counter health industries in terms of purchase, causal and loyalty data, which are the highest indicators of consumer conversion. Make sure that whoever you use has the scale you need to drive better results.