Just two years ago, only about 1.3 billion records were uploaded online. This may seem like a whole lot, but compare that to the 240 billion records uploaded in 2014 alone. In just two years, the data onboarding business, also known as Connectivity for jargon-savvy marketers, has exploded.
What is data onboarding?
Data onboarding is the process of culling consumer data generated offline and uploading it to the online space. Any piece of data – from bank relationships to customer service call interactions to retail transactions – can be used. These pieces of data, once uploaded, can be connected with an individual’s digital records to create a holistic idea of who they are, which gives marketers a broad scope to successful target potential leads.
This idea has been gaining traction across most industries that market to consumers online for years. However, due to privacy and data compliance issues, many industries have only slowly caught on. That’s because the data onboarding process can be highly regulated, depending on the company and the data they have or want. That being said, it’s worth jumping through the hoops. Data onboarding can draw together all the channel-specific data to create a fuller picture of your target or current consumer base and how you can adequately (and effectively) reach them. The data onboarding service can match customer data with online data via registration information gathered from dating or travel site partners. They can also link using cookies from a partner site to CRM databases. Once the connection is made, PII (Personal Identifying Information) is stripped. Therefore, before the data is delivered to site optimisation or ad retargeting platforms, there’s no way to identify an individual with the data.
Firms from highly-regulated financial services to banking to retail have been signing on to the data onboarding wave because of its ability to round out what has to date been a digitally –heavy consumer profile. Tracking consumer behaviour online, from on-site behaviour to browsing history, can be helpful, but adding offline data can often provide a missing link that helps marketers reaching consumers and speak to them in their own languages, tightly targeting need states and interests perhaps not fully understood through the partial digital profile.
Envano claims that, in fact, focusing on big data is worthless without onboarding. Companies that use onboarding can, for instance, be better when marketing to current customers, benefitting from carefully crafted look-alike models that emulate the consumer’s off and online behaviour to retarget, or draw parallels between online campaigns and in-store sales activity. This can quickly close the hole in what many marketers call ‘leakage’ the phenomenon in which a line is drawn between attributing consumer behaviour to specific marketing activity and essentially giving up due to lack of data.
Even when relegated to the digital realm, marketers are sitting on a heap of disconnected data. Connectivity, or data onboarding, helps to draw a connection between the disconnected channel-specific digital data you have by using offline data as the glue.