How Looker is helping marketers optimize workflows with first-party data
It’s no secret that first-party data will become increasingly important to brands and marketing teams as they brace for transformation and unlock new, engaging ways of providing consumer experiences. The pain points that marketers are experiencing today (siloed data preventing complete customer view, non-actionable insights, and general data access issues) are coming into focus as marketers prepare to wean off third-party data that the industry has grown so accustomed to, and begin efforts to truly harness their organizations’ first party data.
While gathering first-party data is a critical first step, simply collecting it doesn’t guarantee success. To pull away from the competition and truly move the needle on business objectives, marketers need to be able to put their first-party data to work. How can they begin realizing value from their organizations’ first-party data?
In May, Looker and Media.Monks (formerly known as MightyHive) hosted a webinar, “Using Data to Gain Marketing Intelligence and Drive Measurable Impact,” that shared strategies brands have used to take control of their data. Brands are relying on technology to make that happen, and in these cases, the Looker analytics platform was key to their success.
However, technology alone isn’t a silver bullet for data challenges. It’s the ability to closely align to the principles outlined below that will help determine a brand’s success when it comes to realizing the value of their first-party data. While technology is important, you need to have the right mix of talent, processes and strategies to bring it to life.
If you have data that nobody can access, what use is having this data?
Siloed or difficult-to-access data has only a fraction of the value that portable, frictionless data has. And data, insights and capabilities that can’t be put in the right hands (or are difficult to understand) won’t remain competitive in a market where advertisers are getting nimbler and savvier every day.
A large part of making data frictionless and actionable lies in the platforms you use to access it. Many platforms are either too technical for teams to understand (SQL databases) or pose too much of a security risk (site analytics platforms) to be shared with the wider team of stakeholders who could benefit from data access.
Ease of use becomes incredibly important when considering the velocity and agility that marketers require in a fast-changing world. In the webinar’s opening, Elena Rowell, Outbound Product Manager at Looker, noted that the foundational data requirement for brands is to have “the flexibility to match the complexity of the data.”
Knowing your customer
While the transformation to become a best-in-class data driven marketing organization may look like a long, arduous process, it really is not. Elena instead views it as an iterative journey along which brands can quickly capture value. “Every incremental insight into customer behavior brings us one step closer to knowing the customer better,” she said. “It’s not a switch you flip - there’s so much value to be gained along the way.”
She showed how Simply Business, a UK based insurance company, took this approach. First, they implemented more data-driven decision-making by building easy access to more trustworthy data using Looker. They could look in depth at marketing campaigns and implement changes that needed to be made along the way. They started to build lists in Looker that enabled better targeting and scheduled outbound communication campaigns.
The original goal was to better understand what was going on with marketing campaigns, but as they put the data and intelligence stored in it to work, Simply Business found value at every step.
Insights for impact
Ritual, an e-commerce, subscription-based multivitamin service, needed a way to measure the true impact of their acquisition channels & advertising efforts. They understood that an effective way to grow the business is by having insights into which ads & messaging were creating the greatest impact and what was resonating with their current and prospective customers.
Ritual chose to use Looker, which offers marketers interactive access to their company’s first-party data. During the webcast, A 360-View of Acquisition, Kira Furuichi, Data Scientist, and Divine Edem, Associate Manager of Acquisition at Ritual, explained how an e-commerce startup makes use of platform and on-site attribution data to develop a multifaceted understanding of customer acquisition and its performance.
Ritual now has insights into not only the traffic channels are bringing to the site, but how customers from each of those channels behave after they arrive. This leads to a better overall understanding of how products are really resonating with customers. Their consumer insights team shares that information with the acquisition team so they can collaborate to make overall decisions, especially in Google Ads. Deeper insights into ad copy and visuals help the teams hone in on what the prospective customer is looking for as they browse for new products to add to their daily routine. They also found it fosters collaboration with other internal teams invested in this sector of business as growth and acquisition is a huge part of the company strategy overall.
Edem contributed saying, “having an acquisition channel platform like Google being synced into our Looker helps other key stakeholders on the team outside of acquisition, whether it's the product team, the engineering team, or the operations name - being able to understand the channel happenings and where there's room for opportunity. Because it's such a huge channel and having Looker being able to centralize and sync all that information makes the process a little less overwhelming and really helps us to see things through a nice magnifying glass.”
Access, analyze, and activate first-party data
Marketing is typically in the backlog of integration work and IT teams often don’t have domain marketing knowledge. Every brand’s data needs are different. This is where Media.Monks can step in with expertise to guide the process and marshall technical resources to deliver against your roadmap. Having a combination of both domain marketing expertise and deep experience in engineering and data science, Media.Monks helps brands fill the void left by a lack of internal resources and accelerate their data strategies.
With the Looker extension framework partners can develop custom applications that sit on top of and interact with Looker to fit unique customers needs. These custom Looker applications allow Media.Monks to equip customers with not just read-only dashboards, but tools and interfaces to actually trigger action across other platforms and ecosystems.
For instance, Media.Monks recently developed a Looker application that allows a marketer to define a first party audience from CRM data, submit that audience to Google’s Customer Match API, and ultimately send the audience to a specific Google Ads account for activation. The entire end-to-end process is performed within a single screen in Looker, and makes a previously daunting and error-prone process able to be completed in a few minutes by a non-technical user.
We know that breaking down silos, making data available across your organization, and building paths to activate is critical. Looker as a technology makes it much easier but it still takes expertise, effort and time to make it work for your needs and that is where our experience and the GC [Google Cloud] partner ecosystem comes in.
With the Looker platform, the potential for new data experiences are endless and with the right partner to support your adoption, deployment and use cases, you can accelerate your speed to value at every step of your transformation journey.
Gain a more accurate understanding of ad channel performance to minimize risk of ad platforms over-reporting their own effectiveness
Uncover insights on what resonates with customers to enable better optimization of ad copy and creative
And democratize data within the company for stakeholders that need it. IIntegrations with collaboration tools like Google Sheets and Slack provides value for people on the team even if they have limited access to Looker.
To learn more about how to approach first party data and how brands have found success using Looker, check out the webinar and see some of these strategies in action. Additionally, you can register to attend the LookerJOIN annual conference where we will be presenting, “3 Ways to Help Your Marketing Team Stay Ahead of the Curve.” Look for it under the Empowering Others with Data category.
There is no cost to attend JOIN. Register here to attend sessions on how Looker helps organizations build and deliver custom data-driven experiences that goes beyond just reports and dashboards, scales and grows with your business, allows developers to build innovative data products faster, and ensures data reaches everyone.