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Verizon and AARP Tie It All Together

Brands like AARP and Verizon are well on their way to tying online interaction data with offline interaction data—such as contact center and direct mail conversations—to existing customer profiles. Representatives from each company described where they were respectively in the process during a panel at the 360i Digital Marketing Summit 2013 in Manhattan.

Over the last year, Verizon was able to begin breaking down data silos between offline and online sources by investing in a data management platform (DMP). Essentially, said Anne Hogan, the telecommunication giant’s executive director of consumer marketing, the DMP lets the company connect information as varied as cookie data, first- and third-party data, direct mail responses, and contact center interactions—all of which Verizon then ties to customer response statistics.

By attaching all of this information to customer and prospect records, Verizon can identify down to the household level who is actively interacting with the brand and who isn’t. Verizon can also link this data to periods of time, which Hogan says allows her team to create distinct strategies for different segments. For instance, Verizon can be more passive with frequently engaged users—whereas prospects who’ve been unengaged for, say, one year might require a more aggressive marketing approach like one-on-one interactions.

“We’re no longer serving [online] ads to certain people,” Hogan said. “We’re only showing prospect impressions to prospects and upsells only to existing customers. We’re fine-tuning our targeting, going after the right audiences, and improving conversion rates.”

Verizon’s investment in a DMP is an example of an initial outlay that yields quick results. “Prove out smaller costs, then move to the bigger stuff,” said Kevin Geraghty, 360i’s SVP of advanced analytics and decision sciences.

AARP, which has recently invested heavily in its social strategies, is undergoing a similar process in an effort to tie contact center interaction with social and digital data. Nataki Edwards, the organization’s VP of digital strategy and operations, wants to know more about the relationships its members have beyond AARP. To this end, AARP’s social log-in mechanism has, despite difficulty in the initial implementation, been a boon. “The information you get from social log-in is really powerful,” Edwards said. “You can track likes, see what people consume on [the AARP] site, and tie it to a member record.”

AARP is now trying to figure out how to apply this aggregated information. “We haven’t figured out what the insights are yet,” Edwards said. As part of this process of understanding, AARP established what Edwards described as a “data analytics Switzerland.”

“Marketers like to spin,” she confessed. “Even something that seems black-and-white like data.” The analytics team operates independently within AARP to supply the marketing team with honest interpretations. “They’re not influenced by what we need to work,” Edwards said. “Or about whether or not a campaign is failing.”

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