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Jenna Devinney
Jenna Devinney 12 December 2018

Data on-Boarding 101

Data Onboarding is a topic that’s been generating a lot of chatter in the marketing world lately. The MarTech industry has been buzzing by the potential of utilizing offline data for online marketing campaign purposes.  But why is it so important? What is offline and online data?

Data Onboarding 101   

How can you onboard it into an online space when there are so many data privacy obstacles in the way? Ultimately it is very important for marketers to reach the right person at the right time, whether offline or online.

In this blog post we will take a look at the importance of offline and online data, how to relate them, and most importantly - how to incorporate them into your marketing efforts.

What is Offline Data? 

While definitions can vary, for our purpose here offline data refers to information attached to offline identifiers such as a postal address or phone number. As we will see later on, online data refers to information attached to online identifiers such as Cookies or Mobile Ad Identifiers (MAID). 

Offline data is the process of collecting data from in-store purchases, sign-ups from retail loyalty cards, customer surveys, and other methods. Not to mention data that can be taken from Customer Relationship Management files or even bought directly from third-party data vendors in the offline world. 

Offline data is very important in order to build your marketing plan because it helps fill in the blanks from online transactions. No matter how much time a customer spends shopping online, those activities, transactions, and searches only show a small slice of who that customer is and how good of a fit they are for your brand and product. 

Offline data is very important today, but as mentioned before marketers have a hard time trying to connect offline and online users while dealing with obstacles like customer privacy.

What is Online Data?

Online data is exactly what it sounds like - it gathers online interests, behaviors, and interactions of customers across the online environment. Typically this data is collected by opt-in to cookies and other methods. This data is collected to provide consumer insights and preferences, which then can be used for the development of content, personalized messaging, and ad targeting. It is important to note that in the case of onboarding, email is almost always considered to be offline data that needs to be converted to a MAID (Mobile Ad Identifier) or Cookie.

What is Data Onboarding?

Data onboarding is the process of transferring offline data to an online space for marketing purposes. You are using Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to gather information from offline data to find your customers in the online environment. In a simple term, you are forming offline customer information with online users. 

The onboarding process involves not only matching but anonymizing, distributing (Not all onboarders distribute) and ingesting customer data. Offline data in the onboarding process can range from customer names, emails, phone numbers, postal, or IP Address. A vital part of the data onboarding process is anonymizing PII in order to protect the privacy of the customer. This creates an actionable anonymous identifier that connects the customer to the data without exposing PII. The step of matching offline and online data devices can include mobile device IDs or desktop browser cookies. Offline data for example could be the customers postal address or email address used to identify a match to a Digital ID - such as a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. Once onboarding is completed the resulting CRM Data and Sales transactions are now ready to be used for programmatic marketing.

CRM Data Onboarding is when data is sent to an online database and then is connected to an online audience which then can be used for online segments to display ads. 

Why is Onboarding beneficial? 

Who wouldn’t want the complete story of your customers? Combining online and offline data makes the process easier to personalize your messaging to your customers. It even helps with audience targeting and increasing the ROI from your marketing initiatives. 

Onboarding your offline data to your online data will help you better understand your customers wants and needs. The ads that you were sending to customers offline can now be sent to the same customer online, and your campaign just got significantly smarter. You can now reach your customers across a multitude of platforms. 

So, what are you waiting for?

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