In the space of a few years, data has become the new battle horse for retailers and is revolutionizing customer relations by optimizing the customer experience. In the context of digitalization of customer journeys and driven by developments in the processing and targeting of prospects and consumers, we are witnessing a convergence of the various forms of customer data to create a new ecosystem that is increasingly valued. Who are the players in this new data ecosystem? What is their approach? How are retailers integrating data into their business models?

A new ecosystem

In a study published on January 8, 2018, Mediapost Communication, in association with BVA Limelight, estimates the French market for data for marketing use at €1.7 billion in 2016. This represents a growth of 6.3% compared to 2015 and +26% in 5 years.

Mediapost Communication, a subsidiary of La Poste Group, which is active in data, media and relationship marketing, and the B-to-B research and consulting firm BVA Limelight, have joined forces to quantify this new data ecosystem and map its players.

To build this analysis of the data market, Mediapost Communication and BVA Limelight have considered the following indicators

  • data for BtoB and BtoC marketing/communication use, such as individual data that can be used to carry out communication campaigns.
  • companies with a turnover in France of more than 1 million euros.

Even if the data market is constantly seeing the emergence of new players providing digital solutions, we are also seeing internal movements with the repositioning of certain players. These players are trying to create new business opportunities with higher added value, either to get out of a segment that is losing momentum or because they are developing solutions that broaden their scope of intervention.

The work allowed us to map 293 companies divided into 4 segments according to the data life cycle (some players may be positioned in several segments according to a breakdown of their revenue). Here they are:

  1. Data sales and leasing: the largest segment, with €582M, is down 26% in 5 years. The broking market has collapsed by 61% while targeting solutions and direct marketing of data by publishers, although still marginal in this market, are growing strongly (+58% to reach €30 million).
  • Analysis and intelligence (data mining, consulting): represents €406 million, up 79% in 5 years, driven by data mining and consulting with +71% and +107% respectively.
  • Broadcasting and targeting (RTB data, routing solutions): represents €371 million and has grown by 60% in 5 years, boosted by RTB data (+50%) and mobile routing solutions (x5). However, this segment has been tarnished by multi-channel routing solutions.
  • Structuring, storage, and hosting: up 63% in 5 years.

These figures confirm the acceleration of resources allocated to this sector, which has become key for marketing and retail players. With the customer-centric vision, it is the very prism of the business that is changing and transforming the classic marketing calendar into a conversation to be fed over time. Moreover, this maturity finally acquired allows marketing and IT issues to be aligned to formalize a global vision of the customer journey and abolish the silos in organizations. It is no longer the brand that decides on a schedule with messages to be sent on such and such a date, it is the consumer’s behavior that triggers the sending of contextualized and personalized messages. This is the ambition of inbound and automation marketing, but to make them operational and efficient, it will be necessary to ensure a solid and continuous training of the teams.

The industrialization of data

Companies have become relatively efficient at storing their data. Data onboarding and Data Management Platforms are now part of the daily vocabulary of retailers, allowing them to increase customer knowledge.

In this context, retailers are facing several challenges. The first one is the growing challenge of omnichannel: more and more channels and an increased need to harmonize messages regardless of the contact point, thus requiring gathering customer data on a single platform.

In this respect, synchronizing CRM data with behavioral data from the DMP is essential. It is indeed the mix of cold data (CRM) and hot data (DMP), and therefore a holistic view of each customer, that will guarantee a relevant contextualization of messages.

Retailers have understood that the other major challenge of data is to master these approaches to prepare for the next revolutions that will be embodied by predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It is therefore essential not to fall behind and to master existing data.

Finally, transparency and privacy are key issues in data management. The deadline for the implementation of the RGDP law at the end of May is a real issue for companies.

Given the impact of this law on practices and the magnitude of the sanctions at stake, retail players cannot ignore the issue of consumer data protection. Beyond the purely legal aspect, the RGDP must also be an opportunity for professionals to ask themselves the right questions: the growing demand of consumers for transparency and trust must lead brands to review their data exploitation policies.

Companies must refocus their tactics on the quality of their data management and the value of the messages they offer, rather than on the volume of audience the reached.

The production of intelligent content

With better data management, strategies can be refined to offer customers content that is adapted to the moment, the device, and the need, thanks to inbound and automation techniques.

It is then necessary to think about content according to its targets, consumer profiles, moments in the marketfunnelnnel, media used… It is on this basis that brands can imagine a global vision of content strategies throughout the buying process by multiplying formats, subjects etc.

The goal is to build a rich, diversified, and segmented content bank according to each situation (purchase tunnel, purchase history, etc.), each market and each customer profile. The Moët Hennessy brand, for example, has implemented a digital asset management solution with Adobe. This tool, called AIR, makes it possible to provide different countries with content segmented by market.

As we can see, the challenge for brands is to choose the right technological solution that will allow them to store and distribute the right content on the right channel and at the right time, according to the scenarios imagined beforehand. This optimization will allow to multiply the messages at the right occasions and to avoid messages considered as too intrusive.

Would you like to get more information about data interpretation? Contact us today.

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