Online marketing is changing all the time. One of the biggest new developments of the last few years is the rise of people-based marketing (PBM). PBM is starting to replace older marketing technologies, such as third-party cookies, and many marketers think it’s the wave of the future. So what exactly is PBM?
In a nutshell, people-based marketing is marketing directed at individuals, not anonymous cookies or statistics. To do PBM, companies use a variety of techniques to build a profile for a single, real human. Then they use the information they’ve gathered to market directly to that person. The idea is similar to that of using buyer personas, but even more specific and targeted.
How do companies build these individual profiles? Three main “anchors” help them connect the dots. The first of these anchors is login and profile information. Major sites like Facebook and Amazon can learn a lot about their individual users simply by looking at their profile data, purchase history, and other readily available information.
The second anchor is called a device graph. Companies keep track of which devices people use to log in to their site. For instance, the same person might log in to Facebook from a desktop computer and then from a smartphone. That provides Facebook with some potentially useful information about the person’s technology ownership and habits.
Companies can also build user device graphs with the help of cross-identification technology. This technology tracks visitors’ locations, IP addresses, and browsing habits to create individual profiles for users. Cross-device identification technology is highly accurate, even if a user doesn’t log into the same account from more than one device.
The third anchor that companies use to gather information about someone is called a persistent ID. A persistent ID is some kind of identification that the person uses regularly, in multiple contexts. Addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers are all examples of a persistent ID that a person might use in many different places – for instance, while shopping online, making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, updating a social media profile, or signing up for an in-person event.
In the future, probabilistic techniques may improve to the point where individual profiles aren’t necessary for marketing anymore. In other words, marketers might eventually be able to target users based on statistics, not individual behaviors. Right now, though, people-based marketing is based on just that – people. An accurate, comprehensive understanding of real-life individuals helps companies understand how to market more effectively to their user base.
In conclusion, people-based marketing is experiencing a boom in popularity, and it’s still growing and evolving all the time. Today’s PBM may not be what PBM looks like in five years. One thing is certain, though: PBM is paving the way for marketing to become even more personalized and targeted in the future.