Traditional advertising has been under fire for some time. The Wall Street Journal writes that “TV Ad Sales [is] on Shaky Ground”. The article “Spray and Pray: Why Does Anyone Still Buy Advertising?” points out that traditional advertising is spray and pray, where the best you can do is post-fact correlation.

The answer in vogue today to go beyond spray and pray is to shift to digital advertising, which provides better audience targeting and tuning. Forrester Research forecasts, which support this trend, project that spending on US digital advertising will overtake TV in 2016 and will reach $103 billion by 2019 (US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 To 2019, November 2014, Forrester Research, Inc.). That’s a lot of ads!

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At Stellar Loyalty, we believe the move to digital advertising is only a stepping stone and not the final answer. Let’s take a look at the limitations of audience targeting with digital advertising. A thriving cottage industry to track and know-your-viewer emerged over the last 10 years by tracking browser cookies. These Digital Management Platforms (DMPs), such as Bluekai and Acxiom, lack personal identifiable information and compensate by creating probabilistic profiles of each digital consumer.

• First, howsoever good these probabilistic profiles become, they will still be just that – probabilistic.

• Second, privacy efforts such as the “Do Not Track” from Stanford Law School, strike at the heart of such profiling schemes by blocking cookies. In November 2014, Yahoo announced that it will “start honoring consumers’ do not track requests.” It’s only a matter of time until “Do Not Track” is enabled by default in major browsers (see Firefox Web browser to move ahead plan to block tracking).

• Third, the move away from web apps to mobile apps also changes the consumer-tracking game. For example, Apple is rejecting apps that use cookie-tracking methods or MACaddress tracking (see Apple Rejecting Apps Using Cookie-Tracking Methods…).

In summary, the future is murky for advertising targeting based on cookie-tracking based probabilistic profiles

So what’s a marketer to do?

We believe the clue lies in how Facebook, Apple and Google are delivering accurate audience targeting on their networks. Because consumers have logins to Facebook, Apple, and Google, these three companies know exactly “who you are”.

The good news is that brand managers own a large set of data about their customers that no one else has, not even Facebook, Apple, and Google. This is the data about consumer transactions that live in their transactional and loyalty systems.

With a Stellar Loyalty solution, brand managers can unlock the rich set of brand-only data such as online and retail store visits, purchase and return history, loyalty redemptions, favorite products and preferences, customer service interactions. Then, they can mine this valuable data for high accuracy predictive indicators to deliver a personalized and relevant experience to their consumers.

However, at Stellar Loyalty we can help brands not only know their customers extremely well but do even better.

We enable brands to engage with their customers throughout the customer’s use lifecycle and interject appropriate communications at relevant milestones.

This is similar to B2B marketing where appropriate communications are targeted to a prospect through the various stages of the buying funnel; in this case, instead of a buying funnel, brands can engage throughout the consumer lifecycle.

To illustrate, let’s take a sports scenario as an example.

Kevin’s daughter is a high school athlete. Instead of simply targeting her with purchasing-related communications such as offers, a sports vendor can earn her loyalty by continually engaging with her throughout her training season.

For example, the sports vendor could send her best practices, tips, and other relevant articles. Through this continued engagement, the vendor would be able to not only predict her purchasing events but also understand her exact needs, and make the right suggestion at the right time.

This is what we call “Know and Grow”.