Find More of Your Best Customers with Look-Alike Modeling

Although I love talking about cross-channel campaign management year-round, fall is a great time to sneak in a conversation or two about golf. If you had a chance to catch the 2015 BMW Championship, then you were in for a show right from the start. During the opening round of this year’s event, No. 1 ranked golfer in the world Jordan Spieth fired off a hole-in-one on the par-3 2nd hole from 196 yards out. No wonder he’s No. 1.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to hit a hole-in-one on the golf course, but I imagine the marketing equivalent of acing the hole must be finding one’s best customer: the customer that fully engages with a brand’s mission, is loyal to the cause, and sings the praises of favorite enterprises from city sidewalks to towering rooftops. These customers are known as high-value customers, and are the customers that every brand seeks. But much like sinking a hole-in-one off the tee, these customers can occasionally seem just as elusive.

Perfect shots do happen, especially in marketing. And if a marketer sinks a hole-in-one once, then theoretically those results can be repeated, right? With the right tools and a concrete digital marketing strategy, nothing can hold marketers back from turning a single, exhilarating ace into a thousand. So what can marketers do to duplicate their most high-valued customers to gain further reach during their next marketing campaigns?

Look-Alike Modeling and Your Marketing Strategy

Golf and marketing have a lot in common. Play the game long enough and you’ll discover the same things that drive golfers both amateur and professional keep marketers going day in and day out. Things like choosing the best strategy for a particular challenge, executing that strategy with care and precision, and analyzing the results before applying what works and what doesn’t to the next game (or campaign).

When searching for more of your best customers, one of the best strategies you can deploy as a digital marketer is look-alike modeling. Look-alike modeling is a powerful tool for targeting new, high-value customers, but many marketers don’t have a clear grasp of what this modeling method involves. According to last year’s “State of the Industry” report from Digiday, 25 percent of digital marketers surveyed admitted they had no idea what look-alike modeling is. So how does look-alike modeling work?

Look-alike modeling helps organizations target new customers by taking information gathered from their most high-valued customers and using that data to find more customers with similar interests and behavior. By leveraging best-customer data to find matching personas through third-party datasets, marketers can deploy relevant marketing messages that connect with thousands of prospective customers that share the same interests and traits as their most high-valued customers.

In other words, you’re taking your best customers and, with a little help from a state-of-the-art data management platform, creating thousands more just like them.

Being able to create look-alikes of your best customers may mean serious gains for your brand as well. According to the Digiday survey, the most proficient advertisers deploying look-alike modeling realized five times the return on investment (ROI) in audience targeting. When it comes to marketing success, five times the ROI counts as a hole-in-one any day of the week.

Look-Alike Modeling and Adobe: Acing Best-Customer Acquisition

Creating more of your best customers doesn’t have to be rocket science. Many brands struggle with leveraging relevant data to deploy campaigns targeting potential customers most likely to engage because of departmental siloes and disconnected databases. The failure to break these departmental barriers prevents data management platforms from working with campaign management solutions to provide enterprises with a singular, integrated cross-channel solution for their marketing campaigns.

“This is where data management platforms (DMP) and campaign management solutions come in. Being able to leverage anonymized data from your campaign management solution to create high-value look-alike audiences in your DMP not only streamlines the cross-channel marketing experience, but will also extend the reach of your enterprise, putting your marketing messages in front of more interested and high-value prospects.

In fact, one of the key features of the recent integration of Adobe Campaign and Adobe Audience Manager is the ability to help brands activate cross-channel experiences by leveraging data like loyalty status and customer purchase history to create look-alikes for brands to engage in future marketing campaigns. This capability helps brands extend their reach to audiences that are actually interested in the offers being presented, increasing potential for conversions through relevant messages that connect with consumers.

Look-alike modeling also produces several benefits such as helping brands increase revenues while boosting marketing efficiency in the process. When marketers can find more of their best customers to deliver offers to, everyone wins.

In Closing

Look-alike modeling is a lot like hitting a hole-in-one on the golf course, but instead of leaving a repetition of the perfect shot up to chance, today’s marketers can evaluate the elements—or data—that went into acing the hole before applying that to their next tee shot, increasing the likelihood of reproducing their best shots again and again.

If only golfers could replicate their best shots as easily as enterprises can multiply their best customers with the right marketing integration. Until that day comes, we’ll just have stick to good old-fashioned guesswork around the greens.