Nathan Kangpan
Jan 9, 2024

Why digging deeper into humanity is the next big step forward for digital marketing

It’s easy to lose sight of real people and cultural context when examining data. If your brand campaigns are oblivious to what’s happening around them then they will not perform as well.

Why digging deeper into humanity is the next big step forward for digital marketing
With the news cycle and memes flickering by faster than ever before, Nathan Kangpan, chief information officer, Kepler outlines why having access to real-time data allows businesses to make intelligent decisions, adjust marketing strategies and take advantage of the moment. 
How much can conventional digital marketing measurement data tell us about people? It’s worth pondering as in many ways the performance orientated shape of the digital advertising and wider marketing world is dictated by the kind of information we’re able to produce, track and analyse in real-time.
We can see how different groups of people categorised with similar characteristics or behaviours react to or engage with brand messages. And we can work out how these groups or collections of anonymous individuals travel through the funnel, and test and understand what works and what doesn’t to reach a desired conclusion.
The reality is that given the regulatory regimes that quite rightly protect people’s privacy, our insight into our audience's needs and behaviours have become much more limited in recent years. In many ways, brand campaigns run in tunnel vision without factoring the trends and influences going on in society.
Cultural memes, trends, fashions, music, drama, political ideas and behaviours are in constant flux. Behavioural patterns can come and go within weeks, days or even hours, but many brand campaigns run in splendid isolation to all of this.
Enabling brands to engage with the world in real-time
In the fast-paced digital landscape we now find ourselves in, there’s a real need for brands to respond to market changes and consumer trends as and when they happen. Having access to real-time data allows businesses to make intelligent decisions, adjust marketing strategies and use emerging opportunities.
For example, if a sudden trend or consumer sentiment emerges, brands need to able to respond by adjusting their messaging or offerings immediately. This level of responsiveness fosters a sense of relevance and personalisation, resonating positively with their audience.
Additionally, real-time control allows for updated strategies, targeted promotions, and personalised recommendations. By integrating this human element, brands can demonstrate empathy, creativity and understanding, helping to humanise the brand itself. It also improves customer satisfaction and instils brand loyalty.
Having access to real-time information empowers businesses to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge in an ever-changing market. Not only do data-driven decisions result in more successful and insight-driven paid media campaigns, but they also stimulate media planning creativity - helping to identify and understand how people are using new technologies and media, reacting to or creating different types of content, and how this can be embraced.
Adding humanity back into measurement
Right now, the audience measurement game is being disrupted fundamentally by the expected disappearance of third-party cookies this year - forcing brands into a period of experimentation with marketing mix modelling, privacy-safe identity graphs, and first party data (if you have it) fed into new platform technologies. Therefore, there’s never been a better time to add humanity back into the measurement mix.
Our thinking at Kepler about the evolution of digital marketing strategically has homed in on two inter-related areas of development. Firstly, brands need to have far richer, always-on data insights to optimise the performance of marketing, and secondly that creative optimisation must be brought far closer to media investment planning and optimisation.
Our recently announced partnership with YouGov allows us to achieve a step change in the granularity of the information we know about people on a day-to-day basis, enhancing our marketing performance through campaigns tailored to the preferences and values of our client’s target audience.  YouGov Profiles data allows us to gain a deep understanding of consumer sentiments, preferences, and behaviours in near real-time in a consumer privacy-safe way, whilst YouGov BrandIndex tracks consumer perception and sentiment towards brands, also in near real-time.
Having access to a continuous stream of rich data enables marketers to keep their brand activity apace with what’s happening and plug gaps in outdated or incomplete consumer information. Moreover, these tools offer a level of granularity in consumer profiling that is often hard to obtain through traditional methods. This allows businesses to tailor their strategies to better meet the needs of their audiences.
We couple these insights with our proprietary measurement technology such as KIP MMM. We built this flexible market mix model to dynamically assess how strategies targeting these different audiences and their emerging behaviours are performing. This combination of in-depth consumer insight and more accurate measurement is a powerful combination for driving business results.
Staying ahead of the curve
At the end of the day, the performance of digital media investment depends on relevancy to daily life. If your brand campaigns are oblivious to what’s happening around them, if they are out of step with reality, then obviously they will not perform as well.
But it’s not just about campaign performance, the wider halo effect of brand perception is vital. Advertising is just part of the increasingly sophisticated 360 customer experience marketing. It feeds directly into customer satisfaction and brand loyalty and so has a longer-lasting impact on customer relationship cycles.
Modern life has changed radically in the last twenty years, in large part because of the impact technology has had on what we can do, what we know, how we understand things and how we respond. But there are many other forces such as economic realities, climate change and conflicts that also have a big, ongoing impact on people.
Understanding these forces and being able to respond at pace to how they are shaping society and culture will become an essential element in the future of digital marketing.

By Nathan Kangpan
Chief information officer, Kepler
Performance Marketing World

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