For those who attended Journey Summit 2017, the focus of the event was looking ahead to the future of digital marketing -moving from leads based marketing to people-based marketing.The sessions featured marketing, analytics and compliance experts from industry leading organizations such as Facebook, LUMA Partners, and Forrester, and sparked the sharing of insights and best practices from across industries.

As Ross Shanken, Founder and CEO of Jornaya, said in his opening remarks,“Our theme… is bridging from the world that a lot of us grew up in, in lead generation, to understanding how the broader digital marketing landscape can help impact us and our companies. And how we can help make more productive use of the new technologies and data that are available to us today.”

That theme resonated throughout the event, as the content and discussions drove home the need for organizations to understand what data they have, what data they need and which partners and platforms they will need to invest in to be able to execute and take advantage of emerging trends and best practices around people-based marketing.

While there was a lot of great content and discussion, here are 3 key takeaways and highlights from Journey Summit 2017:

1.The State of Digital Marketing and the Rise of People-based Marketing

In her session titled,“The State of Digital Marketing,”Gayle Meyers, CMO of LUMA Partners, discussed the current state of digital marketing and how the emergence of mobile as a platform is driving the shift toward people-based marketing. Given the use of multiple devices and platforms, traditional models, which rely upon cookies to target advertising are not as effective.

Knowing this, leading organizations such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook have built models called “walled gardens” for their customers, allowing for more secure and exclusive engagement between their brands, advertisers and consumers, and working across platforms. These models allow them to leverage personally identifiable, first-party data, provided as part of their user agreements to fuel this targeted engagement. This model of people-based marketing is something that the rest of the digital world is now trying to replicate.

As Gayle mentioned during the session,“People-based marketing, which uses first-party data to target real individuals, has emerged as the solution against proxies. People-based marketing solves the ecosystem’s issues and addresses current market dynamics. Unlike the cookie, which is tied to a web browser, not a person, and can expire or be deleted, in people-based marketing, first-party data is directly tied to an individual and can therefore be used to target users across any device or channel.

2. Identity Resolution is the Foundation of People-Based Marketing

If people-based marketing is the future, identity resolution is the foundation. This was the main topic of discussion, during a panel session featuring Dave Helmreich, COO, LiveIntent, Greg Holzwarth, SVP Client Analytics, SunTrust Bank, Fernando Borghese, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Digital Media Solutions and Tyler Putterman, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Publishers, LiveRamp. During the discussion, the panel defined identity resolution as leveraging data from both online and offline sources to more accurately and completely identify consumers and then map and understand their journeys and behavior.

Sometimes referred to as people-based marketing, identity resolution is key for marketers to be able to truly target their marketing programs to consumers and be able to have real and accurate attribution as to which activities consumers are really responding to. But in order to achieve true and accurate identity resolution, organizations need to understand what data that they have, what they need and which providers and resources they can turn to fill in the gaps and provide it.To be successful with identity resolution, Tyler Putterman stressed that organizations need to,“make sure that (their) executional teams, be that (their) marketing or media teams, are close to the data team. So, not only understanding what (data) assets (they) have. But how to leverage them.”

3. Finding the Right Data Mix Is Key to Enabling Identity Resolution and Driving Continuous Engagement

In order to successfully execute identity resolution, marketers need to have the right mix of data. This was one of the main topics covered during this session with Todd Jones, President, Retail Mortgage, BBMC Mortgage, Tracey Pickens, Monetization/Partner Analyst, The General Insurance, Rustam Irani, Vice President of Digital Marketing, Ultimate Medical Academy and Matthew Kemmerle, VP Contact Center Analytics, LoanDepot.

Among the topics covered during this session were the need to understand what data organizations have, who their target customers are and how to build the right data mix to optimize their analytics models and more effectively identify and market to the right consumers. As Tracey Pickens shared,“we are spending a lot of time with lifetime value and trying to find out what our perfect customer is. We take that and look to see if having the new data might help us get more of that customer.”

Once you know who your primary customers are, it is important to gather intent data so that you can understand where they are in their buying journey and when to engage with them. As Rustam Irani shared,“Six years ago, we had built out a demographic model. So, we have a pretty good idea of our key demographic. But there were indicators beyond that.”Those additional “indicators” and data allow marketers to analyze intent and behavior to identify customers who fit their profile, allowing them to focus their marketing programs and engagement efforts.

But as the panel agreed, it is also important to continue to test and evolve that data mix. Through testing and implementing different data models, organizations will ultimately find what data and mix will work. But it is important to realize that things will change. Often, a data mix will need to be adjusted as market conditions change. Through continuous testing and experimenting organizations can continue to evolve that mix and optimize how it is applied to ensure that marketers are consistently reaching those contacts who fit their customer profile.

The importance of understanding who an organization’s core customer is, was also underlined in the next session which was focused on continuous engagement. As Doug Weiss, Product Growth Manager for Facebook, Yvette Hatton, Project Management Manager for Wells Fargo and Eric Sidelman, VP Performance, Digital for Universal McCann discussed, leveraging data from multiple channels and sources is also key to better understanding who an organization’s customers are and where they are in their customer journey.

Using that data and integrating it to intelligently engage consumers across channels is strategically important. As Yvette Hatton commented,“we more and more pay attention to great brand experiences that are seamless and specific and everywhere.”

Being able to identify individual customers, understand how their behavior can be an indicator of needs and potential future purchases is key for performance marketers to drive continuous engagement. This aligns with a consumer’s desire for instant gratification and expectation that when they engage with brands via certain channels, they expect that brands will be listening and then be rapidly responsive. This same expectation carries over into every interaction that consumers have and fuels the need for continuous engagement which is driven by consumer intelligence and data.

As Doug Weiss shared,“because there’s now this expectation that the consumer has now shared all this information with you, that you know about it, even if you are in a totally different department or a different country.”So, while using data to fuel continuous engagement is strategically important for marketers, having the right data to do so in an intelligent and responsive manner is now part of a larger expectation from consumers.

In addition to these key takeaways, it was very clear from all of the sessions that the importance for marketers, data and lead providers and vendors to work together has never been more important. Building relationships throughout the marketing and analytics ecosystem is strategically important for organizations, as they build, implement and adjust their marketing strategies moving forward with a people-based marketing approach.For more insights, innovations and intelligence from Journey Summit 2017, click here to watch the full videos of the sessions.