Digital’s promise of unified data and one-to-one marketing always seems to be just out of reach for brands. There is always the perceived need for one more site relaunch, one more CRM system, or one more vendor.

In reality, very few brands effectively deploy data on a consistent basis, and brands may never achieve the perfect system for storing and leveraging customer data. However, one can’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Rather than throwing money at bloated data and targeting operations, brands should focus on incrementally improving data collection and deployment mechanisms.

L2’s Data & Targeting report scores brands on two variables: data capture and personalization on the brand site, and targeted marketing efforts across the web. Based on these scores, brands are then organized into four archetypes: Leaders, Streamliners, Data Miners, and Laggards.

Leaders are brands that effectively collect and leverage data — both on site and in targeted marketing. Leaders adopt advanced site features that add value to the overall experience, like guided selling tools and account customization features. They also leverage third-party vendors for programmatic retargeting, email campaign management, and site performance analysis.

Data and targeting

Streamliners collect less information than the average brand. However, they effectively use what they do collect to segment and market products to consumers. These brands are typified by streamlined account signup processes and effective use of implicit, site session-based data. However, the choice to opt for streamlined data collection means forgoing the possibility of more intricate segmentation.

Data Miners collect a ton of data in their interactions with consumers, but fail to take advantage of it by implementing an effective targeting strategy. These brands often make an initial investment in site data harvesting and then fail to invest in using that data for targeting efforts across the web.

Laggards do not collect or use consumer data effectively, missing an opportunity to put forward engaging and personalized content.

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