The Overlooked Gold Mine of First-Party Purchase Data

Posted by Jonathan R. Pinney on Mar 5, 2017 4:58:34 PM

How to Create, Capture, & Leverage First-Party Purchase Data to Drive Meaningful Growth (part 1 of 2)

Author: Jonathan R. Pinney

Not all digital coupons are created equal.

You may be asking why that matters in a conversation about data.

It matters because the right digital coupons can provide you with a deep well of first-party data that you can’t get anywhere else. The right digital coupon can tie a specific consumer to the online engagement that activated their purchase intent and resulted in an actual purchase, closing the online-to-offline path-to-purchase loop and giving insight into how other consumers could be activated in a similar way.

Unfortunately, most brands overlook this data or don’t even know it’s available.

Following is how to create, capture, and leverage this often-overlooked gold mine of first-party
purchase data.

A Gold Mine for Both CPG and Retail

At RevTrax, through our various partnerships and client relationships, we’ve found that this often-overlooked source of first-party data can create great impact and empower meaningful growth.

As mentioned above, first-party purchase data is actual purchase behavior (including intent and actual transactions) that you can measure and track through your owned and paid media channels. It can be tied to specific individuals, and it’s available even if you don’t control the point of sale.

For most ecommerce and retail businesses, some of this first-party data is easy to come by—you own the POS and ecommerce systems that capture it.

For CPGs and manufacturers that do not sell your products directly, however, this data can be difficult to obtain—especially in any form that is not aggregated, modeled, or owned by another party.

Luckily, the right digital coupons can be employed by both retailers and CPGs to create and capture greater amounts of individualized purchase data: tying specific consumer purchases (online and offline) to all online marketing channels and tactics. This information can be used to generate a data well from which smarter decisions can be made. It can also be added to existing data warehouses and data management platforms, enabling deeper insights and driving greater results.

The Data Found in the Gold Mine

Today, most retailers and consumer goods companies are collecting first-party data. It comes from their websites, emails, apps, media campaigns, and any other source from which actionable data and insights can (or could) be derived. 

Any source, that is, except coupons.

With so much focus being placed on tying online engagement to offline purchases, it’s a surprise so many organizations overlook an easy and abundant source of this first-party data—the digital coupons they are already distributing.

The following types of data can all be tied to individual consumers via a digital coupon—enabling
measurement of each source’s direct impact on actual purchase intent and offline behavior, or enabling measurement of the behavior itself:

  1. Media (where specific consumers engage: channel, keyword, affiliate, placement, publisher, platform, device, etc.)
  2. Message (what drives and impacts engagement: creative, language, images, framework, etc.)
  3. Offer (what works best: value, requirements, bundling, etc.)
  4. Online engagement (who engages and how: views, prints, purchase intent by specific consumers and consumer segment)
  5. Purchase preferences (redemption, retailer(s) of choice, purchase frequency, etc.)
  6. Survey responses (self-reported data gathered before or after the digital coupon engagement—does it match actual behavior? Is there anything else you want to learn about these consumers?)
  7. Call center impact (actions, effectiveness, and consumer response; digital and serialized print coupons can be utilized in your consumer care channel to measure specific consumer reactions.)
  8. Audience segment behavior (what works best with specific consumer demographics and psychographics?)
  9. Consumer intent and position in the purchase funnel

Are you collecting this data?  Are you able to tie each of these data points to direct consumer 

purchase behavior?

Can you see the value in using this data to enhance your current and future marketing efforts?

Most of our cutting-edge clients are already using this data to improve everything from individual emails being sent (personalizing specific messages and offers) to online marketing campaigns across all channels (optimizing based on actual purchase behavior). This data makes them smarter, more targeted, and more effective—giving them a greater advantage in the marketplace.

The opportunities are vast with such specific and high-quality first-party data, all generated and tied together through the vehicle of a digital coupon.

So how can you make sure your digital coupons are capturing this data for you? The next section will show you how.

How to Capture First-Party Consumer Purchase Behavior

Capturing the data is easy and relies on a single, vital tool: an intelligent, flexible, incentive and promotion platform that can capture one-to-one coupon engagement through individualized coupons.

With the right platform, you can tie any online engagement parameter to a specific coupon and follow it through to an individual redemption by a known (or anonymous) consumer.

There are many digital coupon platforms in the market today, but most are either not sophisticated enough to capture the data or are capturing the data for their own use—giving you access to portions of it while hoarding the rest for their own gain (oftentimes using your marketing dollars to increase their audience instead of yours).

The nuts and bolts of capturing the data include tying your online campaigns (whether media, social, CRM, etc.) to the coupon experience. Once that connection is made, a personalized coupon is distributed to each specific consumer, allowing the redemption data to be gathered and connected to the online data.

At RevTrax, we work with forward-thinking marketers and insights teams to enable this data capture and then make sure all relevant data is accessible and transferred to the appropriate locations.

Once the data is being captured, it can be employed in a variety of ways, as detailed in the following section. 

Leveraging Your Golden First-Party Purchase Data

The primary reason for collecting any type of data is to use that data to learn. Gaining actionable insights and turning them into tangible, substantive business results is the future of marketing.

Some might even say it is the now of marketing as most companies have data plans and infrastructures in place. As time passes, leveraging data will only become more ubiquitous and powerful.

While some companies may still struggle to use their data effectively, the first-party purchase data available through digital coupons can easily be employed. An enterprise approach to big data is not necessary to benefit from this data (though the more you can use the data, the greater impact it will make). That bears repeating – getting and using this data does not require investment in additional infrastructure.

We’ve seen brands use the first-party purchase data they collect through RevTrax digital promotions in a variety of ways—each driving greater growth and improved business results.

The following are the most common ways we have seen this data employed.

Intelligent Coupon Distribution

  1. Personalizing offers based on purchase intent, frequency, and prior redemption.
  2. Targeting offers to drive specific consumer actions (i.e. cross-promoting other products/brands/departments).
  3. Continuity and lifecycle marketing—delivering offers to ensure your consumers continue purchasing your product and graduate up to premium products or brands supporting later lifecycle stages (i.e. baby to toddler).

Enhancing Enterprise CRM Profiles

  1. Verifying and measuring household loyalty and purchase patterns across your brands and departments.
  2. Identifying household retailers of choice and using that data to activate shopper programs (for CPGs).
  3. Identifying and increasing household share of requirements and customer lifetime value.

Behavioral Testing & Insight Generation

  1. Multi-variate testing of both creative and offer specifics to measure impact on and identify most effective versions for specific consumer segments and audiences.
  2. Gathering path to purchase insights for specific consumer segments and audiences.

Social Advocacy & Affiliate Tracking

  1. Identify everyday brand advocates and track social advocacy impact.
  2. Incentivize social sharing to drive social advocacy.
  3. Measure individual affiliate impact on in-store sales.

Enhanced Media Targeting & Execution

  1. Tagging the herd—identifying what drives specific audience behavior and using that data to create and engage look-a-like audiences.
  2. Determining which offer drives the greatest response for specific segments and then personalizing offers to those segments to drive the greatest results.
  3. Using real time purchase intent data (offer views and prints) to optimize media campaigns as they run.

There are additional uses of this first-party purchase data. The main point is that it can and should be utilized by many groups in your organization to drive greater business results.

In fact, even if the consumer audience engaging with digital coupons is small, the learnings can still be impactful.

Go For The Gold

As data becomes increasingly tied to everyday marketing and business functions, make sure you don’t overlook a powerful (and readily available) source of first-party gold data.

If you are not tapping into this source, it is likely you’re already falling behind and just haven’t realized it yet. Smarter and quicker companies will use this data to enhance their campaigns and slowly chip away from their competition, increasing loyalty and share of requirements by pushing you slowly out of the households and habits you have fought so fiercely to be in.

So what are you waiting for? Take this opportunity to go for your own gold—the first-party purchase data gold just waiting to be won.

What next?

If the content in this article is new and/or exciting to you, feel free to reach out to our team to discuss how this first-party purchase data can be collected and leveraged for your brand. We are always excited to work with forward-thinking marketers like you that are looking for every advantage in the wide world of brand competition.

After all, you may not be doing this, but it’s likely that your competition is, or soon will be.


About the Author

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Jonathan R. Pinney

Solutions Architect

Jonathan Pinney is a solutions architect at RevTrax focusing on enterprise solution development for small to large CPGs and retailers. He partners with RevTrax clients, sales, and account teams to ensure brands are accomplishing their goals and business objectives through intelligent coupon distribution. He has ten+ years’ experience in digital marketing and six+ years' experience in product management, and has successfully employed his knowledge and experience as a member of the RevTrax sales, product management, and account management teams over the last two+ years.

Topics:  CPG Industry, Whitepaper, Retail Industry, Online-to-Offline, First-Party Data