Demystifying IBM UBX with Practical Cross-Channel Marketing

How many solutions does a common brand in North America use to engage with and analyze its customers? This magic number could vary, but in most cases with large enterprises, we are talking about an average of 20 to 30 different solutions and platforms used. With this variety of systems and tools used within a cross-channel marketing platform mix, how do we keep a single view of the customer? I believe this is where the solutions like IBM UBX come into the equation.

You might ask, what is IBM UBX? Universal Behaviour Exchange is a solution that allows marketers and companies to stitch together multiple platforms in such a way that a two-way API-driven flow of information is enabled without the pain of complex engagement with an IT department. Data, events, segment related or audience data activity exchange during cross-channel marketing initiatives are just a few examples of activities powered by IBM UBX. The beauty of it is that you can tie together e-commerce solutions, multiple cross-channel display platforms, social media platforms, audience data provider(s), IBM Unica and its modules, and other systems. An example below is a schema of IBM, Mediamath and FBX intertwined into event and audience data exchange logic for a cross-channel campaign execution:

By applying the logic similar to the one illustrated above, a marketing department gets closer to the goal of using a single interface to manage audiences, events, data relationships, campaign flow and audience data rules in one place!

IBM Universal Behaviour Exchange use case examples include:

  • Unified, single interface view and control of event and audience data exchange for a sophisticated cross-channel marketing initiative (both IBM and 3rd party platforms in the mix)
  • The power of ad frequency and user removal from campaign targeting based on custom rules (e.g. stop targeting user after conversion event occurs.)
  • Facilitate API-driven information exchange among solutions used by a marketing department
  • Real-time signals via Events to pass audience data related insights
  • Multiple companies transferring audience data and event data in a controlled fashion by sharing a dedicated data points via UBX

Cross-Channel Marketing and Customer Fatigue

One interesting use case that comes to mind has to do with the way marketers run cross-channel campaigns. We have social, display, search, mobile, video, email, SMS, etc. All these different channels are used to reach out to the same consumer. It is a challenge when it comes to uncoordinated attempts to manage customer fatigue and potentially a flood of different campaign offers. Sure marketers can try and limit the volume of impressions, have sequential ad serving, or place segment management rules in place for each tool; but in the end, there is always a high overlap and overexposure of a potential customer to advertising. Even a basic cross-channel retargeting initiative can strongly impact consumers by delivering undesirable frequency of ads, which might even happen in the case of conversion! This is where IBM UBX shines – as simple logic can be implemented and conversion events will be forwarded to all of the advertising solutions and audience management tools highlighting that transformation has happened and the user should be removed from the retargeting campaign.

Coordinating Campaigns & Enhancing Cross-Platform Data Exchange

Consider another usage for retailers when the e-commerce solution passes IP address data of buyers to a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM). In this case, an IP address data is stored for each buyer in a CRM so that later when it is time to reach out to these buyers few months down the road, the IP list can be passed on to multiple cross-channel display platforms for campaign targeting purposes. The advantage here is that the segment is reliant on IP addresses, and even a few months later, it enables targetable audience groups without losses. UBX again becomes a bridge between multiple solutions. By using IP, email, cookie and other metadata as unique identifiers, both outbound and inbound campaigns can be coordinated in parallel to improve customer reach. In this case, the first wave of reach out can be through email or SMS with a solution like IBM Campaign. Anyone who has not converted can receive local ad offers on an e-commerce site via IBM Interact (local ad serving logic on company owned web properties by using first-party data) while at the same time, the same audience group is being retargeted with the help of several Demand-Side Platforms (each with a different strength when it comes to inventory or ad exchange reach). Conversion event data is being synchronized and passed on together with IP and other metadata to the rest of the solutions. This way, prospects or customers are removed from targeted lists on DSP group of platforms as well as the IBM Interact targeting and will be marked as converted clients in the CRM.

In the case of IBM Interact, we can have real-time millisecond delayed campaign logic executed for the Big Data type customer sets (millions and more). So, this way of marketing and organizing clients or prospect nurturing cycles or mapping out customer journey can be achieved in real-time factoring even audience data that is short lived. This enables “In The Moment Marketing” for large brands, and since audience data sync happens with the leading DSP and DMP combinations, chances that audiences are reached across a variety of web ecosystems and channels are maximized. Some of the savvy marketers might say “Hey if I can pass all of this data DSPs, or social networks like Facebook, what stops me from Look-alike modeling?” i.e. taking the first-party data and modeling the closest match to it based on a 3rd party audience data source or ecosystem. The answer is that at this point, there are few to none barriers to benefit from a look-alike modeling. It is as easy as passing data with the help of events from one platform to another, and by feeding audience segments this way, better Look-a-like segments can be modeled later on to extend reach to your best guessed potential customers.

There are more applications for this fantastic module that has just got through its first year. In this article, we only grazed the surface of some use cases that can be achieved with IBM UBX.

About Munvo

Munvo is a leading consulting firm helping clients improve their marketing capabilities through a combination of technology implementations, management consulting and marketing run services. In addition, Munvo Lab develops products and connectors for Adobe, IBM and SAS Marketing Solutions.