The natural evolution of the vendor landscape and the resulting fragmentation have created an expensive and inefficient marketing environment, forcing marketers to think about audience segmentation from the list down, not the customer up. The forces of that evolution, however, are now meeting resistance.

As the mobile channel continues its rise to prominence among marketers and consumers, the lines between the digital marketing and the physical marketing worlds have become blurred. If mobile is meant to connect the two worlds, a new approach to data management is crucial for marketing to remain effective and relevant.

Customer-centricity starts with universal profile management

A customer is an individual. Rather than beginning the segmentation process from a top-level view of a single trait, marketers must begin building segments from the individual up.

Finally an approach to marketing data exists that avoids enabling the built-in waste most vendors charge a premium for and starts targeting customers better with messages that are individually relevant. That approach, a universal profile management system, is the foundation for all effective direct digital marketing.

Traditional direct marketing relies on smart data management and a postal address to deliver a marketing message, whereas direct digital marketing relies on smart, more-robust data management and delivers marketing communications to an email address, a Web-browser cookie, or a mobile-phone number.

Within the context of direct digital marketing, a universal profile management system is differentiated from other marketing data approaches in three ways.

1. Connect the data and the delivery

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Brian Deagan is a direct digital marketing thought-leader and co-founder/CEO of Knotice (, a direct digital marketing solutions company. Visit Knotice's blog, The Lunch Pail (, and contact Brian at .