NEW YORK: Brands should tap the "personal-data tsunami" unleashed by digital media to pursue moments-based marketing, a paper published in the Journal of Advertising Research has argued.

Shawn O'Neal, the Founder of SO-Analytics, suggested a "moments-based" strategy ought to focus on "mapping consuming behaviour so that you are marketing to the moment" and "fine-tuning that moment experience."

In The Personal-Data Tsunami And the Future of Marketing – A Moments-Based Marketing Approach for the New People-Data Economy, he pointed to the example of consumer milestones like buying a first home or car.

Such landmarks can be connected with related purchases both now and in the future, he asserted, and draw on a consumer's previous activity and behaviour.

"The challenge to all the existing players is how fast and how well they adapt", lest other brands "take their place in these more intimate, ongoing dialogues," wrote O'Neal.

His views are informed in no small part by more than a decade spent in various roles at Unilever, the FMCG giant. Most recently, he served as the company's VP/Global Marketing Data and Analytics, a post he occupied for over five years.

And marketing to "moments" by leveraging the growing area of people data not only will make micromarketing at scale possible, O'Neal reported, "but also will open the door to personalised media execution by any size player through networks of tech, creative, and media buying.

"Tools such as Sprinklr already exist to put this to use for interacting and buying digital media on social platforms. This increases the competition for the consumer's attention and requires far more relevant content, delivered in the right context to achieve effectiveness," he added.

"People data and the 'moments' approach to marketing will make this possible in the near term as companies adjust to the full implications of this changing media investment landscape."

In the data-driven economy, he continued, even small players can reach their "niche" of consumers with highly targeted content. But wider marketing mindsets must adapt to these new realities.

"An ecosystem of information, communication, and methods driven by constantly evolving technology is upending 200 years of truisms," O'Neal said.

"Marketers need to act now to build new business models [which take] into account that relationship building and everyday interactions with customers will convert today's brands from one-way communicator to three-dimensional entities in the eyes of their customers."

"The Personal-Data Tsunami" and the full contents of the latest JAR can be found at the Journal of Advertising Research website.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff