What Is People-Based Marketing? All Your Questions Answered

People-based marketing questions

Today’s consumers engage with their favorite brands more than ever before. They may start a search on their desktop, compare recently emailed coupons on their laptop, check out what others are saying on social media apps and finally drive to a store to make a purchase. For marketers, all these touch points are critical to understanding what their customers want and need.

Tracking a consumer’s identity across these different places can be tough. Marketers have relied on targeting devices instead without really knowing the real person behind it, but not anymore thanks to people-based marketing. Get all the answers you need and discover why it should be a part of your media mix now.

What Is People-Based Marketing?

At the most basic level, people-based marketing means gathering customer data from both offline and online sources and using that rich profile to more accurately recognize and reach customers on any device. It connects brands with real people, not audience or device groups. This means you can better target individuals with messages that matter and engage them in more meaningful ways.

One of the first people-based marketing initiatives started with the launch of Facebook Custom Audiences, which allowed advertisers to match their customer relationship management (CRM) data to Facebook user IDs for enhanced targeting. No surprise, Twitter and Google quickly followed suit with similar capabilities. Today, a variety of people-based marketing solutions are available to advertisers beyond these early adopters, including Amazon, LiveRamp and now our Passport OneTM.

How Does People-Based Marketing Work?

We’ve all been followed by that ad weeks after we looked up a product online and already bought it in the store. If you’re an advertiser, you know how frustrating it can be to see marketing dollars wasted like this. But people-based marketing is changing the digital ad game.

Let’s say your car dealership wants to get past customers to come back onto the lot for a year-end closeout sale. You would start by taking your offline customer data — like their email address, phone number, occupation and purchase history that live in your CRM or loyalty database — and upload it to our secure platform. This is called data onboarding.

We match that data to the digital info on each person — like their device IDs, browsing habits and social logins. We also anonymize any personally identifiable information in the process, so you can rest easy knowing your customers’ privacy stays protected. Then, we distribute the profiles to your preferred media platforms, where you’ll be able to recognize, segment and reach the exact consumers you want to target. This means instead of targeting males in their 30s who like trucks, you can reach Joe, who’s a rancher with a truck lease expiring in the next 90 days.

When you know who your customers are online, you can deliver more relevant ads throughout their day, no matter from where they’re browsing. And those ads can be personalized, for instance, with an all-wheel drive package and increased towing capacity to make them even more relevant for Joe. Want more info? Watch how people-based marketing works with our <2-minute explainer video.

What Are 5 Benefits of People-Based Marketing?

Here are five ways people-based marketing can increase the efficiency of your marketing spend:

1. Manage Your Customer Relationships.

Every handshake or connection your sales team achieves may not always make it into your CRM database. Records can be hard to update when someone makes a career move or changes email domain. But maintaining your CRM is important even though it’s no easy task and can be a thankless job.

Build a more extensive customer database. Brands have realized that 1-to-1 conversations are the best way to interact with their customers, and that’s a major driver of the rapid growth of people-based marketing in our industry.

2. Take the Guesswork Out of Targeting.

With all your customer data connected, like with this example above, instead of reaching males in their 30s who like trucks, you target Joe, who’s a rancher with a truck lease expiring in the next 90 days.

Unlock your customer’s identity online and deliver more personalized messages and relevant ads on sites they’re visiting throughout their day, no matter which device they’re using. Or examine your data and exclude those who already bought a new truck from the campaign and spend more efficiently.

3. Match Your Customers’ Devices to Their Profile for Better Retargeting.

Matching your first-party data to online devices allows you to retarget individuals based on their online shopping history, internet behaviors, app downloads and more.

Use these insights to turn single-channel shoppers into omnichannel buyers.

4. Exclude Those Who Already Bought for Smarter Spending.

Sometimes it’s not about showing more people your ads; it’s about showing your ads to the right people. Eliminate wasted spend by excluding current customers from your awareness campaigns.

As a bonus, you’ll retain loyal customers by ensuring they don’t receive ads they don’t need.

5. Expand Your Reach With New Prospects That Look Like Your Top Buyers.

Gain new customers by targeting prospects that look like your best customers.

Look-alike modeling uses trends in your data to identify like-minded audience segments for more effective prospecting.

Where Do I Start With People-Based Marketing?

Since first-party data is the key to a successful people-based marketing strategy, you’ll want to concentrate your efforts there. This is all the info you have about your customers, which can include both offline data (email addresses, job titles, purchase histories, phone numbers) and online data (browsing habits, device IDs, social logins and so on). Here’s how.

Organize Your Customer Data.

Build deeper, more significant first-party data by consolidating CRM data across your organization, giving customers a way to share their information during checkout, or hosting gated content on your website to drive in new leads.

To organize your customer data, there’s no way around it – you’re going to have to clean up your first-party data in your CRM database. You’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and start scrubbing. De-duping, merging records, formatting and doing row-by-row analysis will likely have to be a part of this cleansing process for existing data.

While you’re doing this work, be sure to build out processes you can follow to help you avoid a similar painstaking data cleanse in the future.

Invest in a robust CRM database that tracks important customer data and uses import validation rules and other tools to keep your data clean. Wherever possible, automate the information flow into your CRM database so common incoming data is automatically formatted for consistency — like state abbreviations and phone numbers. You can also leverage third-party segments to enrich your data or overwrite incorrect information.

Expand Your Customer Data.

Leverage your website or other owned assets to grow your database.

One of the easiest ways to grow your CRM data is with a good old-fashioned lead-gen campaign. Everyone loves freebies, tips and tricks, so consider hosting gated white papers, stat packs, playbooks and webinars on your site. These types of resources are what people search for online. By prompting users to fill out a form to access the materials, you’ll have the opportunity to capture important customer information and grow your CRM data.

To take your database to the next level, launch a Universal App Campaign (UAC) to drive new users to download your app and enter your system with targeted banner ad and search campaigns. But be cautious of those trying to trade an ultralow cost-per-install (CPI) for higher app store rankings. These types of campaigns often bring in low-quality traffic with extra incentives.

Get Recent Info About Your Customers.

The more you know about your customers, the more effective and targeted your marketing efforts will be. Retailers have long been collecting basic details on their customers, but the rise of ecommerce, digital loyalty programs and more have made it possible to amass rich, current consumer profiles.

Make sure you give new and existing customers a seamless, no-fuss way to share more information during checkout, whether that’s online or in-store.

What Is Goodway Group’s People-Based Marketing Approach?

Goodway built Passport One, our own people-based identity solution, from a series of leading-class data providers deep in the business-to-consumer (B2C) space. Passport One is the answer to access the most comprehensive, verifiable consumer data, advanced reporting and actionable insights offered today.

Get the same level of audience discovery sophistication once only available to the largest brands working with the largest holding companies but for a more affordable price.

With our proprietary database, marketers can expand their customer pool by taking a more data-driven approach to their acquisition strategy, and it enables every marketer to have first-party data to build a highly targeted and efficient campaign and a full view of the customer journey to drive real business outcomes.

Make the most of your first-party data you already have with best-in-class data to identify, build and enhance audiences:

— 300 million consumer profiles

— 126 million U.S. households

— % coverage of the U.S. population

— 1,500 individual household-level attributions

— 500 million email addresses using ID solutions

Universal/common ID, contextual, cohort and clean room integrations are available. Passport One affords the opportunity to create seamless integrations guided by our in-house team of technical support experts.

Do I Need First-Party Data to Use Goodway’s Passport One?

No. Passport One is an audience discovery tool that facilitates access to an expansive identity graph and corresponding attributes and provides marketers with best-in-class data access and rich, actionable data on every U.S. consumer in a privacy-safe way. Whether you do or don’t have first-party data, Passport One can help all types of advertisers and marketers with their goals:

Advertisers With a Fair Amount of Existing Raw First-Party Data

Enrich your existing data and transform it into multidimensional audience profiles. When you learn more about your audience and bring it to life, you’ll find it easier to speak to your customers and prospects when, where and how they like to be reached. This can also fuel models for other acquisitions or win-back campaigns.

Advertisers Still Building Their First-Party Data

Do you only have emails or phone numbers and little more? Enhance this data with third-party data – over 100 lifestyle and demographic characteristics amassed in a privacy-compliant way – to fill in the picture and meaningfully reach potential customers at the right moment based on their interests, lifestyle attributes and preferred channels including connected TV (CTV).

Advertisers Who Don’t Have First-Party Data (or No Access to It)

Advertise to a universe with known characteristics in a cost-effective way. Passport One enables every advertiser to have first-party data by making over 95% of U.S. consumers available from which to build a highly targeted and efficient campaign.

Brand-Direct Marketers

Reach consumers based on a combination of attributes, audience channel preference, technology savviness and market intent.

With Goodway’s Passport One, combine first-party data from internal sources with disparate data from other internal systems or third-party data from external sources to learn more about your audience through data enrichment. See how your data stacks up. Unlock its full value and gain faster consumer insight. Understand intent signals to meet customers where they are and plug your targeting and measurement gaps.

Marketers can use our curated privacy-first database to identify and reach customers, enhance existing first-party data, create new opportunities for closed-loop measurement and build significant consumer connections to influence behavior and drive action. You can take your full audience of prospective customers and segment it into groups based on different criteria, including online behavioral characteristics, demographics, interests and intent.

How Can I Use Goodway’s Passport One To Help Me Drive Real Business Outcomes?


Discover your audience and get to know them more intimately through data enrichment, identity resolution and identity management and verification.


Reach your audience in new ways with certainty across multiple platforms with targeting and segmentation, look-alike modeling, personalization and first-party-data-enriched contextual targeting.


Understand or analyze consumer behaviors and gain customized insights to advance your strategies using advanced measurement and analytics, predictive modeling, data science consulting and clean room data collaboration.

Where Should I Go From Here With People-Based Marketing?

Now that you have a grasp of what people-based marketing is, how it works, its benefits and more, it’s time to put it to work for you. Regardless of where your customer data comes from or the shape it’s currently in, we can help you leverage it – boost its quantity and quality (and all the data points within) – and grow your CRM database in a privacy-safe manner.

If you’re searching for an easier way to gain faster consumer insights and understand the intent signals to reach your customers where they are, we can meet your every concern when it comes to identity and future-proof your audience targeting in the post-cookie world.