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The essential 3Ps of digital advertising

Adrian Burton, Managing Director Malaysia, ADA

What does it mean to be an agency for the future? It’s all about data – that key component of what drives modern digital advertising.

While 99% of global business decision makers agree data is crucial, 62% don’t know how to turn that data into action or insights.

To handle data right, it’s essential to master the 3Ps or three key pillars of Persona, Philosophy, Personalisation.

The right people (personas) go hand-in-hand with the right data (philosophy) both of which must be harnessed at the right time (personalisation).

Get these right and you’re well on your way to unleashing the power of consumer data.

  1. Personas: identifying your targets

Personas, as Tony Zambito describes them aptly, are not profiles but archetypes. They are models of people and their behaviours, their patterns in buying and these buyer personas need to be constructed and understood correctly.

You’re not going to market to a frequent business traveller the same way you do to a college student.

Remember too that personas are not fixed – they are merely models and models need to be flexible to keep up with trends and new technologies.

Don’t get personas or profiling confused with stereotyping. The latter is assumption-based while building the right personas requires data.

  1. Getting the Philosophy right

Once those personas are built, it’s then about ensuring you have the right information pertaining to each profile.

If you’re targeting frequent flyers, you would want to know their buying patterns – do they tend to visit a certain kind of hotel? What about roaming usage? What dining establishments would they most likely frequent?

The data needs to be specific and it needs to be actionable. Knowing patterns will help you analyse target behaviour and then craft your marketing approach around them.

Your data will be key in telling your who you’ll be marketing to, and how.

Companies need to be aware of what data they do have, with the correct datasets to ensure your segmentation is done right.

At ADA, our proprietary data management platform (DMP) Xact is a tool that helps us reach a high level of precision when creating profiles, ensuring we’re targeting the right people.

The data sets mined from Xact as well as telco sources will be the foundation for persona building; you need to ensure your own data sets are in place.


  1. Personalisation

Once you’ve created your personas, analysed and strategised your outcomes, you then get down to the personalisation aspect. If you’ve got your persona right, your approach to data analysis right, then the proper actions will be made clear.

For instance, look at how you would personalise marketing for three members of a nuclear family.

Frequent flyer dad would get air mile recommendations and suggestions for discounts at cafes that use their preferred e-wallets.

Upscale mall shopper mom would receive promotions for parking at her favourite shopping destinations and ads for discounts on upgrading her current phone.

Gamer son would get promotions for mobile data or game reward offers via his favoured gaming platform – mobile.

Being able to anticipate their needs ahead of time this way will create a better experience for the target persona, leading to favourable campaign outcomes.

Instead of coming across as aggressively pushing a product, you are instead demonstrating you know what they need before they do themselves!

Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” In these times, it’s all about using technology to deliver the best customer experience.


As the 3Ps demonstrates, data is king and it’s up to you to master it or be lorded over by those who already have.

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