What is datadriven marketing? Well, it depends…

Datadriven marketing means capturing and analyzing data from the abundance of available transactions and interactions between you, your company and your market – and turning them into meaningful conversations that engage your audience.

It’s all about analyzing the data available to you with the purpose of charting patterns, volumes, trends so that marketing can make business intelligent decisions based on insights around actual customer behaviour.

If you google “what is datadriven marketing” you will find several different perspectives:

  • Using data analytics to drive marketing decisions – says IT
  • Create marketing insights based on the analysis of data about or from consumers/customers – says Marketing

There is no way around it. We have to combine forces.

The 2013/2014 CMO-CIO Alignment Survey (Accenture) revealed that digitalisation is bringing IT and Marketing together, albeit slightly hesitant. 45% of CMOs believe “more collaboration is needed” with the CIO – while 43% of CIOs believe marketing requirements and priorities change too often.

So let’s turn the discussion around – why are we really here? Both Marketing and IT must contribute to the success of the business. They are literally in the same boat. How does datadriven marketing change all that?

Profiling, marketing personas, multi-touch communications using marketing automation tools; we all use these techniques to create a strategic engagement/nurturing cycle. But we must base it on insights – on the actual available data including your social customer engagements.

The enemy of any marketing campaign is complexity. None of this works if your IT department is unable to extract the information = data you need when you need it. And put it into context.

Make your data speak!

The overall objective of datadriven marketing must be to turn data into actionable insights. Because if you look at data in isolation, it is dead. Data is merely a reflection of something that has already happened. Any transaction in your ERP is history as soon as it is captured, including any customer interaction you may have recorded in your CRM. It’s what you do next, that’s important. According to Gartner,

Data-driven marketing refers to acquiring, analyzing and applying information about customer and consumer wants, needs, context, behavior and motivations.

You should take a moment to watch the excellent video from Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

To make your data speak, you have to apply filters that create patterns of behaviour which you then use to create a communication strategy for a continuous cycle of engagement.

Tom Kaneshige on CIO.com explains how:

Data comes from many sources but not all contribute equally. Marketers also have the unenviable task of separating the good data from the bad data. It’s a work in progress, and CIOs can help CMOs learn about the many internal and external data sources and their value to marketers. Tech vendors can assist in this difficult process, too.

… By the way, not everybody is a fan, especially when you define datadriven as metrics-driven.  Robert Glazer  maintains that if marketers only focus on satisfying particular metrics, they may fail to capture the greater good for the company:

Clicks, time spent, and conversion rates only describe what people do, not why they do it. If marketers rely on data to tell them what works, creativity no longer drives the message. Instead, an obsession with data leads to metrics tunnel vision, and as brands shift from their creative offensive, they neglect to consider consumer engagement.”


FT.com/Lexicon

“Data-driven marketing refers to the marketing insights and decisions that arise from the analysis of data about or from consumers.”

Author Lisa Arthur from Forbes Magazine :

“At its core, data-driven marketing centers on one thing and one thing only: propelling value by engaging customers more effectively.”

Her book on Big Data marketing contains many examples of companies that are already well on their way to becoming data-driven organizations.

The ROI of Social Media – or how to convince your boss

Social Media is engagement – if you don’t get it yet, I hope you will very soon. But engagement is very hard to measure, so even if you do get it, your boss might not appreciate the value of your efforts.

That is why you need to create a social media engagement strategy around metrics and value add = ROI. You need to have a conversation.

The traditional way of counting is through “fluffy” things like Facebook Fans/Likes or number of retweets – which I think is just a natural extension of marketing’s best friend: click-through rate on email blasts. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone, even if you are an innovative marketer who really wants to embrace social.

What does it cost you, if you do NOT have a social media engagement strategy?  Here is a link to a free eBook with some good statistics and methods.

At Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC)) on Tjärö island in August, we tried to look at ROI benefits versus costs. What it boils down to, is tangible, measurable and very convincing:

Source: Salesforce.com

Email marketing on its own is not engagement. And it’s getting harder and harder to use on a large scale.  Let’s talk instead.

Soft and Hard: Facts & Figures

Finally, here is a link to all the slides I presented at SSWC – there are some wonderful charts and hard numbers from salesforce.com’s extensive customer research. You can use them in your own context. Or  take them to your superiors to get at least as much – if not more – budget for your social media engagement as your colleagues in traditional email marketing.