Let’s all agree: Marketing is a strategic and mission critical function in any business. But unfortunately, this is rarely recognized. To prove your value as a marketer, show that your marketing investment supports the business.
The ongoing discussion about ROI and metrics is sidelining the key issue: It’s no longer enough to measure number of leads generated in push-campaigns, you need to measure engagement and generate quality behavioral data. Marketing contributes to business strategy and growth. And you – the marketing professional – can become a hero for the sales organization by turning the data into valuable insights.
What we as modern marketers need to do is to focus on the business and how marketing can be even more successful through collecting the right data to work smarter and engage the right audience. For me, it’s always been about the data. And luckily for me – it’s available from just about everywhere. Marketers need to take the front seat in the digital era and learn why and how data driven decisions make a difference for marketing impact.
“Customers today expect—and demand—a seamless and relevant experience,” says Teradata. “They have grown accustomed to marketers’ knowledge of their preferences and anticipation of their needs. Fractured or conflicting messages from a brand make marketers seem unorganized and annoy customers, sometimes even driving them away.”
The topic of data and marketing is making it’s way into the board room, and decision makers require market and customer centric data to guide them.
Johanna Lindskog Lindell, a Swedish data strategist and PR professional, explains:
“Just like your company, your customers leave a digital trace. Customers expect you to know and understand their interests and preferences. With each interaction between you and your customers, they become more and more open and transparent exposing their behaviour and interests. Make use of these insights so that they can become the building blocks of your business.”
Easier said than done
In his blog in June, 2015 Jonathan Buckley of Qubole provides some useful insight on what it takes to create a datadriven culture in the enterprise, emphasising the need for both visionaries, tools and accountability in the process. But not all of us are sitting at the big round table, and for marketing to take a seat where visions turn into strategy, there is a both bottoms up and top down approach.
Johanna is a major influencer in the Swedish PR-world. In her regular blog on Resumé, published by Bonnier Business Media (in Swedish) she elaborates on how to build a datadriven strategy that keeps you out of trouble and gets you closer to the board room when decisions are made:
- Consolidate your data
Combine the data available in your organisation to drive strategic decisions, understand your customers and the perception of your brand. To strengthen your brand, you need to understand your position in the market…
Success depends on how well you identify and understand your customers by letting their data speak to you. It’s not just about your brand and what you want to communicate. By listening you will understand what type of problems people want to solve, and what interests them. These insights are invaluable for your business.
- Develop strategic campaigns
By listening you will gain insights and understand what drives your customers, what their engagement is about and how they perceive your brand. Using this data you can create strategic activities which can be applied to your entire organisation.
- Optimise and improve, try and try again!
Optimise your campaigns as you go by interpreting the information shared by your customers, and stay focused on customer driven marketing. Most companies and most people want to see metrics after a certain time period. I prefer comparing data with yesterday’s data. Mostly to see how well I have succeeded, what I can optimise and what I can improve.
What’s a petabyte?
So what is datadriven marketing? It is the creation of value that supports business objectives and your strategy. And it’s really quite mind boggling, how much data we as marketers have access to.
In less than five years from today, experts predict that our annual data creation will reach nearly 45 trillion gigabytes, that’s 45 million petabytes. The human brain is estimated to store the equivalent of 2.5 petabytes of binary data. 2.5 versus 45 million petabytes.
You could also say that the available data in the world is more than what is stored in the brains of the entire population of – say – The Netherlands.
With all this data available to individuals, corporations, and governments, you will benefit hugely if you build your marketing strategy and execution on data.
When data is leveraged brilliantly, it can reveal highly useful patterns and trends. And you will find things to improve, not just in marketing but in other business functions as well.