Data-driven Marketing: norm among pundits and enigma among marketers

It has become a common parlance amongst marketers lately; there’s hardly any marketing without data. Data lays down the bed-rock for successful marketing campaigns, and it has become a discipline within itself. In simple terms, I would like to present an overview of how to approach data-driven marketing.

data-driven marketing
Data is a precious resource for marketers

To know your customer is fundamental, and to do that, there’s a multitude of questions that marketers must know the answers to. The data from these answers, collected from various primary and secondary sources, guides the marketing strategy of firms. The analyses derived from this precious real-time customer data can, therefore, determine the success of marketing campaigns.
There must be a proper methodology that caters to the requirements of marketers when it comes to data-driven marketing. Let’s try and dissect this topic to gain some insights into the world of data and how marketers can unveil its benefits for executing their marketing campaigns.

What data do we really need?

All the collected data isn’t really useful for marketers. It’s therefore paramount that marketers know what data they should collect, segregate and work on. Keeping unnecessary data will only help increase the complexity of analysis.
But, what’s really useful? Useful data is one that attends to the marketing functions of understanding your customer better: knowing when, where and through what channels to reach him/her at the minimum possible cost.

As broad and wide-ranging as it might sound, marketers would have to plan their campaigns according to these parameters. Refining the data in the very beginning is henceforth indispensable for marketers.
The data should be sorted with regards to the objectives of the various channels of digital marketing- email, mobile ads, etc.

Collecting and allocating the data

Teams across an organization should not create data silos, it’s counterproductive. Data must be available for all in an organization to capitalize. For example, marketing and sales teams might well gain insights from data collected through a public survey by the HR team. Hence, there must be an efficient storage of data at the minimum possible number of places, best being just one.
With data, there are numerous possibilities of discerning new modes to comprehend and reach prospective customers.

data-driven marketing

One data specialist to manage data of all the teams, in case of small companies, is good enough. For larger organizations, there could be a central point-of-contact data specialist along with one per team or per department, to handle data and ensure that it is rightly embedded in and guides along the marketing campaigns.
This requires an efficient ERP software that enhances smooth and swift data uploading and processing. Once things move in an identifiable path, it’s easier to track and control data, which is present in humongous amounts in organizations.
After a secure and organized collection of data, the data specialist should ask for and provide different teams the required data, processed or as demanded. This clearly requires competence in managing big data.

Data and Marketing Campaigns

Marketing automation platforms are available in plenty, as can be seen by the increasing number of firms operating in the martech remit. Before onboarding a solution, the marketing team should assess, through benchmarking done internally or by consultants, the efficacy of a platform and its capability to effectuate the required operations.
Benchmarking will provide clarity to marketers and ensure that they buy the solution which takes their campaigns to the next level.

An Enigma for Marketers

It’s important to test and try. 87 percent of marketersacknowledge that data is the most underused asset of their organization. Some practices, including a lack of customer-centric culture and the inability to implement change, serve as impediments-which can be overcome by training a company’s personnel- to the success of using data for marketing.
The top management must encourage marketers to experiment with the data they have and see if any of their campaigns could deliver the expected results.
Monitoring and controlling performance, at the end, is crucial when it comes to data-driven marketing. Working with data provides you a ground to segment your customers and personalise content to the utmost. Thanks to the various marketing automation software at their disposal, marketers can know their ROI, which would help them to take stock of their performance to devise and replicate successful methodologies.
To summarize, data-driven marketing is not only about what technology to employ, but also how to build a culture and train people to work with data.

Ahmad Zamir