Analytics has come a long way in the last couple of years. With the advent of unstructured data – and the tools necessary to analyze it – businesses have the potential to gain insights greater than ever before. This is particularly evident in marketing.
“Arguably, the most important evolution in the history of marketing is the ability to understand what data you have, what data you can get, how to organize and, ultimately, how to activate the data,” Mark Flaharty, SundaySky’s executive vice president of advertising tells CIO. Today, we’re here to talk about how you can do so, and what that can do for your business. Let’s get started.
What Is Data-Driven Marketing?
We’ll begin by removing some of the obfuscation that’s sprung up around the term “data-driven marketing.” Like so many of the buzzwords related to enterprise, it’s really just a fancy way of describing something quite simple – a marketing strategy where you use business metrics and customer data to plan and manage your campaigns.
Where it gets sort of complicated is when the data itself enters the picture. See, thanks to modern technology, we’re able to pull data from more sources than ever before. What that means is that things get overwhelming very, very quickly.
“Customer data can sprout from just about anywhere,” writes CIO’s Tom Kaneshige. “Sales transactions lie buried in a company’s CRM and ERP systems. Customer interactions in marketing and customer services steal away in silos. Out on the edge, social listening, online surveys, consumer feedback in the Internet of Things produce boatloads of data every day.”
“No wonder marketers often feel overwhelmed — even paralyzed at times — by the sheer amount of customer data suddenly available to them,” he continues. “They’re under enormous pressure to make data pay off with real-time decision-making. They’re expected to be data experts: Three out of four consumers want retailers to gather and use personal data to improve the shopping experience, according to Monetate.”
Why Is It Important?
Alright. So we’ve established how complex and difficult data-driven marketing can get. In light of that, why bother?
Two words: customer relations. Modern consumers all but demand that businesses connect with them more accurately and effectively than at any other point in history. Because of social media, we expect our interactions with brands to be engaging – and we become frustrated when they aren’t.
By examining and analyzing consumer data, businesses gain a deeper understanding of how their audience thinks. In so doing, they’re able to craft significantly more effective marketing messages. Enough of a justification, no?
How Do You Do It?
In order to perfect data-driven marketing within your own organization, Lisa Arthur of Forbes advises taking the following steps:
- Adopt an integrated marketing management approach: seek out the tools you need to streamline workflow, interact with customers and centralize your marketing efforts across multiple platforms. Salesforce is just one example of IMM – there are plenty out there; it falls to you to find one that works for your business.
- Analyze your marketing efforts from both an internal and an external perspective. How your organization operates is every bit as important to your marketing campaign as the campaign itself.
- Look at what other people are doing, and learn from it.
- Eliminate complexity wherever possible.
The field of analytics has come a long way, and nowhere is this more evident than in marketing. By examining and analyzing consumer data, businesses can make smarter marketing decisions than ever before. And in so doing, they can engage with their customers in new, unique, and innovative ways.