More data is becoming available every day — infinitely more. That’s a good thing for marketing teams, right? Generally, yes. But in order to take advantage of the increasing amount of data available today on performance trends and customer behavior, marketers need a way to tap into the insights most helpful in driving better business decisions. Simply possessing data isn’t enough; marketers, more than ever before, need a way to understand data insights.
Yes, programs like Google Analytics are very useful for measuring certain facets of online performance like web traffic and conversion rates. But there are still thousands, millions or even billions of rows of company data compiled from other sources — customer resource management platforms, social media, product performance, the list goes on — ripe for analysis.
What does effective data-driven marketing look like today?
Here are a few areas to consider.
Staying on Top of Shifting Marketing Goals
The primary force changing the nature of data-driven marketing is its shifting roster of goals and objectives. According to a 2019 global Econsultancy survey of thousands of marketers, some of the most exciting current opportunities in marketing include:
- Optimizing the customer experience
- Creating compelling digital content
- Using data-driven marketing to focus on the individual
- Increasing brand engagement with video
- Social media marketing
- Multichannel marketing
- Utilizing artificial intelligence/bots
This list just goes to show marketers need to first understand the most vital areas of focus before turning to data for answers. After all, it’s hard to score when the goalposts are moving. Marketing teams must first set their priorities in terms of improving performance. Only then is it possible to figure out how data can aid movement toward those objectives.
Marketers Need Fast, Flexible Data Access
There has long existed a gulf between domain experts — like marketers who know a lot about customer behavior and product performance — and IT teams who have traditionally acted as the gatekeepers of company data. But this divide helps neither party; IT teams often get bogged down with reporting backlogs. due to a high volume of requests, while marketers often face long wait times to get the information they seek and feel left out of the loop.
Today’s self-service marketing analytics from providers like ThoughtSpot allow marketers to interface with data directly — using search functionality to ask questions in plain language and dig for insights anytime they want. This relieves IT teams of the responsibility of fulfilling seemingly endless report requests while also allowing marketers to drill down farther into interactive charts to get a richer perspective on the query at hand.
So, what are the benefits of empowering marketers to make their own data-driven decisions?
- Marketers are able to segment customers into highly specific groups in order to better understand their wants and needs, then personalize the messaging.
- Data can shed light on increasingly intricate, multi-channel customer journeys to help marketers optimize communication at each step.
- Marketers can more effectively track the return on investment (ROI) of various decisions and campaigns.
- Marketing teams are able to routinely make faster decisions based on concrete data rather than instinct or static reports alone.
Marketing has been data-driven for a long while — but not to the degree possible today with self-service analytics and growing mountains of data available. Teams that can stay on top of shifting marketing priorities and utilize advanced analytics to uncover ad hoc insights will have a competitive advantage over teams who have yet to do so. One thing is clear; What constitutes data-driven today is leaps and bounds ahead of what constituted that term even a few years ago.