Big Data

Are you sure your marketing is data-driven?

Piecemeal approaches are not effective

“How do you define data-driven marketing?”

As I’ve been traveling around the world meeting and talking with marketers, I always make it a point to ask that question. And more often than not, the answers surprise me.

MarketingDataSome think data-driven marketing is defined by their active email lists. Since those lists are functioning, these marketers say they’re “all set.” Others track online preferences (but neglect transaction history and offline behavior). A few remain convinced measuring re-Tweets and Facebook “likes” demonstrates digital engagement.

Granted, all of those may be valid and valuable components of a data-driven marketing strategy. But any one of them alone—email, web behavior, social, etc.—does not define data-driven marketing.

In short, I’m finding a gap between what marketers are doing and what they “think” they are doing. In fact, our research showed that 78% of all marketers report feeling pressure to become more data-driven; it’s one of their top priorities for future improvement. However, only 18% say they have a single, integrated view of customer actions.

Let me help set the record straight. Here’s the definition: Data-driven marketing is the process of collecting, analyzing and executing on insights from unstructured and multi-structured data that’s integrated from across the enterprise. It’s the most effective way available to encourage customer engagement, improve marketing results and measure internal accountability.

So, it’s not data-driven marketing if:

You’re doing it in isolation. A data-driven marketing strategy must be global and grounded in collaboration and cooperation, not silos. You need to unify all the data about your company’s core business entities—customers, suppliers, distributors, products and locations, etc.—to create a single view that analytic data solutions and integrated marketing applications can leverage to foster stronger business relationships and deliver richer customer experiences.  

You’re using only one tactic. Today’s consumers use a variety of different channels and platforms for communication, information and entertainment. Your marketing strategy needs to be multi-channel and multi-platform, as well. An integrated, data-driven marketing approach will help you simplify the complexity of data, processes, interaction channels and insights so you can streamline internal workflow and offer a consistent, omni-channel customer experience.

All of your customers get the same message. Data-driven marketing empowers you to deliver tailored messages that engage customers more effectively. It’s not say and spray. It’s not hit or miss. Data-driven marketing is personalized, real-time and responsive; it delivers hits, time after time.

When you think about data-driven marketing, please think big picture: integrated marketing combined with data warehousing and analytics—all to deliver fresh insights in real time.  And think big opportunity, too. Just remember: You must connect marketing to the broader business to begin reaping all the benefits of a data-driven approach.