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Creating a Competitive Advantage with Data-Driven Marketing

It should come as no surprise to anyone that our world is data-driven. For proof, one only needs to look at the staggering statistics. An estimated 10 billion mobile devices will be in use by 2020. A billion searches are performed on Google each day. An astonishing 294 million e-mails are exchanged daily. And a mind-numbing 50 billion messages are exchanged on WhatsApp every single day.

There is clearly no shortage of data for marketers to use to their advantage. Before I get to the benefits of data-driven marketing, I want to say something about culture. I believe organizational culture drives your data strategy success and its adoption even more than your choice of technology. 

My own experience is that it takes upwards of three to five years to reasonably affect something. The challenge is moving from data reporting and basic insights to driving significant and deep-rooted insights in a continuous manner. Many individuals and leaders are skeptical because their experiences have been painful, inconsistent, and prone to wide fluctuations in the quality of insights.

Key Benefits of a Data-Driven Approach

1. Efficiency

The time is right for marketers to address the digital transformation of marketing. They need to take advantage of customers’ digital footprints and the ability to track customers’ messages. This is what’s happening in the marketing landscape. It is about trying to be more efficient with our marketing. Being able to track, optimize, and manage ROI in a more granular fashion than ever before.  

2. Real-Time Optimization

Digital works in near real-time. Create the right infrastructure and your team can make changes pretty rapidly to whatever is working. We’re talking about influencing campaigns even as they're going on, whether it is social media or email marketing. The ability to tinker with creativity, spending, customer segments, or any other variables that are in flight in real time can mean significant marketing benefits. The bottom line is that brands can truly guide their campaigns to better engagement and conversion metrics, if they can affect changes as the campaign is in flight.

3. Improved Creative

Marketing is about being creative, but how is it changed by our access to all of this data? These are not mutually exclusive, as one drives the other. In reality, each makes the other better. Data lets you create a better feedback loop where you can reduce the time in which marketers get feedback. They can be more creative at a faster rate, and in a less risky environment. This kind of digital approach costs less than a full-blown campaign like television. The granularity of a digital campaign lets you focus on a very precise audience. Brands and marketers today can use a myriad of variations to fine tune an approach, a piece of content, or a video based on their ability to collect feedback in a systematic manner, whether it’s a simple A/B test or social visualization of data based on keywords.

4. Access to the Audience in a More Measurable Way

A big part of data-driven marketing is access to the audience with more accuracy than ever before. Previously, marketers were very hit or miss with their targets. Now with the addition of data and personalization, they know much more about their targets and they can more precisely address them with digital and social. By using online demographic and psychographic information marketers can discover the appropriate audience, create relevant messages, and test efficacy. 

As brands compete vigorously for customers across multiple domains and devices, the data paradigm will potentially be a source of significant differentiation. Brands that have a well articulated data-driven approach to both marketing and managing insights will drive competitive advantage in their marketing and sales activities. Like all things digital, the pace is hectic and the environment very dynamic, thanks to constant innovation in the digital space and the ever-increasing sophistication of the online customer. Brands simply cannot afford to stand still if they want to find themselves on the right side of the digital customer equation.

Ajit will be speaking at the Modern Marketing Experience in Las Vegas later this month. In the meantime, to learn more about using data to optimize your marketing strategy, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management.

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