3 Ways to Take Your Marketing Data to the Next Level

May 9, 2018 Anjali Yakkundi

Harnessing the power of marketing data has become a top initiative for many organizations. Being able to make data-driven decisions based on customer or operational data is now essential to delivering great, consistent customer experiences across various channels.

Companies such as Toyota, IKEA, and others are examples of firms creating real-time micro-moments with emerging technologies to keep up with increased consumer demand for control of their own brand experiences. For example, Toyota last year created a Connected Technologies division to better provide customer experiences in its vehicles. And IKEA is using virtual reality to enable consumers to better visualize how different colors and styles would work together in a room.

Such high-level initiatives require a good handle on consumer and operations data. But despite these forward-thinking brands, many others have experienced some roadblocks that have kept them from understanding and utilizing their marketing data well enough to make a big impact on customer experiences. Fortunately, there are some strategies they can use to jump these hurdles and take their information to the next level.

Get C-suite level support for data-driven marketing

Fifty-four percent of marketers say they have an inadequate budget to advance a truly data-driven customer strategy, and about 33% say there’s no senior-level support to spark such a change. 1

Marketers need to better connect their marketing, campaign, channel, and content metrics to the organization’s bottom line to attract more C-suite eyeballs. Views and engagement metrics are a good start to show value. But they only give half the picture.

They need to gain a broader picture by collecting various types of data, including operational and customer data to make the biggest impact. To gain C-level support—and funding—to take marketing data to the next level, organizations also should study specific data metrics, such as:

  • How many customers engaged with the content or experience?

  • How did the customers engage with the experience (e.g. how long, what did they do afterward)?

  • How long internal or external resources took to build the content?

  • How much budget was allocated and spent?

  • How much of a lift in revenue could be attributed to it?

If marketers can get a handle on both the performance and operational data, marketers can give their C-suite a broad, data-driven picture of how each campaign or content connects with ROI. This business-level conversation in turn will offer more weight to why it’s essential for their organization to spend more on analytics and take data to the next level.

What data should you use vs what data can you use

Well before the recent Facebook privacy issues, many consumers had been reluctant to share personal information with companies.

As advancements in technology that collects, analyzes, and stores such data have given way to tools, including microchips, voice and facial recognition, chatbots, and other smart data devices, some people may consider certain uses of their personal information via these solutions creepy—which can negatively affect brand interactions. Further, the use of these technologies isn’t foolproof—they can make mistakes or play into negative stereotypes of customer attributes, which could ultimately kill a brand’s reputation.

To make customers more comfortable sharing personal data, marketers first must step back and decide what kind of data they should collect, rather than just what they can. Then they must reassess how they can use that data to create personal—not creepy—experiences.

Once they have these metrics, marketers need to overtly communicate what information they will be collecting and why to ensure consumers are comfortable sharing each type of data (and allow customers who aren’t comfortable to opt out of sharing data). For example, U.S. brands could do a better job with communicating to consumers about what data they’d like to collect—and how they intend to use it. Further, they should communicate what attributes they won’t be collecting, which may help ease consumers’ minds about the potential bias that can come with data-driven marketing.2

Don’t rely on just data: Use creativity and common sense

Data doesn’t lie, but it can be misleading. Without context, it doesn’t tell the whole truth—it just gives part of the picture.

Collecting more data and piecing it together can help. But marketers also need to use common sense and take emotions and gut reactions into consideration when analyzing such information. After all, customers are more to brands than just a sea of data fields.

While AI can help put together a more comprehensive picture, the evolving technology can’t yet register emotions in customer attributes, such as empathy or creativity. So marketers need to step in and manage these unspoken elements of data in order to create tactful, successful campaigns and content.

Organizations have an increasing number of tools at their fingertips to better collect, manage, and utilize data to take their marketing to the next level. And by involving the c-suite, getting customers more comfortable with sharing data, and using common sense, they can use this proliferation of information to develop more revolutionary, successful, and personalized experiences.

1 https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/2017-09-18-creating-a-data-driven-marketing-strategy

2 https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/13/ai-programs-exhibit-racist-and-sexist-biases-research-reveals

About the Author

Anjali Yakkundi

Anjali is a product marketing director at Aprimo, and looks after the strategy, go to market, positioning, and messaging for the Marketing Productivity, Plan and Spend, and Digital Asset Management products. Prior to joining Aprimo, she spent 8 years at Forrester Research where she covered the marketing technology, eCommerce, and digital agency spaces.

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