Data-driven marketing is the new black. As marketers uncover the magnitude of value they can derive from the data at their disposal, they will be faced with a new set of data management-related challenges that can either make or break their quest.
IDC predicts that 163 zettabytes of data will be generated by 2025, uncovering a new world of consumer insights and business possibilities. This mountain of data holds a gold rush of opportunities for marketers to truly engage with their consumers, just as long as they can effectively mine through all that data and make sense of what really matters.
Data mining seems like a daunting and complicated process, but marketers can simplify this by paying attention to data collection, data integration, and data freshness – three critical, yet underestimated components for successful data-driven marketing.
Time is of the essence
Technology has certainly improved how marketers communicate with customers today, creating more platforms to deliver campaigns through omni-channel marketing. While this approach has been successful, it has also made it harder for businesses to ingest data from different sources and formats, quickly, then process it efficiently in order to gain a competitive advantage. To tackle this, it is worth considering the frequency of data being collected.
Data collection can be done in two ways – in real-time or in batches over periodic intervals. For example, marketers might prioritize the collection of data from the customer service department in real-time instead of batches and transform it into efficient and effective cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Defining which method works best, for which scenario, can help marketers efficiently battle data deluge and deliver more targeted, timely campaigns to customers. After all, the data marketers have on customers is only as good as the timeliness of that data.
Humans need a bird’s eye view, too
Customers today are at the core of business strategies. The empowered customers of today have nudged marketers towards taking a customer-centric approach, positioning marketers as the closest link to understanding the customer. Serving as a proof point, Coca-Cola among several other Fortune 500 companies, decided to consolidate marketing under a new Chief Growth Officer (CGO) role earlier this year. While this trend continues to grow and new-age marketing continues to become a business imperative, marketers will increasingly need to have a full view of the organization’s data in order to make value-added decisions.
This demands for a single, 360-degree customer view and can only be achieved with effective data integration – where data silos are eliminated and data can successfully move between systems. The array of solutions available in the market today allow organizations to advance each segment in the marketing team – from strengthening the positioning of the brand to developing a strong go-to-market strategy. However, marketing teams should ensure that new solutions can integrate easily and efficiently with existing ones, avoiding data silos and assimilating marketing with the rest of the business.
Keeping it fresh
Once marketers have achieved building the foundation of their data hubs with effective data collection and integration, they can then start capitalizing on the ability to transform and combine data from multiple sources.
Data is definitely a valuable asset, but only when it is kept fresh and continues to provide valuable insights that drive informed business decisions. Fresh data is delivered in real-time and is immediately usable and useful. One example of fresh data is traffic data and governments have been especially good at setting the standards in collecting it. Fresh data will be the edge that marketing teams need to set themselves apart from the rest of the leaders in a competitive economy.
In the age of the consumer, marketers need to act fast and engage the right tools to manage the growing volumes of data they deal with daily. In fact, Forrester suggests that 10% of consumer purchase decisions in 2018 will be guided by an intelligent platform and start the real economic impact of empowered machines.
This will enable organizations to offload manual duties from marketers, leaving time for marketers to handle more strategic tasks. As marketers start to take over the steering wheel and drive growth for the company, investments in the right platform that integrates data from all sources into one centralized hub can help to further support a data-driven marketing team.
An intelligent marketer today is one that is able to act quickly and persistently with great data. Marketers should look at managing, sharing, and analysing data effectively for the greater good, preparing the business for the years ahead and as a result, reaching data nirvana.
Originally published in CMO Innovation.