Data is an integral component to any successful marketing or advertising strategy. Once a novel concept, data-driven marketing is now essential for establishing meaningful connections and personalized experiences with today’s consumers.
In research by the Winterberry Group in partnership with the Global Direct Marketing Association (GDMA), almost 80% of respondents said that they see customer data as critical to their marketing and advertising assets. More than half (53.4 percent) increased their year-on-year spend on data-driven marketing and advertising in 2016.
Additional findings from the report include:
- Almost 90% maintain databases to host information on customers and prospects to improve how they manage and use data
- 88% are actively segmenting information to better target and engage customers for activities and offers
- 64% of respondents are purchasing third-party data to support targeted marketing campaigns
Marketers are also spending more on data strategies. In another report conducted in 2016 by Winterberry in conjunction with the DMA, over 40% of respondents in the survey said they expected their use of data-driven marketing to “increase somewhat” or “increase significantly” in Q4 2016. More than 40% of executives also said that they expected their Q4 2016 revenues generated by data-driven marketing efforts to “increase significantly” or “increase somewhat.”
How Reliable is Your Data?
While the focus on data remains strong, the resulting marketing efforts are only as good as the quality of the data behind it. Unfortunately, many marketers continue to grapple with the challenge of old data, missing information, and data siloes.
According to new research from Allocadia, when survey respondents were asked which statement best described the state of their company’s marketing and sales measurement data, 40%) indicated that “it’s a challenge right now, but we’re starting to clean and reformat it.” Another 9% noted that “it’s silo’d and messy – ultimately not useful.” Only 8% stated that their marketing, sales and finance data exist in one warehouse to act as a single source of truth.
With data in such disarray for many organizations, marketers have limited understanding of their audiences and poor visibility into marketing performance. More than 55% of companies report that they can only run baseline reports on past Marketing Performance, with 13% of those reporting they don’t even know where all their data lives and can’t run any reports.
Furthermore, according to the report, “Companies expecting revenue increases are 2-2.5X more likely than underperforming organizations to have marketing and sales data that is always or often consistent.
Putting Your Data to Work
It’s not just enough to collect data unless there is a good framework in place to analyze it and put the insights to work. The end goal of data-driven strategies is to ultimately better understand and target your key audiences.
As data-driven marketers, we want to ensure we are getting the right message across to the right consumers, at the right time, and through the right channels. In order to efficiently do this, the right technologies can make all the difference. Of course, choosing what to implement can be a bit overwhelming when considering the numerous technologies available to marketers today.
Almost 70% of senior executives say they expect to spend more money on marketing technology in 2017 than they did in 2016, according to recent research from Conductor.
38% of respondents said their company uses 6-10 marketing technologies and 24% stated that their company uses 10-20 technologies.
The pay-off of investing in a strong data strategy is well worth the effort. According to the report Big data: Forging corporate capabilities for the long-term, “more than 35 per cent of respondents with a well-defined data strategy reported stronger financial performance than their competitors.”
Although implementing a data-driven strategy can seem like a challenge, the opportunities and advantages of using a data-driven approach cannot be underestimated. Marketing has moved beyond the “Mad Men” era into a discipline involving strategic thinking backed by data, analytics to develop these data-back insights, and the technology to activate those insights into sustainable revenue streams.