Never Go Back: Data Driven Marketing

Where to next in the digital ocean depends on the freedom to change route

In marketing, you are always moving forward. Data driven marketing even more so. Like some sharks, if you stop, you will die.

But the direction of where you travel in marketing – that’s something you can change as often as you need.

Making the decision as to where to go relies on knowing where you’ve come from, so you know the direction to take next.

And just like sharks, marketers should rely on real-time data inputs to guide their thinking and to help them make better decisions – prowling the digital ocean looking for new opportunities.

Better data, better decisions, faster and on the move

Sharks rely on an array of real-time sensors that feed data to their brains, about what’s happening in the water around them. And where.

It’s this array of sensors, providing multiple inputs about a range of options , that makes them so impressive and efficient. The shark always moves forward, but it’s supported by continuous sensory data.

What’s more, it moves forward with purpose, changing intent based on what’s just happened. In data driven marketing, you take a similar approach. You use digital technology, rather than organic sensors, to allow you to continuously course correct along the way.

You can easily look for trends, analyzing what’s been working and what hasn’t, to be able to make sense of what to double down on, and what to avoid.

That’s where data driven marketing gets interesting, and powerful. You can set and test hypotheses, based on the performance data to hand, and check on performance and results of each new test. The result? A state of continuous improvement, in the way resources are deployed, and in measuring the performance that flows from those deployments. This allows you to continuously improve your performance by tightening the value returned in the direction or route you take.

Using data to test and learn

You can apply these test hypotheses to your brand awareness programs, or your lead generation efforts – in fact the entire digital sales funnel. And you can segment your analysis between new leads and existing customers – all of which send different data about their interactions with you.

Just as our oceans change, the laws of the marketing ocean have also changed. Digital in itself no longer differentiates you. Because everyone’s customers are to be found online, that’s where all successful marketing companies are playing. And you’re competing against companies from entirely different segments. A potential customer’s discretionary spend might just as easily be a new car as a holiday, or a home renovation, jewellery or clothing.

And consumers themselves are proxy competitors, deciding whether or not to spend, or to save for a bigger opportunity in a few months’ time, or to not spend at all.

Back to the ocean analogy, you have to move fast and be in a continuous state of learning and improvement to stay ahead of your competitors.

Data driven marketing in real time

You learn from the past, but you have to do so in real time, because you can no longer pause to reflect. As with sharks, it’s a continuing process of moving forward, changing direction as you go, informed by the data you receive and the insights it gives you.

What you can’t afford to do is stop and to consider your next plan. If you do, your competitors will either overtake you, or eat you.

It’s essential to have the information and freedom to react in real-time, and the ability to change the route you take to your marketing destination, confident that you can indeed take decisions along the way without harming your brand or your reputation. This continuous improvement approach will get you to your destination goals faster.

Now, where are you in the digital ocean, and where will you go next?