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The concept of data literacy didn't exist when I started my career in marketing in the mid-1990s. We had few marketing channels, all of which were offline, and we had to manually track them in spreadsheets. We distributed leads to our sales team on a floppy disk. We sent coupons to prospects and I had to go to the mailbox every day to see which coupons were filled out and returned. As scarce as it was, data was still extremely important back then.
Today's marketers have access to a huge amount of data through multiple channels, both offline and online. New channels are constantly emerging and each one becomes its own data track. However, all of this data flows into different applications and systems, making it very difficult to get a complete picture of what is really going on. We all strive to get a 360-degree view of customers in real time. This is the foundation for personalization, timing and relevance: how do you send the right offer to the right prospect at the right time?
The better you master timing and relevance, the greater the impact of your marketing investments. With inaccurate or incomplete data, you will get a skewed picture of potential consumers. If you come up with the wrong offers at the wrong time, all of your marketing will be lost. Researchers Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart looked at over $ 1 billion in marketing spend from 30 large companies and found that 47% of advertising campaigns were not working. That's 53% of marketing spend that is wasted.
So how do you reduce waste and increase returns? It all comes down to data literacy – how well you can read, work with, question and communicate with data. If you have access to all of the data and the ability to analyze and make smart decisions based on it, your marketing efforts are likely to be successful.
Similar: How to use real-time data to fine-tune your business decisions
The challenge of fragmented data
In a recent survey, 36% of business executives said that sales / marketing performed the best of all of their departments at leveraging data-driven insights for strategic purposes.
But for the past two decades, marketers have had to face an uphill battle to be data-driven. A wide variety of marketing tools are used today to engage customers across complex customer journeys. Customers expect a seamless experience across an ever-increasing number of channels. And companies are facing an explosion of data, all of which is stored in silos, that needs to be integrated to derive insights and intelligent decisions.
All of these trends have resulted in fragmented data that is a major barrier to data-driven insights. In a 2020 report, 47% of executives surveyed said their biggest digital customer experience challenge was "silos and / or fragmented customer data."
Thanks to recent developments in the cloud and advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, we are finally entering an age of integrated data. We can now access and analyze all relevant data available to get a complete picture of customers and link our marketing investments to business results. This is the greatest transformation moment for marketers since the birth of digital marketing in the 1990s. It's a bigger step than social media.
While technology tools in 2021 will allow marketers to engage with customers and prospects with ten times the precision and business impact, the art of applying these new tools is what sets good companies apart from big companies. For the past five years, I've been able to do things with data that I couldn't imagine before. I also had the opportunity to advise CMOs from client organizations on using data to transform their marketing organizations and businesses. Here is my advice to others:
Set clear marketing goals and metrics.
It is important to create a strong foundation that everyone involved can build on. In marketing, this means setting goals and tracking progress. One of our primary goals at Snowflake is to become the most insightful marketing team in the industry. We developed two key metrics to measure our results: predictable pipeline generation and growth efficiency. Our goal is to develop scalable tools and models to drive efficient growth and proactive action. To support this, we've put a lot of work into predicting real-time ROI in order to streamline our marketing programs and disrupt old B2B marketing analysis practices.
Develop a complete picture of your customer
Tear down your data silos to understand your full spectrum of customer data. Take DoorDash, for example, which has broken down data silos to create a 360-degree view of all of their customers, support their marketing analytics, and offer them a more personalized experience. Prioritize access to the most strategic data sets available to your business. With detailed, real-time insights into product sales and customer demographics, marketers can move from outdated, week-old reports to instant information about customers.
Related: The Insane Amounts of Data We Use Every Minute (Infographic)
Turn your love-hate relationship with IT into a successful partnership
To align goals and priorities with data-driven alignment, marketing needs to build close relationships with IT and business stakeholders. This has to be a strategic goal, like a mandate. Otherwise it won't work. All teams need to follow a clear roadmap to drive execution and communicate regularly. At PepsiCo, IT took the time to understand the goals of marketing and then built an advertising ROI engine that turned 60+ data from marketing, sales, and third-party vendors into market insights and predictive models that are often shared internally and externally could.
Be the master of the data
Marketers also need to know how to take control of the data in order to increase their own efforts. Marketing is a big investment, and marketers need to be able to demonstrate how that investment will result in profit for the business. Success is based on how effectively you are helping your business grow, and you can only prove that with data. Hence, having mastery of data in your skills is critically important for marketers.
Once you've set and pursued your goals, eliminated data silos, brought all your data together, and developed the skills needed to access, analyze, and gain insights, you can have a holistic view of your customers and a bespoke 360-degree Provide customer experience. You can get a clear picture of the attribution and ROI of marketing spend. You can activate data in real time to create targeted and effective campaigns. Finally, you can leverage the power of data science products with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence to optimize your campaigns. At this point, your data literacy becomes a data superpower.
Similarly: Why data is the most valuable resource in the world today