Over the past couple years, it’s become clear that ad marketing and media folks are more readily identifying themselves as data-driven marketers. We are ready to embrace that data is utterly integral to what we do — and we must conduct our work accordingly.
But this professed focus on data has real implications for a company’s systems, talent, and organization — as well as its choice of partners, vendors and suppliers.
You see, it’s not enough to commit spiritually to a data focus or to the ongoing act of measuring everything.
Yes, you should want and be able to get data from CRM, e-commerce, Web, mobile, social, video executions, etc. Yes, you should embrace the concepts of true data analytics and move to take advantage of today’s science and systems.
But what else goes into really juicing the data-driven opportunity?
First, A Structured Relationship Plan
Perhaps you are a marketer who works with numerous agencies and suppliers, as is the reality for many.
If this is the case, you will need to establish a structured plan for executing on your deliverables, which lays out clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each vendor, as well as a timeline. You must be committed to having the right agencies participating and collaborating at the right phases of the process: discovery, strategy, execution, reporting and optimization.
Sticking to your plan is essential, but it can be challenging if you work for a larger organization. A common issue is that various stakeholders, often scattered throughout the company, want to have a hand in shaping the scope of the project and vetting third-party vendors.
Perhaps you started out with clear roles and a plan for vetting and on-boarding vendors and suppliers, but it got off track as needs evolved. It’s never too late to get the principal stakeholders in a room and re-set the plan, determining which suppliers are really needed where and how to dial them into your plans.
Dealing With Data Convergence
Once you have your structured plan in place, there remains the issue of creating a single dashboard for your data. In a cross-platform, multi-screen world — in which it is essential to understand audience, context, etc. — elegant data convergence is of great value. Your decision in this area is one of the most important your company will make.
There are many tools out there which centralize data from various sources, so the analytics dashboard you choose will depend on your needs.
There may not be a “perfect” solution, but lots of companies are working on analytics solutions for integrated marketing campaigns, so the ultimate dashboard is becoming more and more a reality. While we’ve all gotten accustomed to cross-referencing and (on some level) boot-strapping to cobble together our own data picture, those days will hopefully be soon behind us.
Strategic Prowess + Big Data
As companies begin to truly grasp the power behind data-driven marketing and start investing heavily in it, the question then becomes this: how do we pair strategic sense and direction with all this data?
At a high level, given the tech underpinnings of marketing and media in today’s world, we should all be working with people who are comfortable with technology. This is true for everyone involved — sales, project management, creative, IT, vendors, the client, etc. — regardless of how hands-on they are with the data itself.
It’s very rare that when it comes to marketing a brand, we should be speaking only of data points in isolation. As we venture into data science, modeling and more advanced approaches to optimization — admittedly at this scale, facilitated by machines — it’s essential that we are strategically engaged.
Machines have unlocked the new world by providing a wealth of data — but a human touch is needed to spot trends, glean the emerging story and even get excited about new audiences discovered. It is only then that we can thrive.
Machine learning is a boon to delivering targeted audience at scale — but, unless your teams are curious and rigorous with applying learnings, you cannot expect to help your brand reach its full potential.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.