We live in a world where we are awash with marketing data. Online behavioural data, brand attitudinal insights, online listening, real time ad tracking and all other forms of data nirvana. There shining out from our insight tools, dashboards and secure servers.
Used wisely all this can be a gold mine for the marketer who can unearth the insights to set a route map for his desired destination. But set sail with data for its own sake and get ready to end up down blind alleys with little of any meaning to shout about.
The dangers of meaningless data
As digital marketers we do love a bit of meaningless data trite. We pore over click data, numbers of impressions and reach figures. We shout to the rafters that our engagement rate is up by 2 percentage points or that our open rates have been smashed. But is it getting us to a new and exciting brand place that presents a higher level of commercial return? Or to put it bluntly is what we are doing changing people’s attitudes, influencing brand preference and making them buy our product? Sometimes we must remind ourselves that this is what marketing is all about.
Define your desired outcome and destination
Dig deep into Google Analytics by all means and show with pride that page views and dwell time is up. Or that we have an increased audience of 18-24’s. But don’t forget to use this data to inform how you are progressing to your destination or to help shape what form that destination might take. Setting these outcomes is key otherwise we just drift along amidst the flotsam and jetsam of recording number efficiencies. Efficiency is a laudable goal but there is little point in enabling an efficient and cost-effective journey in your high-performance car only to end up in Aberdeen when your real destination should have been Nice in the South of France. The cold wind will bite and while your mpg may look good, you will only have to turn around again.
Be customer driven
One key by-product of the data that we gather sits with the customer understanding that presents itself. Being customer driven should be the watchword of every marketer. So therefore, let’s make sure we use our data to inform customer attitudes, topics of interest, journeys and touchpoints. There is a richness of intelligence at our disposal that when used well can tell us what our creative content might look like in order to appeal to the customer profile that we want to get on-side. What should we present to our audience, when and where? What is making people sit up and take notice? And are these really the people we are after? Are they offering up the kind of value that means brand and commercial success?
Go beyond the click: think brand effect
Contrary to some popular opinions online marketing can build brands. TV and off-line channels still play fundamental roles in driving brand preference but combine the traditional channels with longer form storytelling and interactive digital, and you will have a brand that is both memorable, relevant and meaningful. Shooting for this goal should be part of our make up as integrated marketers. But it needs a forensic eye on data that goes beyond the click. It needs data mining that through real time brand purchase intention surveys, behavioural analysis and shifts in attitude takes us to a higher commercial place.
So let’s be data driven but this time…with meaning.