Data-driven marketing is marketing today. Pure and simple.
You won’t find a successful enterprise brand that doesn’t leverage their big data to define their target audiences, develop integrated marketing campaigns, analyze buyers’ behaviors, and — ultimately — build scalable, sustainable strategies.
Collecting a considerable amount of data — consented, first-party customer data, that is — across your myriad data sources enables you to more efficiently augment your marketing efforts: from engaging high-value contacts to boosting conversion rates.
As noted in our Digital Marketing Definitions guide, a concerted data-driven marketing strategy is how leading brands generate greater brand awareness, bolster lead generation, better nurture prospects, and get more customers buying (and returning).
All that said, you and your team won’t be able to improve your ongoing customer lifecycle orchestration efforts across marketing channels — and, thereby, implement an ROI-enhancing, data-driven approach — without the appropriate martech.
Specifically, the kind of martech that unifies all customer data in a single source of truth database and enables real-time activation to power your data-driven program.
Data-driven marketing strategies: What modern, successful approaches look like
We’ll preface our insights by noting there are certainly non-customer-related data points that technically fall under the umbrella of “data-driven marketing” definition.
For instance, researching long-tail, high-intent keywords through the use of SEO tools and analyzing competitors’ organic search presence to improve content marketing activities is one common subset of data-driven marketing many brands employ today.
But when you hear most CMOs talk about growing their data-driven marketing strategies today, they typically refer to more intricate, customer-centric use cases:
- Utilizing individual-level customer data to bolster their personalization and individualization across channels (e.g., social media and PPC ads, email campaigns)
- Enhancing the on-site customer experience for their known and anonymous visitors through conversion rate optimization tactics like on-site dialogues
- Merging customer journey analytics data into a centralized database to more capably track the typical path buyers take when purchasing products or services
- Orchestrating custom-tailored lifecycle marketing geared toward individual customers by tracking their micro touchpoints and interactions at a granular level
What do all of these data-oriented techniques have in common?
They all entail data liberation. That is, they involve the real-time activation of relevant, accurate first-party data to better engage and convert contacts at various lifecycle stages.
The problem is some of these CMOs and their teams still rely on a mix of first- and third-party data (or, worse, mostly the latter) to guide everything from their retargeting campaigns and lookalike audience development to predictive modeling.
It’s the data-driven marketing leaders, however, who have seen the light, so to speak, and smartly turned their attention entirely to first-party data to accelerate their programs.
In fact, these executives solve another longstanding marketing problem by primarily (or solely) employing first-party data, per Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Andrew Frank.
“Tame the titans by increasing dependency on your first-party data and maximize consent to combat the walled gardens of data,” Frank recommends to today’s marketing leadership.
And these team leaders have reaped the rewards for this shift.
Boston Consulting Group research found marketing teams at large-scale businesses who put advanced first-party data activation processes in place generate 1.5 to 3 times more revenue than organizations that fail to properly utilize the data source.
Data-driven decision-making enhanced with real-time, single customer view
The same consulting firm, however, also discovered the single customer view was vital to data-driven marketing success — but that few brands have achieved such a view:
“Only about 30% of companies, almost all in the connected or multi-moment maturity phases, practice such advanced uses as single customer view or lifecycle marketing.”
The concept of a 360-degree customer view — and, similarly, “complete” customer profiles featuring integrated data points from across data sources — isn’t new to marketers.
A leading bricks-and-clicks retailer, for instance, prioritizes the single customer view in its ecommerce marketing by merging all online and offline customer data. (In other words, buyer data from both digital purchases and in-store customer interactions.)
This wide-ranging view enables their marketers to better understand shoppers and, ultimately, deliver more custom-tailored experiences to those individuals and boost loyalty.
What is new to many marketing professionals, though, is their collective realization they lack — and sorely need — this comprehensive view (and, thereby, exhaustive profiles for every individual in their martech ecosystem) to build thriving data-driven strategies.
Econsultancy’s 2019 Digital Trends report found 42% of brands indicated “improving customer intelligence and insights for a holistic customer view” remains a top priority.
Some data-driven marketing teams use campaign management tools, marketing automation platforms, cloud suites, or a mix of these legacy systems and setups to attempt to create this real-time single customer view to use in their day-to-day data liberation efforts.
But these marketers all have come up short.
The simple reason? None of those solutions (or similar ones used by marketers today) offers the all-encompassing customer view required to deliver pitch-perfect, timely messaging to customers and gain real-time customer insights that inform and enhance said messaging.
And even if they have gotten close to creating this view, the time and resources needed to set up and maintain it impact marketing’s ability to deliver said well-time messaging as well as their overall agility in terms of “meeting” their customer at the right places and moments.
Creating a data-driven culture requires understanding of goals — and data
The primary purposes of implementing a data-driven approach are twofold:
- 1) Properly leverage first-party data to amplify marketing ROI and revenue.
- 2) Build better customer relationships through a collaborative focus on CX.
But this data is no good to marketers — and can’t help them provide a top-tier customer experience to their diverse audiences — if they don’t have easy access to said data in a single user interface and can’t activate it in cross-channel orchestration activities.
As Goodway Group VP of Enterprise Partnerships Amanda Martin told Econsultancy:
“There are still a lot of siloed data sources … needed to map the customer experience. If you can unite them internally, the value of your first-party data is even greater.”
What’s more, a data-driven approach won’t prove worthwhile if everyday marketers simply don’t understand how they can properly utilize their first-party data in segment-guided personalization tactics and individualized, one-to-one marketing activities.
Five in six business leaders at enterprise brands cited data literacy as an essential skill they want everyone within their companies — including and especially marketing — to gain by 2025, according to an Experian Global Data Management survey.
It’s clear the opportunity to take advantage of ‘owned’ data points to cement relationships with customers and influence post-purchase, integrated communications to nurture those relationships is there for every marketing professional working today.
Now it’s on these marketers to ensure they have the wherewithal and savvy to expertly utilize the data available to them in their daily orchestration activities and long-term strategies.
Something a marketer-friendly customer data platform can help them realize.
Mastering data-driven marketing and unlocking new opportunities with a CDP
Consent management capabilities. Multi-dimensional segmentation. Predictive modeling.
Leading customer data platforms offer these features (among many others) to ensure marketing organizations can streamline their data-driven approaches and make the most of the customer data stored in their martech ecosystems.
Another lesser-known pro of the platform for marketers, though, is the (many) new opportunities it affords them regarding the growth of their team and long-term goals.
The data-driven marketing teams with truly prosperous and profitable programs — and a user-friendly CDP to guide their efforts — routinely open up now avenues, so to speak, to advance their promotional efforts via strategic experimentation.
That is, they assess and employ new creative approaches to test — ones that are informed and backed by unified and organized customer insights in their database.
For example, BlueConic’s segment comparison feature enables marketers who use our platform to glean insights for all contacts. In turn, they can use overlapping interest data to determine the ideal content to deliver to segments with shared interests.
That means they can leverage messaging and tactics that perhaps were originally intended for one segment audience (e.g., targeted ads) for multiple segments instead.
Simply put, with a customer data platform facilitating many of your data-driven marketing efforts, you and your team have ample amounts of freed-up resources to (finally) do the things you actually want to do — not just focus on execution and analysis.
For instance, you could:
- Test out new advertising and marketing channels and approaches (e.g., behavioral ads)
- Create new interest- and location-centric content marketing assets for various segments
- Build an on-site messaging strategy to convert more visitors (e.g., personalized deals)
- Construct a framework for a new or modified customer loyalty or subscription program
- Develop second-party data partnerships to better monetize your first-party data sets
Now, which customer data platform you onboard as your data-driven marketing hub depends entirely on your organization’s unique business and marketing use cases.
Suffice to say, investing in a CDP with the modern functionality mentioned above is your best bet to developing a data-driven strategy that continually elevates your ROI — and affords you the time and resources to continually experiment with and evolve your approach.
Get insights into 10 popular CDP use cases and how each helps brands develop and refine their data-driven marketing strategies in our on-demand webinar.