Today’s businesses are experiencing significant levels of change in the face of data. What tends to get overlooked, however, is that the face of data is actually a real human being. People provide feedback that’s valuable for your business success.
Two fundamental areas — increasing revenue growth and cutting operational costs — drive business growth. The emergence of big data as a tool for business enables companies to achieve success in both of these areas, and marketing is at their core. Marketing can help you reach new customers, and the big data associated with marketing can create efficiency in every aspect of how you interact with them. This is why you read so much about the emergence of the technology-driven CMO, and it’s why the future has never been brighter for a career in marketing. Marketing technology has made it easier to see the face inside the data.
In the past marketing was seen as an expense. When things were looking grim, it was one the first areas to get cut. That is going to change. Marketing is expanding to include more than outbound communication. It’s beginning to bleed into other areas like research and development, customer service, content management, and more.
Customers provide insights, and while a single customer can’t provide sweeping insights, a group of customers can provide trends and insights to be used to find other like-minded customers. Business is awake to this fact and as a result you’re seeing customers mined to provide insights to go across other areas, including product development.
A simple marketing cliché I learned long ago states it well: The promise of the brand needs to match the experience of the brand. When consumers anticipate a brand experience, and the actual experience is consistent with the expectation, a relationship is developed. They tell others about the experience. Success breeds more success, and the business can grow. By listening to your consumers and reading the data, mining it for insights, you can determine whether the promise and the experience are aligned properly and if not, what you can do about it.
Data analytics becomes the equivalent of automated storytelling. It’s the machine telling a story based on the facts it is presented with. Humans can offer insights into these trends (and should), but humans can also get in the way of a good story. In a very common example, a marketer thinks version A of a homepage will get the highest conversion because of certain creative imagery and an engaging, emotional video with a clear call to action, but version C ends up being the best performer because it loads quickly, is simple and appeals to a larger audience. In this example your intuition says one thing but the data clearly says another. Which will you listen to? The data, obviously!
Business behaviour is changing because accountability is creeping into every area of the business, even marketing. Accountability breeds success because the data can tell you which direction to go. You can test everything from retail position, to customer service scripts, to marketing campaigns.
Here are two pieces of advice as your organization reviews its behaviors in the changing face of data:
1. Customise everything based on what you know. The more you know about your customers, the more likely you are to give them what they want or need, and the higher performance you will see in return.
2. Don’t torture the data. Let the data tell you the story, because sometimes a human desire to weave together a story can get in the way of the simple explanation.
What are you doing in the face of data? What steps is your business taking to breed success? What mistakes have you made that others can learn from? Let us know by posting on the Spin Board – unless, of course. you have never made a mistake!
Cory Treffoletti is senior vice president of marketing at BlueKai. He is a founder, author, marketer, and evangelist.
This post was first published by MediaPost.com and is republished here with the permission of the author.