Data analytics is hot-and getting hotter. LinkedIn recently published its 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014—and topping that list was "statistical analysis and data mining." Research bears out this trend, with the predictive analytics market forecasted to reach $5.2 to $6.5 billion by 2018/2019, according to MarketsandMarkets and Transparency Market Research. During the final keynote of DMA's 2015 Marketing Analytics Conference this afternoon, LinkedIn's Head of Marketing Products Russell Glass evangelized the power of data—but cautioned that customer-centricity is the key to using that data effectively.
"Becoming customer-centric is the backbone to using data effectively," Glass said. "I go on Amazon and I have a completely different experience than you. They've created a very customer-centric experience ... They've put businesses like Borders—who were not customer-centric and who thought people would always want to come in and touch books—out of business."
Glass challenged attendees to create the greatest possible customer experiences. "What is an amazing experience for your customers that you can create?" he asked. "The Four Seasons—they know me, they have the bottle of wine I like, know my preferences. That engenders trust," he said. "You have to ask yourself 'what do I know about my customer? What do I want to know about my customer?'"
The key to a data-driven marketer's trade is data—but analyzing that data effectively requires testing—and more testing, Glass stressed, pointing to Obama's wildly successful fund-raising campaign in '08, which used A/B testing to raise an incremental $60MM. "If you aren't testing, you are not doing your jobs," Glass told attendees.
In the end, if companies take up the banner of customer-centricity, and focus on creating amazing experiences for them, they can achieve greater success than they might have thought possible. "If you're a small company today and you become customer-centric, you will overtake larger companies that aren't."