Digital Marketers Falling Blindly in Love With Data and Technology
In the Oscar-winning movie "Her," a man falls in love with his operating system but realizes in the end that machines can't actually replace people. The same lesson applies in the world of digital marketing, where brands have fallen head over heels for technology and algorithms.
Maybe not to the extent we see in the film, but the vast majority of brands have voluntarily turned over their online campaigns to machines. In many cases, once marketers set up automated systems to measure and optimize the success of their online campaigns, they let the data dictate everything from that point forward. While data should guide the decision-making process, it can also too easily cause us to leave out one key component: human intelligence.
By omitting human expertise from the digital marketing equation, brands end up with campaigns that get better within artificial parameters but never reach their theoretical peak. For example, data can tell us that one ad outperforms another, but the information can't suggest a third ad that blows the first two out of the water. That's because machines can't ask the all-important question of "why."
By understanding not just what people are doing but why they're doing it, marketers can find the lucrative intersection of technology and human marketing expertise. At my online marketing agency, we call this approach "intuitive search intelligence." The concept calls for the qualitative application of quantitative results. In other words, it requires people to ask probing questions of data and then apply insights between channels.
Don't believe the lie that robots run better marketing campaigns than people. Here are four steps to setting up a digital marketing campaign rooted in intuitive search intelligence:
1. Cast a wide net in paid search. The first step is to identify a broad set of pay-per-click keywords relevant to your business. Using Google AdWords and Google Keyword Planner, it's important to launch a large-scale campaign and prune the data as it comes in. Once the ads are activated, pay attention to the results to discover keyword groups with high and low search volume, clickthrough rates and conversions. In addition to optimizing paid search ads, this step also sets the stage for a better search engine optimization strategy.