The 3 Best Uses of Marketing Data
It's hard to believe, but it wasn't so long ago that marketers suffered from a lack of data. Huge projects were funded to construct databases that gathered every precious scrap of information into a format that made it accessible for analysis. Marketers were grateful for nearly any stray bit of data-driven insight they could acquire.
Today's marketers face a different problem: a flood of data, not a drought. They still struggle to build consolidated databases, but their most important choice is what to leave out. Those decisions are—or should be—driven by how the data will be used. More specifically, marketers need to identify the most valuable data applications and focus their efforts on delivering them. Once the core applications are available, they can expand their data systems to support additional needs.
So, what are these core applications for marketing data? Answers will vary, of course, but a reasonable starter set would include:
1. Marketing Impact on Revenue
It's a cliche that today's marketers are increasingly expected to prove the value of their efforts, but it's true nevertheless. The wealth of available data makes is easier to calculate marketing impact, but challenges remain.
The chief obstacle is that links between marketing programs and sales results are often hard to uncover or altogether absent. Few marketing efforts result in a direct sale, and even those transactions are often influenced by earlier marketing messages. But more comprehensive marketing data does let marketers connect more marketing messages back to individuals who later make a purchase.
Marketers can also more easily set up tests to measure the incremental impact of different messages and use the detailed data to conduct more accurate statistical analyses to infer connections that can't be measured directly. While more data doesn't itself solve the value measurement problem, it does allow more reliable estimates.