Can Marketers and Data Get Along?

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A Brief Primer on Data Analytics
A Brief Primer on Data Analytics

Marketers are not data scientists. But nor are data scientists marketers, Shawn Myers, VP of marketing at StrongMail, said during a recent conversation we had on marketing trends. This is one reason most marketers have yet to benefit from Big Data, he said. “In most cases is still in the back room.”

Another reason is that many marketers have yet to move to real-time use of data, Myers noted.  Part of turning insight into action, he said, is the ability to use real-time data to make adjustments to campaigns in real time. The closest most marketers have come is web analytics, but often that's still in batch mode.  “Marketers need to move to what's real time and what's next,” he said.

Getting there requires eliminating both data and execution silos, and better coordinating multichannel campaigns, Myers said. The value of doing so is creating more relevant connections with customers.

The next wave, he said, is plugging in multichannel data in real time to create a holistic view of the customer, and then executing on that insight.

Of course, Myers isn't the only one advising marketers to embrace data. During a recent conversation, Hunter Albright, CEO, North America and global head of consulting for Beyond Analysis, said that marketers should find ways to make analytics more approachable, thus actionable, like using visualization. However, this doesn't mean they can skate by. “Marketers need to be more tech savvy to understand faster what can and can't be done,” he said.

Chris Hansen, president of Netmining, finds the abundance of data exciting, but offered a caveat when we spoke about online ad trends: “Give marketers too much data and they'll use it to their own disadvantage.” In other words, data needs context for marketers to use it optimally.

According to Hansen, data isn't only for direct marketers. Brand marketers can apply direct response techniques to branding, using data like impact scores to improve branding campaigns and better understand customers' brand engagement.

“How do you learn about customers, retain that memory, and then create action and execution based on that?” StrongMail's Myers asked. “You have to change what you think you know about customers and the channels they use by using data as your guide.”

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