Data Driven Marketing Insists Upon a New Operating Model

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In a recent interview with IDG, I discussed how data driven marketing has accelerated the evolution of the modern CMO. Thanks to the increased insight presented by the sheer volume of Big Data, the role of today’s marketer has changed as dramatically as the tastes, needs and expectations of the customer. Ten years ago, before the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution were being felt globally, marketers thought in terms of “broad reach.” We had a message for all the world to hear, and we shouted it from the highest mountain top in an effort to connect with anyone who might be listening.

What a difference a decade makes. As Dell EMC’s CONNECTED CUSTOMER booklet explains, the current specificity of customer detail at our disposal gives us the ability to hyper target our audience through a hyper personalized approach. This is of utmost importance, as it allows us to create messages and methods that are hyper relevant to today’s consumers. Dell EMC studies these trends and their impact on business, and the key question now becomes – what holds marketers back from taking the next step? The short answer is – the need to merge the needs and capabilities of marketing and technology into a cohesive strategy, which as we all know can be easier said than done.

Formulating data strategies is top of mind for many CMOs, and to create successful campaigns we must first improve both the quality of our information and the way in which we form connections between previously unrelated groups. According to the 2017 Ascend2 report “Marketing Data Quality Trends,” over half of marketers worldwide plan on improving marketing data quality over the next year. However, 45% of global marketers also see improving marketing data quality as their biggest challenge. To make the best decisions informed by these results, we must constantly work to improve both the data itself and the ways in which we discover meaningful relationships between data streams.

Grabbing the Technological Reins – a Practical Guide

It is certainly no industry secret that the promising CMO/CIO partnership is at the forefront of orchestrating any potent data driven marketing model. By aligning with the broader corporate digital transformation agenda, marketing can provide substantial value to the business and remain relevant throughout this transition. As I discussed in an earlier blog, general campaigns will be largely replaced by data driven campaigns informed by the scrutiny of a company’s data lake. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and actionable information will continue to refine these campaigns and their outcomes. To give you a taste of how quickly things are changing within the arena of data acquisition, Gartner has recently predicted that by 2021 voice and visual search analysis will increase customer revenue by a staggering 30%. This means that it is not just the message that must change – the methods must adapt as well.

Forget Full-Control, Embrace Co-Creation

The newfound power granted to customers as a result of blogs, opinion sites, etc. has enabled them to insist on a more active role in the buying process. This means participating in a company’s strategy for generating its branding and storyline. As quoted on Media Post: “90% of those polled like the idea of custom content as a way for brands to engage them, 89% believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter, 93% like brands sharing interesting things they may not have otherwise seen, and 92% believe brands have expertise on topics and add value to content.” More than ever, we must rely on our customers’ needs and opinions to generate our marketing strategy. But how is this best accomplished?

If CMOs can no longer fully define their brand’s identity and message, what are they to do? One option is co-creation, where customers can assist businesses in building and improving their brand. With this in mind, LEGO has introduced LEGO Ideas, which brings together building enthusiasts under the LEGO umbrella. Every year, the user-community selects a home-grown project and LEGO uses its vast distribution, marketing and sales muscle to sell it under their brand. This is no passing fad – the European Union sponsored Horizon 2020 program now funds co-creation initiatives with some €80 billion.

The technological advances provided by the 4th industrial revolution offer a lot of promise, but a tool is only as powerful as the one who wields it. It is up to today’s marketer to harness this potential by enhancing strategic focus. Only in doing so can he or she continue to improve the customer’s buyer journey and take the company/customer relationship to the next level. With access to information ever-increasing, our customers are only going to get smarter. Why shouldn’t corporations follow suit?

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