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Is marketing becoming a data-driven role?

Gartner recently found that 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on customer experience over the next 12 months – and data is playing a key role in helping them meet that goal.

Without doubt the role of the marketer has changed in recent years. Less art, more science, as marketing strategist David Meerman Scott would have it.

Think about it. We already produce and mine more data every day than the human brain can make sense of (2.5 quintillion bytes daily, in case you’re interested). And pretty much every marketing technology of note in an increasingly crowded ecosystem is either a data analytics solution or a solution almost wholly reliant on data.

And as a result, marketers are having to rapidly upgrade their tech skillsets – data science is emerging as a key competency for marketers.  According to a recent GlobalDMA report, 74% of marketers expect to increase their data marketing budgets over the next 12 months. The value of data is key.

But that trend is running in parallel with another – that of an increased focus on the importance of the customer. A study from research firm Gartner recently found that 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on customer experience over the next 12 months, and data is playing a key role in helping them meet that goal.

Look at the example of the online travel site who wanted to reward frequent travelers while making it easy and intuitive to cash in on rewards. Using survey feedback data and online reviews, the team was able to improve both the digital experience and the rewards program – propelling them to number one in a number of customer surveys.

And that’s the key thing about data and its evolving role. While marketing is becoming an increasingly information-driven role, successful marketing is ultimately about improving your relationship with the customer, about building an emotional relationship with them. You still need those softer skills in order to successfully act on the insights that data provides. Art and science. Perhaps the marketer’s role hasn’t changed so very much, after all.

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