TBD Marketing

Z-OLD-What is data-led marketing?

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What is data-led marketing?

Data-led marketing is the future. B2B marketing should not rely purely on gut instinct and a prior track record – data is the way to narrow your options and help you back the right course of action. Here’s our guide to some of the basics of data-led marketing.

What is data marketing?

Data marketing is the use of data to inform your marketing activities. Data allows marketing professionals and leadership teams to narrow the choices as to which of their campaigns to back.

Data marketing can help to qualify ‘gut instinct’ and can also dispel myths that surround our prior activities.

Today, we are surrounded by marketing data and need to use it to augment our marketing activities. It is possible to send highly targeted and compelling marketing campaigns that are tightly focused on a group of individuals and their needs in a way that simply wasn’t possible just a few years ago. Data marketing helps us decide what to prioritise, who to prioritise, how to approach our target audience and how to judge the successes or otherwise of our campaigns.

Data marketing is predicated on having great data (i.e. accurate data) in place.

If we think about why using data is so important, first we need to consider what it is like to market without data. We would be ignoring:

  • Our track record and what produced the results;
  • Any changes in the market;
  • Any gut instinct or hunches we might have that can be proved or disproved; and
  • Any internal or external factors which are likely to influence our outcomes.

What is data-led marketing?

Data-led marketing (or data-driven marketing) is a way of using data to be the primary source of our marketing activities. The data may be consumer or client demand or data about an unmet need, it may be future-focused on news events which will create the environment in which to sell our services, it may be historic (based on prior successes and failures), it may be our own data or the data of our competitors.

If used correctly, data-led marketing depersonalises which campaigns to back. It allows us to make informed decisions about which marketing activities to run with based on data and not purely on gut instinct.

When can data-led marketing go wrong?

Data-led marketing will not work well with imperfect or incomplete data. Addressing our assumptions around data and which data sets to include is essential if we want a data-led marketing approach to work.

In our restaurant example, recording weather data and local activities help to explain statistical anomalies and inform how we predict demand for future dates. But a failure to record, say, a local incident which impacted on demand will mean that our future-looking data is not as useful as it could be.

What results can data-led marketing produce?

Data-led marketing can be an efficient way of prioritising your marketing efforts, allowing you to focus on what is likely to produce your intended outcome. It also allows you to benchmark progress to date and make a decision about whether or not to switch horses onto a new campaign.

Why don’t you say data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing has no room for marketing savvy and holds data up as the only source. But data is imperfect and needs to be questioned, tested and added to where required. Data-led marketing is the next iteration of data-driven marketing.

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