Data-driven marketing, in theory, is about better using the flood of customer-related data to integrate and optimize marketing efforts in the age of an empowered consumer and Big Data.

What matters most is the optimization of the customer experience, relevance and (perceived) customer value as a driver of business value. Data-driven marketing certainly is not (just) about advertising and programmatic ad buying as some believe. Nor is it just about campaigns. On the contrary: if done well, data-driven marketing is part of digital marketing transformations whereby connecting around the customer across the customer life cycle is key. Such a customer-centric approach also means that personal data need to be used in a way that makes sense for the customer and takes into account data regulations and the increasing call for more control over privacy and personal data processing as such. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be a game-changer in that regard.

The role and evolution of data-driven marketing

One of the pioneers and leading voices is data analytics and marketing software vendor Teradata. A while ago, the company recently released the results of its Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey. According to Teradata, marketers who adopt an integrated and data-driven marketing approach become more empowered across all areas including the various stages of “engagement” as described in the illustration below from the page of the 2013 survey the company conducted.

Interactive customer engagement - what data-driven marketing aims to enable according to Teradata
Interactive customer engagement – what data-driven marketing aims to enable according to Teradata

At the occasion of the launch of the 2015 edition of the survey, Teradata said it saw some “dramatic shifts in how companies and marketers are deriving business value from data, integrated marketing platforms, and customer-centric data-driven marketing strategies” as compared with its 2013 report.

Among the key findings of the Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey:

  • A large majority of marketers (90%) wants to move beyond segmentation towards one-to-one personalization in a real-time interaction context.
  • Faster decisions and more accurate decisions are reported as key benefits of using data in this real-time economy. Two-thirds of respondents cite speed and accuracy in decisions as key benefit.
  • For 38% of respondents the major challenge is improving both customer acquisition and customer retention.
  • 78% of marketers in the survey claim to use data systematically. In 2013 this was only 36%.

Omni-channel consistency and silos remain hurdles

Respondents see data-driven marketing as a means to an end and for several an integrated marketing cloud approach seems like the way forward from a platform perspective. Of course, Teradata is one of several major providers of such a marketing cloud (like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce.com, IBM, Microsoft etc.).

Obviously there is a gap between what marketers would like to achieve with data-driven marketing and what they actually achieve. Many hurdles remain, among others regarding consistency in an omni-channel marketing context whereby silos are the eternal challenge, also from a campaign marketing perspective.

More about the evolutions, challenges, customer data issues (privacy, regulation, ownership) etc. in the press release, the report and the infographic below.

Given the huge attention for data-driven marketing (and, admittedly, the big marketing cloud wars we see happening), there is of course more research looking at the state of data-driven marketing and the drivers of it. In a second infographic below the one from Teradata, we’ll take a closer look at more research – with a second infographic.

Teradata 2015 global data-driven marketing survey results infographic
Teradata 2015 global data-driven marketing survey results infographic – get the PDF here

Data-driven marketing: customer-centricity and customer experience first?

It’s not just the vendors and marketing cloud providers such as Teradata who come up with research.

Recently, the GlobalDMA, “an organisation that represents, supports and unites marketing associations from around the globe that focus on data-driven marketing”, looked at the state of data-driven marketing and data-driven marketing practices in 17 global markets.

It did so in collaborations with strategic consultancy for the advertising and marketing industry, Winterberry Group.

You can access the report for free on the website of the GlobalDMA (registration required). Just like Teradata, the report found that marketers – obviously – increasingly see the importance of a smart use of data in marketing, customer experience and advertising (the whole programmatic advertising concept).

In an infographic on AdWeek, infographist Carlos Monteiro summarized some of the key takeaways from that research (and from Teradata’s 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey).

Data-driven marketers outperform their competitors according to The State of Marketing 2013 by IBM - another contender in the marketing cloud wars - source presentation by Jason Heller of McKinsey at Integrated Marketing Week 2013
Data-driven marketers outperform their competitors according to The State of Marketing 2013 by IBM – another contender in the marketing cloud wars – source: presentation by Jason Heller of McKinsey at Integrated Marketing Week 2013

Among the key takeaways of the data-driven marketing report by the GlobalDMA:

  • 77% of marketers are confident in the data-driven approach and 74% expect to increase data marketing budgets this year.
  • Data efforts by far focus on offers, messages and content (marketing) first (69% of respondents). Second ranks a data-driven strategy or data-driven product development. Customer experience optimization unfortunately only ranks third with 49% of respondents.
  • Among the key drivers of increased data marketing: first of all a need to be more customer-centric (reported by 53% of respondents). Maximizing efficiency and return ranks second followed by gaining more knowledge of customers and prospects.

The question is what will be done with this knowledge. And here we see that 20% reports a need to align with digital consumer preferences.

So, it seems the digital customer experience does matter as it’s essential for a more customer-centric approach and the – for many in practice – extremely urgent need to align with (digital) consumer preferences or, maybe better, catch up with the changed customer reality, in the end the essence of what digital marketing transformation is all about in the first place.

Infographic – via AdWeek and made by Carlos Monteiro – below. You can download the Winterberry Group/ GlobalDMA report here.

Data-driven marketing infographic by Carlos Monteiro via AdWeek
Data-driven marketing infographic by Carlos Monteiro via AdWeek

Note and disclaimer: as is always the case with infographics and reports do note that, the implied vendor and organization have an interest in (promoting) data-driven marketing.