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The Rise of Data-Driven Marketing: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

Self-made millionaires Gary Vaynerchuk and Grant Cardone both advocate for working more and working harder – Grant recommends working 95 hours per week. This viewpoint aligns with what many of us were taught growing up: the harder you work, the more success you’ll have.

But for marketers, the rise of data-driven marketing has flipped this concept on its head. It’s no longer necessary – or smart – to work harder (at least on certain tasks) when you don’t have to.

New-era self-learning machines, handy automation tools, and intelligent algorithms can automate/mechanize menial and repetitive tasks. The advent of these kinds of systems is quickly helping to spawn a new kind of marketing workforce, taking the brunt of the “busy work,” and letting marketing teams get back to business.

Data-driven marketing tools can relieve you from time-consuming tasks like:

  • Data sorting, organization, analysis, and segmentation
  • A/B testing, and manually attempting to optimize send time, content, and offers
  • Manually attempting to optimize arbitrarily-picked offers or send times

Related Content: What Is Data-Driven Marketing?

In essence, data-driven marketing solutions exist to help provide guidance and intelligence behind the marketing communications we’re executing to our customers – but they also help us to get back to the creative work we love by handling the more complex, data-centric tasks that are currently occupying too much of our time.

Data-Driven Marketing in 2018

The rise of data-driven marketing tools is helping marketers more efficiently achieve a myriad of tasks, including:

  • Running programmatic ad campaigns and media buys
  • Using Google AdWords to target individuals with relevant content based on keywords
  • Personalizing interactions with customers based on behavior on digital channels, such as when a customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and uses a brand’s mobile app

Each of these is, obviously, contingent upon the use of quality data.

And data – first-party, accurate and integrated customer data – is undoubtedly our most sacred resource for marketers as we move forward into 2018 and beyond. It’s by far the most commonly-used type of data today:

data driven marketing

Source

8% of marketers also say ‘data’ is their company’s most underused asset.

Data-driven marketing – using information we know about who our customers are to inform how we communicate with them – offers benefits including better personalization, the ability to measure ROI, and more:

data driven marketing

Source: Forbes in association with Turn

Related Content: 6 Ways to Build the Best Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

But data alone isn’t useful. It’s when we connect technology with our customer data and our unique marketing strategy that we’re truly able to save time, resources, and energy, and refocus on the more meaningful parts of our work like strategy.

Data-driven marketing saves time and improves results

Today, your customer data is more complex and goes beyond a stagnant list of contact names and email addresses. It has to be a fluid and evolving picture of who someone is, complete with their buying patterns, preferences, location, level of engagement, content preferences, and more. It takes a data-driven approach and platform to deal with this level of granularity.

Data-driven marketing platforms take control of audience targeting – intelligently automating and selecting every component of the execution phase. And it does it with more effectiveness and efficiency than humans are able to achieve – at least not at scale. Thus freeing us up to do the creative and strategic tasks a machine never could.

Research supports this idea – half of all respondents to a recent Forbes report found that that data-driven marketing enables marketing teams to spend more time on creative (48%) and create more targeted campaigns and personalized messaging (48%).

Data-driven marketing platforms also help companies improve conversion rates by personalizing their websites, segmenting their databases, sending event-based triggered emails, and with cart abandonment analysis and communications according to research from Econsultancy.

Why would you not use data-driven marketing?

If it seems like you’re trying to stay afloat amidst an ocean of data collection, data storage, data tracking, and data analysis tools, your feelings are justified. These systems have started to become available at a rate that has seen exponential growth over the last decade, effectively turning marketing into more of a science than an art.

Marketing is as much science as it is art. Let data (and accompanying marketing automation tools) guide the science aspect for you, while you focus on the art.

Related Content: 5 Data-Driven Marketing Trends to Watch For

Caroline Japic, Forbes contributor, considers this point:

“Marketing and communications teams have acquired the ability to track an endless number of actions, from email opens to downloads to time on page. There are almost limitless ways to track marketing data with new innovations and tools.”

Data-driven marketing allows us to rely on the intelligence of machines instead of on our own intuition or assumptions. They effectively remove the guesswork of many aspects of marketing.

Final Thoughts

There are almost limitless amounts of data available about your customers. They send out millions of digital signals each day that, with the right technology, marketers can collect and use to create more personalized interactions and achieve more effective marketing.

Armed with an arsenal of data-driven technologies and techniques, there’s no reason for your marketing team to work 95 hours per week …at least not on repetitive, menial tasks which machines are better suited to perform at scale.

Instead, ensure that you have a marketing platform in place that can leverage the mass amounts of customer data available to deliver personalized interactions at scale. Rely on the machine  to handle the data so your team can focus on strategy, content, and creative planning. That’s the promise of data-driven marketing technology.


Marketing is in a constant state of change. Are you keeping up? No sweat — we’ve got you covered. We’re revealing 5 big predictions for the next 5 years, straight from the desk of the CMO: “5X5: 5 Marketing Predictions for the Next 5 Years.”

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