Despite the recent massive shift to digital commerce, many marketers are still dealing with obstacles to implementing real-time, data-driven marketing strategies, processes, and campaigns.
Those are among the key findings of a Capgemini Research Institute survey of 1,600 global marketers. Only 11% of the survey participants reported driving “significant value” through real-time marketing. However, 93% of those respondents reported being “highly satisfied” with those marketing efforts, compared to 46% of the participants who weren’t using real-time campaigns.
What Blocked Data-Driven Marketing in 2021?
The CMO survey identified three major types of barriers to data-driven marketing implementations: data access and integration, technology investment, and skill development.
While 45% of marketers reported having a customer data platform (CPD) that gives them a uniﬁed and a single view of customers, only 38% of the survey participants said their customer segment and persona data is available in a format they can use for decision-making. Properly formatted and unified data is the foundation of real-time marketing.
Less than half (49%) of the marketers surveyed said that their organizations “leverage technologies like AI for automated customer segmentation and grouping.” Just 37% “use automation to set up triggers to send the right message at the right time.” Without AI to analyze customer data and automation to leverage it in real-time, these organizations are at a disadvantage.
As technology and analytics play a larger role in marketing, many organizations are realizing that the marketing skill set needs to expand. Only 44% of marketers said they have enough AI, machine-learning and data analytics skills on their teams. Forty-five percent said they have the social digital marketing skills required for data-driven marketing. These skills are increasingly necessary to evaluate data and strategize campaigns.
Also see: What is Data Mining?
Best Practices for Moving to a Data-Driven Marketing Model
In our discussions with CMOs, we’ve identified several ways that marketing leaders can prepare for and execute their organization’s transformation to include a data-driven approach. As with any new initiative, this transition will have the most impact if there’s a commitment from the top to pursuing and managing the changes involved.
1. Build a Data-Driven Strategy
It’s important to clarify and map a digital transformation strategy that centers on data-driven capabilities while simultaneously building the organization’s brand.
In addition to investing in data unification and technology to leverage unified data in real-time, an effective data-driven marketing strategy will build an environment that includes the right talent with the right skills to enable processes that make the most of those investments. This journey may require cultural changes and skills shifts in addition to changes in the way data is collected, shared, and used.
2. Redefine or Create Your Data-Collection Framework
Especially if your organization collects data from many channels and touch points, a framework is necessary to define what data is worth collecting, how it will be used in the data-driven marketing program, and how often it will be refreshed.
While building the framework, don’t overlook the data that you can gather, with proper permission, from smart devices, chatbot interactions, immersive experiences, and other emerging touch points that can deliver leading indicators of customer behavior and preferences. An effective framework will also outline customer-data unification processes to build a 360-degree view of the customer. That requires getting data out of silos across the organization and into a single customer data platform (CDP).
3. Add Real-Time Engagement to the Customer Journey
With the CDP pulling customer data from many touch points, it’s possible to remap the customer journey to support real-time messaging and offers based on the customer’s most recent actions.
Social listening in particular can surface data that shows customer intent — a critical piece of information for determining the next best offer. The scope and speed of operating in real-time also require an investment in automation to deliver those next best offers and real-time messages. When the automation software can pull content directly from a well-organized content management platform, it’s easier to display the right content at the right time.
4. Enhance Your Marketing Team’s Skill Set
Data-driven marketing requires recruiting and/or upskilling talent with creative, data, and digital skills.
It also requires a cultural shift in the marketing department; this needs to be driven by leadership’s commitment to an analytical approach to meeting customer needs. Also important: an understanding of digital and performance marketing goals and best practices, and an overall drive to keep learning as technology and customer data sources evolve.
5. Focus on Cross-Functional Collaboration
Because data-driven marketing requires first-party data from across the organization, marketing leaders can gain insights and work more efficiently by collaborating with their counterparts in IT, sales, and finance.
Creating cross-functional teams with members from each of these departments can help clarify goals, set clear KPIs, and help to drive sales. Marketers can also benefit from collaborating more closely with external agency partners to leverage customer data for maximum impact.
Also see: Top Data Modeling Tools
6. Plan for The Near Term as Well as the Long Term
Long-term brand-building efforts are still important, even during a near-term transition to data-driven, real-time marketing strategies. By earmarking budgets for efforts in both timeframes and including some brand-building in short-term initiatives, marketing leaders can see quick improvements in performance and stronger customer loyalty over the long run.
Implementing a data-driven marketing strategy and processes is a major undertaking that requires careful planning, technology investments, and a commitment to working in new ways with new skills, across departments. The potential return on this effort is a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the customer that leads to better business outcomes and sustained growth.
About the Author:
Lee Dempsey, Principal and Capabilities Leader, Digital Customer Experience, Capgemini Americas