Big data is now an integral part of most marketing executives’ vocabulary. After realizing the advantages data can provide, forward- thinking marketers are embracing big data and quickly incorporating its use into their strategies. This shift towards big data is rapidly evolving our industry from traditional marketing to a more advanced world of data-driven marketing.
In this new world of data-driven marketing, data should be looked at as a means to enhance and improve communication with customers across a number of channels, rather than just as a group of static facts. Data-driven marketing encompasses a breadth of marketing channels, including: direct mail, email, online, addressable media, omnichannel, display advertising and any form of marketing where the customer can be identified and directly (or even indirectly) contacted.
But despite its advantages, the data-driven world is under increasing scrutiny from the government and media as regulators worldwide take a close look at, and often misunderstand, the use of consumer data for marketing purposes. We should recognize that the use of data in marketing is relatively benign. We are not trying to judge who qualifies for credit or how much they should pay for insurance. Marketing purposes are those where the data is used solely to attract the most likely consumers to buy the product or use the service.
It’s important that we, as data-driven marketers, work to dispel the misconceptions and mischaracterizations that could harm the future of our growing industry. Make your voice heard so our industry peers, consumers and regulators can become better informed about the advantages of data-driven marketing.
In order to really “become one” with customer data, let your consumers know how and why you’re utilizing data by making the value proposition clear. Below are some additional tips all data-driven marketers should follow:
- Be honest and transparent. Make sure your customers are aware of exactly how data is being used and explain to them the ways that it benefits them. Remind them that companies use data responsibly to further customer connections and engage consumers in more relevant and innovative ways. And, of course, provide clear instructions on how they can opt-out of receiving communications.
- Integrate as necessary. Remember, data integration should be based on specific objectives about what data actually needs to be integrated. Don’t gather data just to have data.
- Go beyond data quality. Ensure that your company’s definition of “data quality” is specified to include relevancy, so that all data remains relevant to the users’ role and their ultimate goals.
- Keep it focused. We all want data coverage, but a little bit of precise, relevant data is far more useful than a large amount of broad, unfocused data. Like many things, preserve quality over quantity.
- Think ahead. Anticipate the ways that data can be integrated in the future and think about merging existing strategies with new, innovative data sources.
Join the brigade of future-thinking marketing professionals in support of the responsible use of marketing data for marketing purposes and help illustrate the many ways we can enhance the customer experience with insight.
Data should benefit not only marketers, but consumers, too.