5 self-evident data-driven marketing truths

I have been in the data-driven/relevancy-driven marketing business for 25 years. I’ve seen the number of marketing channels explode. I’ve seen the marketing cycle time drop from quarterly to real-time. I’ve seen a reference book worth of buzzwords come and go.

Despite all this change, the foundation of data-driven marketing has remained the same. Different terms may be used, but the conceptual pillars are the same. I like to call them self-evident truths. In particular, here are five self-evident truths of data-driven marketing and questions to ask yourself to find success:

  • Identification, profile and reach are foundational. I don’t care what you are doing in marketing or customer service, you can’t be effective and efficient without these three.
  • Identification – Can you recognize who you are interacting with? It does not matter if the interaction is push or pull or offline or online, identification is the starting point. This one sure seems simple but is increasingly more complex as marketing channels mature.
  • Profile – This builds on identification. Do you know who you are interacting with? More specifically, you probably know via your first party data how they are interacting with you today, but what don’t you know? Have you connected your offline and online interactions? Have you filled in the blanks in their profile with third or second party data? The profile is the foundation for true customer insights. It is the starting point to determining how you should interact with individuals next.
  • Reach – You recognize and know your customers, but can you get to them? Do you have a valid mailing address and email? Can you reach customers in third party online spaces? Do you have the proper partner integrations to interact with customers outside of your properties?
  • Try to be relevant. Again, doesn’t this sound self-evident? Too many companies are only thinking about their products/services and not the needs of the customer. If a customer is eligible for the product/service, out goes the marketing. If a customer is eligible for five products/services, the customer gets five offers across multiple channels. But, without much effort, it would be easy to determine that the customer is likely not interested in 2-3 of those offers. As a result, non-relevant offers distract from the 1-2 that the customer may actually be interested in. Relevance does not take artificial intelligence. All it requires is a simple assessment of customer engagement and potential needs.
  • Come through in the moments that matter. Think about the companies you love and remain loyalty to. I bet that company came through in a moment that mattered to you. It could’ve been as simple as a personalized interface. Or, it could’ve been something really big like a home equity line offer that arrived just as you were trying to figure out how to survive medical expenses, college tuition and more. Now, think about your customers. Coming through in the moments that matter for them starts with simply trying to be relevant. If you are trying to be relevant, you are much more likely to deliver the right offer at the right time. Finally, if you come through in a moment that truly matters, you may build such a strong relationship that you will no longer have to compete on price. You have the customer’s loyalty.
  • Test and learn…just do it! Test and learn is what customizes your strategy to your business. If your strategy is exactly like your competition, you are not differentiated. You are, at best, a fast-follower. Far too many companies do not have test and learn disciplines because they are unwilling to forego the opportunity cost of control populations. What? So, let’s just ramble forward being less relevant (see #2 and #3 above). Test and learn…just do it!
  • Keep it simple. The industry often makes data-driven marketing seem very complex. Buzzwords are thrown around and false promises are made. Yes, data-driven marketing can be complicated. I say complicated in that there is a lot to manage and prioritize. But, it is not complex.

The best data-driven marketing is built on simple pillars. It simply adheres to 5 self-evident truths!

Does your data-driven marketing adhere to these five self-evident truths? If not, ask yourself, what does our organization need to do to bring it more into alignment?

This article originally appeared on Loyalty360 on June 1, 2018.