There’s an idiom in the growth marketing industry that I hear quite often at events: Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. But just how accurate is that statement?
After all, businesses of all sizes have more or less marketed quite effectively without data just fine—for centuries. Modern marketing, with all its data science glory, has comparatively only been in the picture for a few decades. To be fair, it is perfectly possible for businesses in this day and age to conduct their marketing and growth campaigns without data. That said, it will come at a cost.
Scalability: The Biggest Limitation Of Marketing Without Data
One of the largest drawbacks to marketing without data, which happens to intensify over time, is the lack of scalability. Sure, it is perfectly possible to simply have roundtables with the sales team and top brand ambassadors to get a sense of what your customers want. However, as accurate as their insights from the front lines may be, it is still only partial data. Acting on partial data is a risky practice that relies on luck for success.
There are various forms of data most brands can extract insights from, including first-, second- and third-party data. I’d say zero-party data, which refers to data customers intentionally share with brands (through surveys, questionnaires, etc.), is the most valuable. By using that data as a starting point for marketing, and even product development initiatives, your brand will increase the likelihood for success, scalability and profitability for the long-term.
At this point, I know many would be quick to point out that the late Steve Jobs worked wonders through his guesswork, famously creating products that the people would want later. As inspiring as his story may be, it is also an exception. Even the almighty Coca-Cola made the costly misstep of favoring guesswork. The company tampered with its formula, only to be met with negative reactions from the public. While people like to say that all press is good press, you wouldn’t want your brand’s name to serve as a cautionary tale for the competition.
Making Better Marketing Decisions With Data
It’s easier than ever to market with data these days, and it is largely because of how internet-connected smart devices constantly transmit various data points. If you aren’t marketing with data, you can bet that your competitors are. So why look the other way from a goldmine that can give you a competitive edge?
There are plenty of marketing decisions, as well as general business decisions, that can be made through data analysis. For instance, you can gain insight into who your most profitable customers are. From there, you can drill down to the top X percent that demonstrates the highest lifetime value, use predictive modeling technology to serve the most impactful, personalized ads to them and attract new customers with similar attributes.
Predictive marketing, in general, works best when optimizing growth campaigns based on customer lifetime value (LTV) data, instead of optimizing for purchases or even value optimization. LTV data is what we focus on in our prediction-based user acquisition platform at Voyantis.
When analyzing your LTV insights, zero in on areas that need to be improved across multiple marketing channels. Identify which channels perform best, as well as the messaging that evokes the desired customer behavior, then make improvements to your overall marketing strategy to enhance your customers’ experience.
This effort will, in turn, play a role in increasing customer engagement, and it also ties into your customer retention strategy. After all, why wouldn’t users be more inclined to engage with your content and remain a customer if your messaging is relevant to their needs?
Of course, data and marketing strategies vary between industries, verticals and companies. Some have it easier than others. As we emerge from the pandemic, however, with consideration to changes in customer behaviors, expectations and even the inner workings of marketing channels and ad networks, I believe data truly is king. The greatest of marketing teams cannot perform miracles based on intuition alone, but they can get much closer when they leverage their data appropriately.