Your marketing and sales efforts must be data driven

Marketing and sales are the genesis of organizational growth and success and while noble and necessary, as disciplines, they are not without their detractors.

Company leaders bemoan the volumes of cash spent by marketers on brand awareness, advertising campaigns and all other forms of creative communication services. To the untrained eye, advertising decisions are based on intuition, personal preference and lack any sort of scientific foundation. The resulting advertising expenditure is therefore difficult to align to actual business results due to limited data to prove “cause and effect” correlations.

Enter digital marketing with its ability to track and measure interactions and brand engagement. We can now observe hover states, track eye movement across pages and all manner of other data minutia.

There is a growing challenge in this sea of digital marketing data. The number of channels and devices are just growing too fast! Current customers and prospects are engaged in ever more fragmented and complex journeys across web, mobile, apps and social media on their path to purchase.

And as digital channels and devices proliferate, managing data in order to derive useful insight into these multichannel, multi device buyer journeys becomes more difficult by the day. The reason is that it is just too difficult to tie all the data from the different digital touch points together to create a holistic picture and then tie that back to a single person. It also makes our cross channel results difficult to track. We are unable to ascertain which parts of the buyer journey are under performing and which parts need to be optimized. It’s so hard to do that, it even has a complicated name – “multi-channel attribution”.

The digital media behemoths namely Google, Facebook and Twitter all care about this problem because the more effective they can prove their media to be, the more of the global media pie they will earn. They have been spending their considerable intellectual firepower on solving the problem.

The solution is surprisingly simple – the humble email address.

Your email address is needed for practically everything for the majority of citizens who go about Facebooking, Tweeting, YouTubing and browsing the internet. Even if you have a second and third email address in addition to your primary address, you still need a primary email validation address.

The internet behemoths are onto this. Facebook has created custom audiences that link personal social databases to users’ email addresses.

When you upload a list of current and past clients and contacts to Facebook, you can target only the people that have a relationship with you (hence you have their email addresses) with your ads.

This is a great way to target a mailing list of current clients and prospects that have a low engagement rate with your email newsletters. You can now reconnect with them across 3rd party platforms (like Facebook) by using their email addresses in a new way.

And your campaigns can be very timely and specific if you segment your email lists intelligently. You could target a subset of customers based on past purchase behaviour with a cross sell or upgrade message that is particularly relevant. The key opportunity is connecting segments (based on CRM data and past purchase behaviour) to your marketing efforts via the email address. This is something that has not really been possible before. It gets rid of wastage and allows you to only reach the customers you really want to.

The opportunity has not gone unnoticed by Google. They are rumoured to be releasing custom audience type functionality to target users across sites that run their syndicated advertising placement software.

That’s all very well for current and past clients, but the point of advertising is also to get new clients right? Both Google and Facebook have propositions here too and they are called ‘Lookalike’ audiences.

So what’s a ‘Lookalike’? As the name implies, these are people of similar profile to those on your current list. You will be able to target these lookalike people with a tailored acquisition message too.

This innovation is just the latest in the evolution and reinvention of the opaque discipline we call Advertising. The evolution will continue to be a more targeted and data driven discipline that will address ever shrinking and increasingly specific niches with more customised messaging. The “big idea” will no longer be static and one dimensional, but will meet “big data” in a way that it can be sliced, customised and optimised to tell multiple stories across multiple channels.

The ultimate destination is a segment of one, where each individual has a unique brand engagement experience and hopefully fulfilling path to purchase. Data and automation, and a changed mind-set from advertiser and agency, will drive this future of effective and accountable multi-channel attribution.



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