The Science of Data Driven Marketing

The Explosion of Data

By definition, a social business is data driven. So, why do so many marketers struggle with being data driven? The IBM Global CMO study points out that over 70% of CMOs struggle with the explosion of data. Why?

In my Social Business Engine podcast interview with bestselling author, road warrior, keynote speaker and marketing show-stopper, Andrew Davis we geek out on what it takes for a business to be data driven. Andrew points out the obvious. We are all drowning in data. It’s not unique to CMOs. He shares the example of the quantified self. Using his Fitbit, Andrew quantifies his physical activity and aggregates the data to his iPhone with charts and graphs. Data has become a commodity. Google Analytics is free. Google Trends is free. Several other data tools like TrueSocialMetrics offer a freemium model. CMOs struggle not just with the explosion of data, but more so with the insight from the explosion of data that can facilitate actionable insights.

In my podcast with Andrew I shared examples from two books I’ve read that discuss the importance of being a data driven marketing company. In Precision Marketing by Sandra Zoratti and Lee Gallagher, they pose the question on page 4: Why aren’t more marketers implementing precision marketing (data driven marketing) practices? Zoratti and Gallagher offer three reasons. They say that marketers struggle with:

  1. Collecting the correct data
  2. Acting on customer data already collected
  3. Execution and measuring results to test predictions

Another example I reference in the podcast is from the book The Social Employee by Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess. On page 85, Maria Poveromo, the CMO of Adobe is quoted: “We are a company that strongly believes in the power of measurement and as such, we are rapidly becoming one of the first truly data-driven social media programs in the industry.”

Measure from Revenue Backwards

Andrew argues that in the context of marketing ROI the C-suite cares only about revenue. While I don’t disagree, I pointed out that measuring pre-defined KPIs that contribute to revenue are easily understood by the C-suite. A social business needs to measure activities that can be clearly attributable to revenue contribution. Hence, Andrew’s point to “work backward from revenue.”

Measuring Content Efficiency

The C suite doesn’t care about how many tweets or likes a blog post gets, or how many views or impressions or shares your content has. The C-suite doesn’t even care how many leads you produce, unless you can correlate any of these metrics to revenue. So, when I speak in terms of content efficiency, it is only meaningful to the C-suite if it correlates to revenue. If one piece of content produced 10 leads that resulted in two sales, and another piece of content produced 100 leads that converted zero sales, the answer is obvious which one performed better. This type of data calls for further analysis into why it worked, so you can strive to execute more content with 20% conversion outcomes.

We also discussed the importance of analyzing personas to maximize the chance of reaching your target audience. It requires heavy lifting to do persona analysis that will result in content efficiency that produces true business outcomes. Andrew points out that he doesn’t care if one of his blog posts get a gzillion tweets or likes if none of them is from specific CMOs he has targeted. Some would call this quality over quantity. Sure. But, it’s more about relevancy than anything else from a data driven standpoint.

At the end of the day Andrew says KPIs must correlate to revenue. Example: if a 2% increase in share of voice correlates to revenue growth by X, then the C-suite will care about share of voice as a KPI. If more CMOs present KPIs in this context, the C-suite will be more supportive of social business initiatives.

FishTV – A Lesson in Accidental Data

In 1993 CableVision was trying to launch a new premium cable channel called the SciFi network. They hit an unexpected delay at the last minute. They had been aggressively marketing the forthcoming SciFi network and when the delay occurred they expected a huge backlash from subscribers. With no other “plan B” in place, they rolled a fish tank into the studio. They filmed the fish tank with an onscreen statement apologizing for the delay in the SciFi network. To their surprise, no one complained. Six months later when the SciFi channel finally launched people complained that their “fish tv” channel was no longer available.  They negotiated a deal to air FishTV on the Bravo channel, found a sponsor to keep it it on the air and created a new revenue stream from a seemingly unplanned disaster. FishTV aired for six years as a premium channel on cable television. You can read the full story on page 194 of Andrew’s book Brandscaping.

What Would You Change About How Business is Conducted Today?

On my podcast I ask each guest this question. In his response, Andrew would convince businesses to focus on increasing the size of their market instead of trying to increase their share of the current market. “It would revolutionize the way we conduct business,” says Andrew. “Think about market size instead of market share.” Example: a 10% share of market in a $100 market = $10. If you double the market and maintain 10% share, your value has doubled to $20. This is visionary. The more people you can convince that they need a product or service like yours, the more sales potential you have. Andrew points out that “if you make blenders and you convince more people to make smoothies, you increase demand for blenders.”

Andrew is a dynamic marketer with incredible insights, and a high energy keynote speaker. You can catch Andrew as a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World 2014.

Catch my 30 minute podcast interview with Andrew Davis below. You can subscribe to my podcast on Stitcher and iTunes. And you can watch my interviews with brand marketers on the YouTube version of Social Business Engine.

 

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