GLOBAL: Technology and data are transforming the marketing landscape and pushing it towards a data-driven future – and companies need to prepare accordingly, an industry figure has argued.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to develop an effective data-driven marketing strategy, Lewis Taffs, senior consultant at ID Comms, explains that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are areas of common ground – and significant gains for marketers who get it right.

It is important, Taffs stresses, to take a fully integrated approach to digital transformation and data-driven marketing, since this is a wide-ranging area that covers everything from business intelligence and audience insights to product development and pricing – as well as communication design and delivery, and marketing effectiveness.

“While it is possible to work data-driven marketing separately from the wider organisation, or to integrate this into the wider work later down the line, from an operational standpoint the largest shifts and gains will be seen when these are tackled together,” he says.

A seven-stage programme begins with formulating an action plan that has senior stakeholder support. Priorities should be assigned based on the predicted impact to the business, along with the time and cost needed for implementation.

When considering this, Taffs believes marketers need to remember the product or service’s go-to-market strategy will help define the role of data-driven marketing. He says e-commerce businesses will inevitably use data-driven marketing differently to fast-moving consumer goods businesses.

However, Taffs stresses that whatever the business, the technology involved should not be allowed to obscure the fact that good marketing relies on knowing the consumer. “One of the key benefits of data-driven marketing is that it makes use of behavioural data,” he says. “This removes the potential for any conscious or unconscious bias that may arise from respondents’ answers.”

The consumer journey then becomes an essential component of planning content and connections, noting the digital interactions a consumer makes, assessing what data sources could be used to answer open questions, and looking for product or category signals that can be used in activation.

Marketers should also understand the value of the various types of targeting data – whether that’s first-, second- or third-party data, and whether it’s ‘persistent’, such as an email address, or ‘dynamic’ in the case of cookies.

“Joining up data sources to your marketing efforts is becoming one of the most powerful ways to enhance campaigns,” says Taffs, enabling better targeting and better measurement of return on investment.

According to Taffs, marketers will also need to identify a suitable level of personalisation. What works for a direct-to-consumer brand probably won’t be appropriate for a store-bought brand.

They will also have to decide how best to manage their tech stack and programmatic media, which will depend on several factors, including resources, capabilities and the perspective and controls in place for transparency.

Sourced from WARC