Data once had an ominous role in marketing, now it’s every marketer’s most valuable resource.

Data-driven marketing ensures campaigns have impact, touching people in a way that has far greater resonance than blanket messaging. Not only this, it makes it easy to put a scalable and repeatable process in place.

Using data analytics to inform marketing is the present and the future. Here, we take a closer look at what’s happening in the world of data-driven marketing and how brands can get in on the act.

1. Advanced marketing attribution is the way forward.

Brands have long struggled with understanding the exact role each marketing activity plays in what has become an increasingly complex online purchase journey.

This is changing as attribution becomes more advanced, tracking customers across multiple devices and channels. This is enabling brands to prioritize spend and ensure they’re investing in the activities and channels that play a proven role in conversion.

2. Consumers expect more personalization.

Personalized name or gender is no longer enough when it comes to engaging customers.

Recent research from Salesforce reveals one in two UK customers are likely to switch from a company that doesn’t make an effort to personalize their interactions. Not only this, more customers are willing to share their data with trusted companies in exchange for personalized marketing.

With advanced customer data so readily available, savvy brands are using this to tailor their marketing based on customers’ past preferences and behaviors. Leading brands are taking it a step further using data based on interests, attitudes and perceptions to guide their activity.

Here are our top examples of personalization in practice and why they worked.

3. Marketers need to develop a cross-channel view of customers.

Customers use numerous channels to interact with brands, from corporate websites to multiple social media platforms (and our latest statistics show the average internet user now has about eight social accounts, up from just three in 2012.)

Consumers expect to be recognized regardless of channel, and they demand a  seamless and consistent experience across every touchpoint.

Identifying these touchpoints with the help of new technology means brands can track online interactions at an individual level.

Combining these insights with behavioral and transactional data allows brands to deliver the personalized experience their customers expect across multiple platforms and devices.

4. Predictive analytics is growing in popularity.

Research from Forrester in 2016 revealed that 89% of brands plan to invest in predictive analytics – a trend that’s likely to continue growing.

Brands are waking up to the value of data as a predictive tool, not just as a means of understanding past behaviors.

Using in-depth audience profiling data to analyze consumer behaviors, brands can make insights-driven predictions to decide on the what, where and when of their messaging.

Diving deeper into consumer perceptions is also helping brands to anticipate what customers want, giving companies a significant advantage over competitors.

5. Brands need to invest more in data analysis skills.

Gathering or accessing data is one thing, but having the skills to interrogate and analyze this data with clear objectives in mind is key.

Companies are now realising that a greater investment in skilled data analysts and data scientists is a necessity in today’s marketing landscape.

Technology can be a huge enabler, but it’s the human factor that truly unleashes its power.

6. The future lies in real people analytics.

Brands are increasingly enriching first party customer data with third party data, enabling them to build more holistic profiles that go beyond how individuals interact with them alone.

Accessing trusted sources of attitudinal data or information relating to device usage, for example, can reveal telling insights that enable companies to create messages that resonate.

But with the wealth of third party data in existence today, ensuring the insights you gather can be trusted is a key consideration.

By taking a multi-platform approach and honing in on data that tracks consumer behaviors and perceptions across devices, you can ensure the insights you gather are as reliable as possible, giving you a clear reflection of the consumers you need to know.

7. Companies need to develop full-funnel strategies.

Big data has disrupted the traditional marketing funnel in more ways than one, and no longer do customers move in a linear way from awareness to purchase.

Much of today’s journey is carried out alone, with consumers doing most of their own research online – using search, product review sites and social media more and more. (In fact, our latest statistics show, 40% of 16-24 year-olds use social media as a key research channel.)

This shift means brands must develop full-funnel strategies, tailoring their marketing that is delivered in the right place at the right time to meet a consumer’s specific demands.

Target your customer, nurture your customer and measure what works – and why.

Need insights to start putting data-driven marketing into practice? Download our research and methodology to find out how our data can help.

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