Data-Driven Marketing Has Become a Necessity

Gartner_Investment in Marketing Technology & Substitutes Rise
In preparation for my talk at the Consumer Goods Technology Sales & Marketing Summit# [watch the #CGSM2014 next week, if interested], I have been poring over research and analyzing the relationship between marketing and IT.

Futher thoughts on the topic of technology as the foundation of business outcomes.

Data-Driven Marketing Has Become a Necessity

Because of its ability to capture and track customers’ buying preferences and past purchase history, technology has been moving closer to the store front and to customer-facing applications, and it has shifted from “nice to have” to necessity for marketers.

Data and intelligence are the key reasons why CMOs and marketing groups are increasingly either driving or influencing software purchasing and implementation decisions. CIOs and IT groups in top performing companies are partnering with the business to enable and/or guide the process.

Check out the chart from Gartner above — all positive action.

One of the key battlegrounds in the relationship between marketing and technology is in the ownership and use of data. 

While traditional measures of customer awareness, attraction, and retention are still commonplace, marketers are looking to gain a better hold on what works best by tracking metrics across channels – TV, social media, radio, mobile, point of sale (POS), etc. – and along the customer lifecycle.

Broader customer adoption of technologies and tools has expanded the volume of data available, yet more data has increased the complexity of the task. Customer, operational, and transactional data often reside in different systems and are captured in different formats, making it challenging to gain visibility into the key performance metrics that move the needle on the business.

At the same time, the pressure on the marketing organization to deliver measurable, attributable results is increasing.

Take for example InterContinental Hotels

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) achieved a 35% higher rate of conversion. How? By consolidating all of its customer-marketing information into a single data warehouse, analyzing it from many angles, and using precise targeting for the 71 million of its Priority Club instead of the normal seven to 15 marketing messages, IHG was able to deliver 1,552 different messages depending on customers’ interests#.

Organizations in which technology and marketing cannot partner to act on their data suffer from fragmented analysis, decisions driven by “what we did before” or “highest paid person’s opinion” rather than by customer feedback and analytic insight, and the inability to invest in marketing or technology based on accurate assessments of ROI.

Marketing organizations can subsist without the support of technology by cobbling together SaaS solutions and their own elbow grease. These types of organizations rarely generate the same returns from their analytic efforts as those in which there is a more holistic, technologically-adept approach.

Customer understanding and the ability to provide value are how to win the game

Technology is everywhere, and it touches every aspect of the business. Marketing is no longer possible without utilizing technology. Handling the fragmentation of the current media environment and that of disparate internal systems and data sources needed to make smart decisions and drive results is unthinkable without technology.

Because digital marketing is more front office than back office, is experienced directly by consumers, and is an engine for new revenue integral to the brand, CMOs are leveraging technology to help their organizations become more visible in competitive positioning.

Businesses don’t have to guess who their customers are and what their customers think anymore, they don’t have to figure things out from just a focus group or a panel. The truth is in the data, and they know how to get to it.

Technology has become a very important part of the future of business –- it is not going to completely replace going out and talking with customers, because identifying motivations and observing behaviors go hand in hand. It goes a long way to making the customer experience better, and when it isn’t that great, helping identify where it falls apart sooner.

Organizations that are thoughtful about how they design the customer experience across channels and stages of interest win at the critical moments of truth, the conversion to service and product, and subsequent subscription and/or product ownership, where customers choose to spend time, money, and attention.

Unlocking new product opportunities is the main reason why the relationship between business and IT is critical. By working together, these two groups can truly revolutionize business outcomes.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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