With the rise of digital technologies and their increasing connection to traditionally offline media, the marketing and advertising technology landscape is constantly changing and growing increasingly complex. A question your team may not think can be answered right now may very well have a possible solution six months from now. In six months, you may start to pose questions you didn’t even know you had because of newly available data. The promise of growth in technology – both point solutions as well as connected technologies – is known. The byproduct of this growth is increasingly complex datasets. These datasets offer huge potential when it comes to better understanding our consumers, our marketing, and our businesses.
The growth in the availability of data, however, also opens up the potential to be overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of possibility this information has to offer – and can make it increasingly difficult to ensure focus on the data points that can provide value and insight. So how do marketers take advantage of the opportunity that data and technology offer without getting lost? The answer is one that we all come back to time and time again – focus on fundamentals.
Remember Your Business Goals
With so much available data, and new technologies emerging constantly, the opportunity to get lost in metrics multiplies. From clicks to views to attention to engagement to completion to quality – the list of what we can measure and how we can then cut those metrics against specific segments continuously grows. At the end of the day, though, what matters is the goal of your business and, therefore, the product or service you are trying to promote. Constantly grounding yourself in this goal, and then focusing on the metrics you can directly tie to business impact, will allow for more meaningful measurement and insight. Improving on attention and engagement, for example, are only worth the investment if this then results in conversion.
Quality Assurance Matters More Than Ever
With all of this available technology, the opportunity for data discrepancy also increases. Each tool leveraged, and each connection point required, have the power to provide you with increasingly insightful pieces of data about your audience, your marketing, and your business – but only if you ensure the data coming through is clean. Improper setup and a lack of quality assurance processes can disable the most promising of analyses before the work even begins. More important, standard reporting and measurement – which should drive business decisions regarding media and marketing – may be rendered useless. In order to harness and take advantage of the opportunity that marketing data promises, the notion of “garbage in, garbage out” has to be more than just another marketing buzz phrase. Though it may not be the most glamorous of marketing work, sound setup of data technologies needs to be a priority for marketing teams and agencies.
Communication Is Key
There are many marketers who speak data fluently – data points, sources, access, segments, metrics, and more. While all marketers likely recognize the importance of data to marketing, not all marketers have the same level of data fluency. As a result, it is incumbent upon the most data fluent among us to embrace the role of translator, and to distill the data available into the reasons why the data matters to our audience. Marketers, at their core, are passionate communicators, and the effectiveness of our data hinges on our ability to use it to effectively communicate hypotheses, insights, and recommendations. Without the ability to do this, its promise can be lost.
It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. The mediums to reach our audiences are rapidly evolving, and with this our data and technology landscape grows increasingly complex. Grounding ourselves in fundamentals – business impact, quality assurance, and clear communication – will continue to empower impactful marketing in the face of this change and complexity.
Written by Neala Parenti, VP, Boston Lead of Insight and Analytics at HAVAS
Edited by Zija Wang, Medill IMC Class Of 2017