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The Four Guiding Principles of Data-Driven Marketing

Good marketers are not necessarily smarter than anyone else… It’s just that clarity almost always trumps persuasion.  Understanding how to “read” customer behaviour and intent used to be largely a black art based mainly on instinct and experience. Those days are gone. Today, predicting customer behaviour is closer to a science than an art (Tweet this). Having the right tools and technology at your disposal to deliver a compelling customer experience are obviously a given. But I think you also need a few guiding principles along the way to help you apply this new “science” if you are to defend and grow your market share.

We all know that big data and analytics can enable us to garner insight from all sorts of disparate sources such as CRM, social, marketing, sales, and service transactions coupled with transactional data within a predictive framework.  This combination of structured and unstructured data creates a more complete customer view that can further the conversation, reveal patterns of customer intent and provide predictive guidance on the future of customer behaviour. As an aside, if you’re not already doing this sort of data-driven marketing, you should be! (That’s a whole other blog…). This type of predictive knowledge enables you to align corporate goals with customer expectations. The end result is that you’re able to deliver the highest level of customer experience on behalf of your company. 4 Guiding Principles Blog.jpg

But aside from the tools and framework, I always tell people that there are four guiding principles to keep in mind with data-driven marketing (Tweet this).

  • First, remember that responsibility for customer experience initiatives is not confined to a single department but rather is a holistic organisational effort that requires participation from all customer-facing departments. By this I mean marketing, sales, fulfilment, service, and support, as well as back-office processes, such as finance, inventory management, distribution, and logistics.  In other words, it needs to be joined up!
  • Second, it is important to understand that the success of data-driven marketing depends on issues such as senior-level sponsorship and active endorsement.  Having tight alignment with business strategy, clear, measurable objectives, and a culture that supports data-driven decision are all fundamentals that need to be in place. Not to be repetitive, but it needs to be joined up…
  • Third, creating a complete customer view through data is not restricted to internal transactional data, social media inputs, or customer service and contact centre records. All data sources play a role in the total customer view and need to be aggregated, rationalised, and weighted by use case. There’s a gold mine of information about your customers sitting inside your data sources (Tweet this). You just need to simply unlock them.
  • Finally, remember that numbers alone cannot tell the whole story. Yes, data drives our decisions but it does not dictate them. I believe there is a strong need for judgment, expert interpretation, and common sense implementation, which is the sweet spot where we as marketers can really shine.

Would you agree with my four principles? Leave your comments in the comments section below! And for more insight into this topic take a look at this complimentary report from the IDC.


Sian Smith – Head of Marketing, SAP EMEA

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