Creating a Data Driven Marketing Organization

The term “data driven” is thrown around quite often in the world of marketing, and I’m often convinced that very few people actually know what it really means to be data driven.

There are data driven marketing strategies, like those championed by Google and Amazon to increase the number of people who use their products. These strategies often involve making changes to marketing strategy based on customer analytics, split testing and historical trends.

There are data driven companies that make entire decisions based on the data that they collect about their products, services, customers and market conditions. These strategies often make a company sustainable, profitable and in tune with how they should move the business forward.

There are data driven analytics strategies that try to bring positive change, cost savings and profit to an organization. These strategies often utilize business intelligence tools, analyzing “big data” and data mining strategies to make drastic improvements to the bottom line.

While all of these scenarios are examples of a company being data driven, rarely does a company employ all three of these strategies well in their organization. They may be great at big data analytics, but weak in using product usage data to inform decisions. They may be optimized for profit, yet continue to throw money away with advertising programs that are ineffective and unaccountable.

Most organizations fail to do everything well, and it’s often due to a lack of understanding what is possible.

Understanding the possible with digital marketing analytics

My consulting practice is formed around helping companies understand what is possible when it comes to data driven online marketing strategies.

This often comes in the form of reviewing their current online marketing programs and analytics data to see where there are opportunities for revenue growth, cost savings and profit maximization. It also involves looking at the way that they are collecting data in the first place to make sure the data is accurate, relevant and actionable for the marketing team.

While I certainly enjoy this practice, I have found that there is often one thing that gets in the way of creating a data driven marketing organization: a lack of understanding by senior leadership of what is possible with digital marketing and analytics.

Recently I have been tasked with speaking to C-Suite executives about how analytics can help improve their organization. While I have spoken to executives many times in the past, this will be the first time that I have the attention of the entire C-Suite at one time to deliver my message about why they should start caring about digital analytics. This is one of the few times I have been nervous to speak in years!

Building an executive presentation around the value of digital analytics

For the rest of this entry, I wanted to walk through the thought process of how I think that this presentation should flow. And then for Knowledge Land premium subscribers, I will be providing you with the entire slide deck that I am presenting to these executives. This may be our biggest giveaway yet!

When you are talking to a room of executives who may not have a marketing background, it’s best to start with establishing the tone by forming a common understanding.

Understanding Analytics

In this case we are talking about analytics, so it’s good to start by defining what analytics is as a discipline. To me, analytics is the process of taking raw data and turning it into something useful. Executives love seeing analysis that is useful!

Vendor Landscape

The digital analytics industry was once wide open, but it is now dominated by Google Analytics. Your company chose to use Google Analytics because you are really smart! You rock!

Establish Common Objectives

If there is ever a disconnect between marketing teams and company leadership, it’s that they have different ideas in mind for what their objectives should be. This is often because they have vastly different motivations. Bridge the gap by agreeing upon a common framework and set goals for everyone to target moving forward.

Beyond the Data

Help executives understand that data itself is not the only thing that will make their organization do well. There is also a need for qualitative data collection, competitive analysis and more ways to tell your customer story.

Data Driven Organizations

Give examples of companies that are data driven and make a lot of money. Sometimes just seeing what other companies are doing is enough to get companies interested in becoming more data driven.

Empowering Your Organization

Executives are smart people who hired smart people to market their business. They probably don’t care to learn about the tactics of marketing, but will be interested in understanding how they can help marketing succeed. This is the opportunity to tell executives exactly how they can help the organization by giving them the resources, feedback and prioritizing data driven marketing. They also need to know what they can expect to get out of this commitment.

Creating a data driven organization, are you convinced?

The above presentation can be summed up by saying:

  • Here is why we are here today
  • Here is why you are already smart
  • Here is how you can communicate better
  • Here is why your team is so important
  • Here is what happens when you listen
  • Here is what you need to do next

While I think that this presentation will take a few revisions to be perfect, I really like the direction it is heading. In 20 minutes we can summarize the entire reason why Digital Analytics is so important and tell executives exactly how they can help.

How can you convince an organization that has fallen behind in data adoption that they need to become more data driven? By laying out a well formulated and convincing case for more data usage in the future. This presentation delivered on that promise in the boardroom, and now it’s available for you to download!

About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.