5 ways big data is transforming marketing art into a science

To drive business growth, you need to radically revamp your traditional tools and skills and use data to make better decisions.


Today’s new breed of CMO must also possess the strong analytical skills, storytelling powers, systems knowledge, and business acumen needed to derive real value from data.

The role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) is in the throes of a sea change. You can no longer rely on your instincts to shape important campaigns and predict customer behavior. Instead, you need to leverage big data to shape everything from customer engagement to product innovation.

In fact, according to a March 2013 study1 from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), when asked which skills were most necessary for a successful marketer today, 37 percent of executives said that "using data analysis to extract predictive findings from 'big data' mattered most." This is a 20 percent higher than five years ago.

The good news is that CMOs do not have to choose between creative instinct and analytics. Instead, the best marketing campaigns rely on data analysis to inform decision-making and on creativity to translate that insight into compelling campaigns.

"Savvy marketers need trusted data at their fingertips to glean valuable insights and make data-driven decisions about campaigns, events, websites, PR, and beyond to optimize marketing efforts. No longer is operating on assumptions or gut feeling good enough. The data is there. Marketing leaders need to be data-first in everything they do to compete effectively moving forward," says Marge Breya, executive vice president and CMO at Informatica.

Big data science is no longer experimental

To appreciate the marriage of art and science, it is important to recognize the five ways big data is transforming the everyday activities of CMOs:

  1. By using marketing touch analysis to track customer response to marketing strategies, organizations are now visualizing and charting customer interactions.
  2. Programmatic marketing is helping deliver relevant and real-time messages to customers based on their online behavior.
  3. Through careful analysis of integrated CRM, including social media data, and purchasing history, marketers are developing a 360-degree view of the customer to improve segmentation and personalization.
  4. The use of Web click-stream data promises to optimize online traffic and significantly accelerate conversion rates.
  5. Tracking marketing campaigns from content creation to revenue generation is helping marketers better anticipate campaign return on investment (ROI).

Driving decisions with insight

However, all the data in the world is meaningless unless marketers possess the right skill sets for in-depth analysis. It is critical to create a marketing operations team that can work in concert with IT to gain the intelligence necessary to make the right tactical decisions.

Today’s new breed of CMO must also possess the strong analytical skills, storytelling powers, systems knowledge, and business acumen needed to derive real value from data. Only by embracing these new skill sets will CMOs be able to compete effectively in a data-centric world.


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