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Welcome to the age of data driven marketing – and the new GMA website

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Great marketing has always been driven by data but that trend is now accelerating and data driven marketing is clearly here to stay. Craig Hanna welcomes readers to this new data driven age and to the new look GMA website – which focuses on data driven channels, data innovation and data strategy.
age of data driven marketing article

We really hope you like what we’ve done here – and what we’re planning.

Our new mission at the Global Marketing Alliance is to provide Insight for data driven marketers. It’s a journey not a destination, so while we think we’ve made some big steps forward there is a lot more to come.

The reason we’ve relaunched the site is because we believe that data driven marketing is marketing. We know it’s a big claim, so let’s start by getting the gorilla in the room out of the corner and into the ring.

There are some (many) folks that still don’t think we should listen to data when it comes to marketing (but we should when it is used in other areas of life – go figure). Many arguments are put forward, such as “the data can’t tell me about the things you don’t yet know you need”. Actually, if it’s measured properly (the right things) and interpreted properly it often can. Just because you’re not very good at doing it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

If I hear that alleged Henry Ford quote, “if I’d asked people, they would have asked for a faster horse” once more, I may lose it in a shopping mall . . . (look it up its actually quoted out of context)

People keep berating me about the ‘theory of data driven marketing’. Sod off! It’s no more a theory that the ‘theory of evolution’, which is just a clever linguistic connivance to spread doubt. Evolution was a ‘theory’ in 1859. Now it’s a fact. Don’t get me started on global warming . . .

So, let’s deal with a few convenient truths that circulate:

  • Creative brilliance breaks down long-term beliefs and behaviours, not data. This may be true but many creative executions fail to deliver value and 50%+ of product launches fail (interestingly, companies that have mature marketing processes including data have a much higher success rate). Humans have a propensity to post-rationalise outcomes that are favourable. Because you were right once, because it worked once, doesn’t mean you’re a genius (sometimes it’s just dumb luck!). Would data driven, creative-wrapped in data driven execution, work better, on average? Almost certainly.
  • Creative people suffer from cognitive bias as much as other people. Being creative is not a cure for being human. Do data driven marketers get it wrong? Hell yes. But we always have to justify the data which grounds the bullshit to some extent.
  • Marketing is not just Promotion. Real marketing encompasses the other Ps, too and much more besides. Can you imagine any Pricing (what we sell things for) or any Placement (where we sell it) being done without using sales data? I thought not. Even Apple, the poster child of the design-over-data evangelists, doesn’t work in a data vacuum.
  • The challenge is getting the right data. As Dan Brinnand pointed out, Apple understood what the problems were before it developed the iPad. It didn’t look at the data on what people thought they wanted, they looked at the data that gave them insight on how people used smaller devices (and therefore what the opportunity was for a tablet).

The age of data driven marketing, here to stay

So, when you really dive in, you realise that great marketing has always been data driven. It’s just more so now as the sources of data we can access proliferates and technology allows us to use it at a speed and cost that makes sense.

We’re not the only ones who think so. You do, too. Well, maybe not all of you, but the trends are clear: data driven marketing is here to stay.

data driven marketing article

4th December had the most interest in data driven marketing in the last 4 years and the general trend is clearly upwards.

Our plan is, in time, to cover all aspects of data driven marketing. For now we are focused on data driven channels, data innovation and data strategy. Have a look around and see what you think. Perhaps try some of our most liked articles first such as Chis Halls article on Instagram Stories or Heather Andrews article on how the Neuroscience data can help advertisers measure what advertising will work best before its even been run, which have both been liked over 100 times to-date.

I’m hoping the site will drive debate, discussion, understanding and collaboration. Ultimately, and regardless of what people want to believe, the world is predominately grey and only by driving debate and understanding on both sides do we earn the right to have an opinion.

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do” — Charlie Munger.

You know where to find me . . .

Read also:

Intelligent ABM: Why data is your passport to success

The power of data – data may be the new oil, but it’s only valuable if you have a reliable engine

Author: Craig Hanna
Managing partner at The GMA | www.the-gma.com
Craig Hanna has 20 years of digital business experience helping clients create future strategies, develop robust customer experiences and make it all happen through end-to-end marketing operations implementation.

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