Navigating the future of marketing with data

Today's evolving marketing landscape needs data-driven strategies. Build robust first-party data and turn insights into strategic campaigns.

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Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen the sunsetting of Universal Analytics (UA), the rise of generative AI and major fluctuations in consumer spending owing to persistent inflation and eye-watering interest rates. Yet, amid these transformations, one thing has remained constant: our reliance on data.

Data fueled digital marketing for many years. As marketing evolved, the amount of data we have access to and the importance of using it correctly continues to grow. However, getting the most out of our data requires establishing the right foundations. 

Building strong data foundations

Revolutionary new technologies were recently introduced to digital marketing. 

The emergence of generative AI has enhanced tools such as Broad Match and Performance Max. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) replaced UA with new features for privacy and consent that align with stricter regulations and a more privacy-centric approach to marketing. Extended reality (XR) is creating innovative ways to engage customers with unique experiences.

However, these won’t do much without proper data management and cloud infrastructure. It is, therefore, imperative that we work on getting the fundamentals right before we dive into the exciting possibilities of these technologies. 

The first thing to focus on is gathering and integrating first-party data, which will drive most of our marketing decisions in the coming months. This data compensates for the deprecation of third-party cookies and offers a strategic edge to those who utilize it effectively.

Progressive profiling is one of the best methods for accumulating first-party data. It collects information without overwhelming customers and ensures details remain up to date. Then, by utilizing a cloud platform that consolidates data from various sources, we can create accurate profiles and audiences to guide our future marketing strategies.

Dig deeper: Breaking down data silos: A practical guide to integrated marketing data

Effectively using our data

Gathering data is the first step, but the real value lies in transforming raw data into actionable insights and using it to fuel our marketing campaigns.

The strategic use of GA4 is crucial in this process. GA4’s extensive customization options allow for refined customer segmentation and improved cross-channel attribution, provided it is set up and configured effectively.

Cloud integration plays a vital role here. Its capacity to handle large datasets is essential for conducting advanced analysis. Its ability to facilitate real-time collaboration across various locations and data sources can provide GA4 with a comprehensive view of customer behavior.

It is also important to clearly define the objectives of our analytics. This process will likely involve some experimentation, and tweaking the inputs until we achieve our desired result, but the insights gained will be well worth the time and effort spent.

Dig deeper: Data visualization: How to transform analytics data into actionable insights

Fueling future strategies with data

Once we’ve collected, integrated and analyzed the right data, we’ll have a wealth of insights to guide future marketing campaigns while enabling us to evaluate their success accurately.

Though basic metrics like clicks or impressions can help, the insights gained will be limited. We should move beyond these and use advanced measurement tools, leveraging AI and data modeling, to delve deeper into metrics such as lifetime value and engagement levels.

This refined data will enable us to demonstrate the direct effects of our marketing efforts. It helps pinpoint the most effective channels, identify growth opportunities and recognize any underperforming aspects of our strategy or any other areas where resources might be wasted — which is particularly important given the ongoing economic uncertainty.

On top of this, detailed data can prove invaluable for enhancing collaboration between departments, especially marketing and finance. The more detail we can show through our results, the more convincingly we can demonstrate the impact of our campaigns, facilitating the allocation of future budgets and helping us to align on KPIs.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

Succeeding with data

Digital marketing is perpetually evolving, molded by technological innovations and changes in consumer trends. However, the core element remains constant: we must leverage data to succeed.

As we progress, a strong foundation in data-driven strategies, supported by a well-integrated cloud platform, is essential. Those who have established their marketing on these pillars will undoubtedly gain valuable insights to help them adapt, fine-tune and improve their future campaigns.

On the other hand, for those lacking in these areas, the marketing landscape is set to become increasingly challenging as time goes on.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Sam Shennan
Sam is an experienced Managing Director with a demonstrated history of launching and growing companies in the marketing and advertising industry. With experience from previous roles at Clicks2Customers Australasia, Google - Australia and BigPond, Sam has strong professional skills in digital strategy, management, direct marketing and business development.

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