Why marketers must be data-driven
Many B2B marketers lack the necessary data to make effective business decisions -- or they lack confidence in the data they do have. Columnist Victoria Godfrey explains how to overcome data paralysis.
In today’s highly competitive digital economy, the result that counts is revenue, and the only way to ensure your marketing team delivers that result is through data-driven marketing.
This may seem simple, but many B2B marketers face a data dilemma: either they lack the data they need to make effective business decisions or they lack confidence in the data they do have. Marketers must overcome this data paralysis if they want to succeed.
Marketing must be data-driven
Data permeates every facet of business today, and marketing teams are evolving to reflect the data-driven culture. While there is still an art and creative science to marketing, even the creative aspects of the job are now driven by insights and analysis.
What this means is that no marketing leader can succeed without one foot firmly planted in data. The challenge for marketers is ensuring that data does not become a roadblock.
Marketers must be able to work with data and apply data insights in an effective and measurable way if they want to succeed in today’s marketing landscape.
The benefits of data-driven marketing are well-documented. From precise targeting to real-time, actionable insights that enable informed decision-making, data has transformative powers. In fact, in a recent study that Avention (my employer) executed with B2B marketers, lack of access to the right data was cited as the number one roadblock to sales and marketing success.
Data fosters strategic decision-making
Alignment of sales and marketing teams around data provides a platform for strategic decision-making within organizations. By providing both teams with the same view of customer and prospect data, sales and marketing teams are able to align around key accounts and company goals, providing a more strategic direction for the company as a whole.
This is the basis of account-based marketing (ABM) — the fastest growing, most effective B2B marketing method today. With this model, success isn’t based on getting leads; it’s about acquiring or expanding an account.
To achieve success with ABM requires data-informed marketing and sales aligning on the same objectives and working toward the same goal. This process cannot work without the right data and insights into new and existing customer opportunities, changing market conditions, real-time events and more.
To make an impact that matters to the C-suite, marketing leaders must adopt data-driven strategies. Fortunately, the path to success is paved with the technology and tools to make every marketer data-driven.
Technology drives marketing’s evolution
Using simple technology solutions, marketers can see their customers and markets holistically. This empowers the marketing department to own strategic activities such as market sizing, opportunity identification and territory planning.
Innovative technology ushered in the digital marketing evolution more than a decade ago, and today, marketers need the right tools to effectively manage, implement and measure data-driven strategies. With these tools, data-driven marketing has become more accessible and measurable. Marketers have the ability to clean, visualize and leverage their data in infinitely valuable ways to deliver high-impact results.
The data dichotomy
The very data that is making marketers more effective is also holding them accountable in ways they never were before. The results marketers were held to in the past are not the same outcomes that company leaders are looking for today.
Just a decade ago, it would have been unthinkable to tie marketing to a specific revenue goal without the means to effectively target and track campaigns and measure results. With data at our fingertips, we can — with a high degree of accuracy — identify the right targets, craft the right message and deliver it at the right time.
We can track precisely what triggers cause a prospect to convert to a lead and how that lead moves through the funnel, and we know without a doubt which leads become customers and how much revenue they produce.
In short, modern B2B marketers can be held accountable to bottom-line goals, because data makes it both feasible and measurable.