A recent Content Marketing Institute article titled “Why Marketers Need to Think Like Data Scientists (And How to Do It)” really resonated with me. At OMI, data is our business and we couldn’t agree more that it’s incumbent upon marketing professionals today to behave more like data scientists – in order to drive stronger sales, personalize customer and prospect engagement, and generate better business outcomes overall.
Today, with so much data at our fingertips, there’s no excuse not to get started with a more data-driven approach to marketing. If you want to ramp up your efforts in 2018, the Content Marketing Institute suggests these three areas to focus on:
- Descriptive Analytics: This is data that provides historical results; the equivalent of looking in the rear-view mirror of your car. Marketing examples include open and click-through rates, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) created, cost per lead, and other data that describes what recently happened. Relatively speaking, this data is the easiest to collect -- most marketers track and report descriptive analytics in some way or another, and it’s what we offer as part of our turnkey email marketing services at OMI.
- Predictive Analytics: As its name implies, this is data that enables marketers to forecast the likely outcomes of future campaigns based on historical results. Navigation apps, for example, use predictive analytics to estimate your arrival time based on your speed, traffic conditions and other real-time data. Marketing applications here would include creating lead scoring, which can help prioritize MQLs to predict those that will be most likely to close based on recent campaign outcomes. As predictive analytics can be harder to obtain and more complex to leverage, fewer marketers use them, even though doing so can yield improvements to campaign results. At OMI, together with our clients we make use of predictive analytics to optimize our ability to reach the right targets, at the right time, with the right message.
- Prescriptive Analytics: This data goes above and beyond the first two, describing not only what is likely to happen but what you can do to capitalize on it. For example, by analyzing your campaign results, predictive analytics can recommend the best image to use with a particular offer to generate the highest amount of clicks. Recent advances in data technology make prescriptive analytics an evolving opportunity for marketers; one that is gaining traction as it is proving its worth in improving campaign results.
Many email marketers engage in data analysis by measuring and monitoring their campaign results and conducting A/B testing, using the “winning” elements to improve future outcomes. But if your executive management team is asking for more in-depth, advanced analysis or better results (and who isn’t these days?), it may be time to engage with a data science expert, or invest in data science tools or platforms to elevate your game.
The bottom line is, data insights allow organizations to gain a competitive edge, and those businesses that fail to make use of them will stagnate. By thinking more like a data scientist and leveraging the analytical data at your disposal, you will be able to say “I know” more often than “I think.” And the ability to do that can be a powerful game changer for your business.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email