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Data-Driven Marketing: What is it and why marketers need it

It’s official: data-driven marketing is in, gut-feel marketing is out. As marketing budgets are being slashed, you’re expected to cut through the noise in every marketing campaign while trying to reach more consumers at a low cost. The customer experience constantly needs to be optimized and hyper-personalized to gain hard-earned consumer retention. With so much on your plate, a data-driven strategy helps you leave gutfeel thinking behind and take insight-led action that brings results.

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The days when marketing was about trial-and-error (because of limited and unreliable data) are long gone. Data and analytics have been a marketer’s aid for a while now, especially in digital marketing. Marketing technology has unlocked different data points to give you valuable insights that help paint a picture of your marketing.

Collecting your customer’s interactions and engagement (with GDPR and data privacy in mind) is your most powerful resource. This data forms a window for you and data analysts to know more about your customers to drive your marketing efforts. But if data isn’t used correctly, your marketing function won’t have an effective data-driven marketing strategy.

While we love data – you don’t want to be looking at too much “big data”! It becomes overwhelming and a burden. Organizing your customer data securely and in a structured way helps you picture and predict your customer’s future behavior. Investing in the right tools enables you to connect with customers at the right time. In data-driven marketing, having an AI-based multichannel marketing platform that does part of the work for you is a must – in both analytics and decision-making.

But beware: settling for mediocre software can cost you. No matter the size of your business, the real winners are marketers and data analysts who invest in their marketing technology. The flexibility to centralize your data points, tap into your data, and harness its power to visualize & analyze data, spot issues, can help drive a powerful, insight-led customer experience.

But first, you need to understand what data-driven marketing is.

What is Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven marketing is a process of collecting your customer’s interactions and engagements to forecast your customer’s behavior. By predicting the behavior of each of the customers, you’ll be able to send them the right offer or message at the right time that drives engagement.

For example, a consumer opens your app to search for a product they need. A pair of shoes appear on the front page, reflecting their interests, likes, and personality. How could they possibly not add them to the cart? This drives customer engagement simply by getting to know your customers through data and personalizing their content.

It’s what Nike does when leveraging first-party data, not only to boost sales in its DTC channels and e-commerce but to switch to a DTC model gradually. This highlights a significant point that’s flying over people’s heads. Big brands, often seen as slow movers, are becoming the first to recognize the importance of first-party data. Even our client, PepsiCo, is seeing a superior performance in their marketing simply through leveraging first-party data.

Why should you adopt Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven marketing saves you time and resources while helping you focus on more productive tasks. Even if it may feel like you’re dealing with some riddles you can’t quite understand at the beginning, the right software and training can help you quickly overcome that bump to reap other benefits.

Get to know your customer better

With accurate data at your fingertips, drawing insights about your customers makes it easy to enable a personalized marketing strategy. By drawing valuable information from your customer information, you’ll find it easier to segment and group your customers to push out data-driven content that drives customer engagement.

Increase revenue, decrease costs

Did you know that a 5% increase in retention rates will increase your profit by 25% to 95%? Data-driven marketing and hyper-personalization won’t only increase sales and decrease costs but also boosts the retention rate. To drive a pleasant cross-channel experience, data-driven marketing helps you to push the right message at the right time. This helps you cut through the noise and make every customer interaction a meaningful one to drive customer engagement and acquisition, grow customer loyalty and drive revenue incrementally.

Spot weak spots to keep the customer journey flawless

Think of your marketing as a patient and yourself as the doctor. Your patient has certain health issues, e.g., low conversion rates. Before prescribing any remedies, you need to analyze the symptoms to diagnose the problem, look at the causes, and advise the treatment.

By unlocking your data and structuring it in a digestible way, you can investigate and picture the entire customer journey on a map. With accurate insight, you’ll easily find the cause and optimize the experience to achieve the desired result.

Data-driven marketing will become the new norm

In a few years, leveraging big data and first-party data will become the new standard everybody should comply with. So, it’s essential to adopt the data-driven approach now, well, before it’s too late!

What makes a Data-Driven Marketing strategy?

Customers and your internal stakeholders expect you to move fast in such a fast-paced industry. Real-time customer insights have become a vital part of the process and business decisions here, helping you take the customer experience to the next level in every marketing channel and touchpoint.

At Mapp, we’ve got a blueprint that’s guaranteed to make insight-led decision-making your greatest power. This needs to be at the center of every data-driven marketing strategy and model.

While the traditional marketing process is “data >> execution >> analytics,” to be a data-driven marketer, you need to make your data actionable. By putting insights at the center, it empowers you to have an insight-led approach that looks like this: “data >> insights >> engagement”.

This means data-driven marketers can go beyond adding big data and analytics to their cross-channel marketing. Instead, you can integrate actionable insights into your marketing to optimize the user experience much more efficiently through data-driven content.

What is Data-Driven content?

It comes in many of your marketing forms, but one example is the personalization of email marketing content. By using customer insights intelligence software like Mapp Cloud, you can go beyond mere segmentation and personalizing the recipient’s name.

After analysis, you can choose the most optimal content and send out time by creating hyper-personalized segments based on your customer personas’ characteristics, such as language, location, interests, and behavior. Of course, all of this must be GDPR compliant.

Witt-Gruppe, a German multi-channel clothing business, is no stranger to data-driven marketing. Adopting these tactics increased revenue generated via email by 56% and team productivity by 42%. Not bad for a company that sends 20 million emails every month! Want to find out how? Click the link to see the case study.

How can you become a Data-Driven marketer?

Being a data-driven marketer doesn’t mean mastering copious amounts of data manually. Sure, you can generate charts and reports, Excel spreadsheets. But big data can be overwhelming or hard to interpret.

When it comes to being a data-driven marketer it’s essential to have the software to manage data dynamically. And with these tools, come important practices that you need to put in place. Here are some tips to help you analyze big data more effectively.

  • Benchmarking

  • Assuring data quality

  • Defining KPIs and priorities

  • Integrating insights into your marketing team’s tasks

  • Gathering & accessing your big data on the same platform


With access to your data, you’ll be curious as to whether you’re doing good or bad. Hey, it’s human nature! There’s no way of knowing how well your marketing strategy and marketing campaigns are performing, unless you benchmark them with significant comparisons.

For example, you can make a time comparison by benchmarking your marketing campaign with the one you had performed the previous few years during the same season (if seasonality is a relevant factor). Then you can compare marketing campaigns from every time frame – as long as there’s some common baseline for accurate benchmarking.

You can also perform a cross-sectional benchmark by analyzing different marketing campaigns that are running at the same time, for example. You’ll draw insight into what campaign should receive more funding and where you should cut the budgets from. This type of data-driven decision-making is common in your finance department, so why not adopt the same approach?

Even if less accurate, you can do inter-company benchmarking by estimating your competitors’ overall marketing strategy and marketing campaigns results. For example, if your competitors are publicly traded companies, it’ll be much easier since you can read their quarterly reports (e.g., 10-Q), look at their revenue in the income statement, and see the main factors that contributed to that number.

Assure data quality

Two common challenges with data-driven marketing, data collection, and big data are bad data quality and data sources. When there’s so much data, it’s hard to tell insufficient data from good data.

Benchmarking helps you make sense of the data. For example, if there’s an abrupt change from the trend or your comparison, it can be two things. Either something exciting caused that change, or something is impairing your data analytics, like poor quality data.

Looking for these odd cases can be time-consuming, and human error is always at the door, especially with big data analytics. To make the process much easier and more accurate, data-driven marketers can use real-time smart alerts. It’s an AI-based marketing tool that notifies you when there is a spike in your marketing data. Machine learning is pretty cool, right?

Big data and analytics are fuel for your marketing strategy and multichannel platform. It’s like mistaking diesel for petrol; pouring the wrong customer data can break your engine when trying to drive your car. When analyzing and using big data, always ensure your customer data is clean (accurate, complete, correct and up-to-date) to enable accurate decision-making.

Define KPIs and priorities

Make sure that your marketing KPIs are aligned with the rest of the company’s strategy and goals. What is your overall target? What does marketing need to do to achieve it?

By prioritizing, you won’t only ensure the marketing function moves with the pace and direction of the other departments. You’ll also be able to deliver on your strategy while reducing your marketing efforts.

A good data-driven marketer can also access big data to spot synergies between KPIs and priorities. For example, using big data to identify your target audience comes before planning your digital marketing and content strategies – which come before social media. Of course, the order of these priorities may change according to your marketing function, but always try to find the low-hanging fruit that will drive your marketing faster and make you reach your customers more effectively.

Integrate insights

One of the main challenges in data analytics is that it’s not actionable or that the marketer doesn’t really know what to do with big data. Not every person using data is data-driven at first, but there’s an easy solution.

Instead of using data on the side, valuable insights need to be at the center of your marketing strategy. This is where the quality of your software comes in. Our software makes it easy to integrate your data into one place. Use our marketer-friendly Customer Insights reports and dashboards, AI capabilities, and supportive CSM team for accurate suggestions and help, on how and when to act on data – without the need of an in-house data scientist. It’s like driving a shiny new Tesla on autopilot!

Insight-led customers experiences guarantee more outstanding results from your marketing efforts and ensure that your customer data is acted upon at the right time, with the right offer or message for your target audience.

Gather & access your big data on the same platform

A major challenge of data-driven marketing and digital marketing is that so many platforms are involved, especially when dealing with omnichannel marketing. These become difficult to use, expensive, and marketing data ends up siloed. Analytics can also become a nightmare for every marketer, and big data can drive you and your marketing team crazy.

To solve this problem, Mapp Cloud offers a cloud-based customer data platform (CDP) and native cross-channel marketing automation in the same product. This way, if you want to increase your conversion rates, sign-ups, and click-throughs, you won’t need other vendors or complicated marketing tools for reaching out to your customers across every channel in your customer journey, such as delivery, email, SMS, app (e.g., in-app push), web channel (e.g., web-push). You can do it all on our platform.

By having all your marketing data in one place, you can leverage the full power of machine learning to deliver better user experiences at a low cost and drive a higher ROI.

To sum up

Data-driven marketing isn’t a trend. It’s a practice that you need to adopt and commit to for the long-term.

Even with cut budgets and high expectations, data-driven marketing helps you to make the most out of your marketing campaigns and reach more customers. Having the right software to manage your data makes it easy to deliver more targeted messages and offers to your customers consistently. By using insight-led customer experiences, you’ll provide outstanding customer experiences and grow customer retention.

The use of actionable and relevant marketing data goes far beyond mere analysis. It’s part of the action in every customer-centric approach. Be sure to promote a good data culture in your marketing team and leverage customer information, to improve your marketing messages and data-driven strategies.

Want to leave gut feel marketing behind? Download our digital guide to get your own actionable insights!

Gut feel marketing can be hard to let go of. Our free digital guide helps you to move on to actionable insights, uncovering:

  • The problem with traditional analytics

  • Why analytics and customer insights matter

  • Building a business case for adopting actionable analytics & customer insights for your organization

  • Optimizing what will make the most impact

  • Moving from gut feel to Artificial Intelligence

This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

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