Data, and the importance of it, is nothing new to marketing.
What mattered most in direct mail? The list quality (i.e. data). You could craft a killer piece of content and promotion, but if the list was bad, the results were bad — not to mention the amount of money wasted on returned mail.
What matters most in digital marketing? Still data. In fact, data is not just important FOR effective marketing. It’s an enabler OF effective marketing.
Here are just a few examples:
I’m sure you could add to this list. While data has always been a part of marketing, data has become so big, so complex, so spread across systems, and so vital to analyze that it’s finally gotten the attention of marketing leadership and the CIO.
What are marketing leaders doing about it? Putting resources and focus on data. The modern CMO cares about the customer experience, the brand, and harnessing the power of data. They are directing their teams to become data-driven marketers so they can leverage customer information for media buys, targeting, better content marketing, and attribution.
Our clients’ marketing budgets now have line items for people responsible for data, and toolsets for managing and leveraging that data. Have you heard the acronym CDP yet? If not, you will. Since it’s “prediction month,” my prediction is that CDP (Customer Data Platform) will be one of the most often mentioned three-letter-acronyms at every marketing conference starting in 2019. What, you don’t have a CDP yet? You will, along with other data tools across sales and marketing. It’s not an if, but when.
And all this power and complexity means one thing: It’s time for you to start planning and staffing a data operations team. You didn’t have a marketing operations team in the past, and now you can’t imagine not having one — or at least a person responsible for it. Data operations will be another function that you need to outsource or hire for to be effective in the digital era.
Notice, I am not calling the function Data Science or the role Data Scientist. I’m calling it Data Operations and Data Operations Manager because it’s truly an extension of Marketing Operations. You don’t need to be a data scientist to be effective in the role, but it sure doesn’t hurt. What the team needs is a natural passion and aptitude for data mining and analytics along with the communication and presentation skills to illuminate the insights to other members of the team, as well as the executive team.
Need help building out this discipline? Come talk to me or my team about it. DemandGen has been managing data operations for the past several years and now provides data services to our clients to help them build their data stacks and staff their data operations team.
Data talk may not seem cool to you (yet). I get that, especially if your background is the “art of marketing.” While it’s much more fun for some to lead a rebrand, unveil a new website, or release a new demo video or marketing campaign, you can’t ignore the responsibility anymore.
Trust me on this one — if you become a data-driven marketer, you’ll be invaluable to the organization and empowered to drive the business like you never imagined. So long, cost center — and hello, demand, insight, and revenue center.
For more than 20 years, David Lewis has been a pioneering innovator in digital marketing and has overseen marketing for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology firms. He founded DemandGen in 2007 to build the worlds’ first marketing technology agency.
For the past decade, David and his team at DemandGen have been at the forefront of the transformation taking place in marketing by helping hundreds of the top sales and marketing teams around the world incorporate sales and marketing technology to drive growth. David is an accomplished industry speaker, thought leader, author, and host the of DemandGen Radio, a bi-weekly podcast devoted to educating marketing professionals on the best technologies and methods for driving growth. His ground-breaking work on the transformation of marketing and sales is at the heart of his #1 book on Lead Management, Manufacturing Demand: The Principles of Successful Lead Management.