The reason you become a marketer is because the job presents you with daily challenges that look like magic from the outside. Getting brand awareness. Converting that attention into revenue. And connecting with consumers on a personal level, ensuring their loyalty and brand advocacy. In an increasingly noisy world, where we are inundated with texts, emails and ads over many digital channels, how do you accomplish this -- and at scale?
In a word: data. But not just any data -- Smart Data.
With ever-stringent budgeting, marketers are accountable for every dollar spent across each campaign; especially as the onset of effective social ads has shifted our marketing spend. Knowing exactly how each campaign performs is the key to responsible marketing practice and retaining -- or hopefully, increasing -- your budget for the next fiscal year. While we often have scads of data at our disposal, the process of compiling and marrying multiple, incongruous systems to action on these Big Data sets is not just overwhelming but unrealistic. Even as you may be reaching into the pockets of your CIO brethren, if you don't know how to action the data once you have it it’s useless. That's where Smart Data comes into play.
Smart Data is the overarching concept of real-time analysis of Big Data to generate informed results. It's a framework that any business or industry can adopt and that arguably, some already have in so many words. As a solution for digital communications, however, Smart Data generates informed, personalized decisions down to an individual level. It allows a marketer to provide content and products on-site, in emails and within ads that are completely aligned with a customer's unique interests, based on their browsing, purchase history and stated preferences. For brands, that can all happen in real-time, and automatically -- it's 2013, after all.
This is a concept I have been focused on for most of my career as a marketer. At previous companies I have launched simple daily digests that received great click-throughs and drove scores of traffic back to a site. But those were merely rundowns of popular content; every user received the same email. Imagine -- if I could have customized it to each person's unique interests, both explicit and implicit -- the ROI we could have had! Yet the functionality did not exist at the time, and it translated into money left on the table. If you are like me, the application of data into the personalized automation of marketing and communications is addictive both personally and professionally.
As a marketer, automating the types of use cases I encountered historically could have saved me time and energy -- and critically, automation ensures that the content I serve is perfectly accurate at that exact moment. Every marketer knows that as soon as you pull data, it's outdated. Being able to serve relevant content to each individual user in real-time practically guarantees higher engagement.
As a consumer, my inbox is perpetually full and Web sites are squeezing on ever more content. I naturally engage with those that are meaningful to me, the customer. New technologies that leverage Smart Data are resulting in communication that I *want* to see. While my bank account doesn't thank them, my brain does. Win-win.
High click-throughs, increased customer lifetime value and improved time spent on-site all lead to more loyal customers who have a unified, personal relationship with a brand -- one that directly drives ad revenue and sales. Bottom line: smarter consumers today demand smarter marketing, and smarter marketers use Smart Data.