Qualifiers Vs. Motivators: Not All Data Is Created Equal

In 2014, the industry buzz term of the year was “data-driven marketing,” and we’ve been in a data revolution ever since. But what got lost along the way  was purpose. By now, everyone agrees data drives ROI, but there is still work to be done on when, why and how to apply it.

Qualifying vs. Motivating Data

Marketers want to reach target audiences and not waste media. Toward this end, demographics, past purchases, location, and brand affinity all play a major role. But marketers need to be careful not to forget that these data points — when used in isolation —may fall short of providing valuable marketing insights or a better customer experience.

According to Statista, marketers are spending over $11 billion dollars a year on data for audience targeting and then bombarding an entire audience with the same message over and over again. That’s not personalization; it’s spam. It’s definitely not a competitive differentiation when everyone has access to the same third-party data sources, and targets the same groups of people with mass messaging.



When was the last time a consumer actually bought something just because they were, for example, a woman 25-40? Or because they bought a dress once? Those data attributes don’t address the “why” motivating their purchase decisions, and therefore, are not what will motivate a consumer to buy another.

Instead, these types of “qualifying” data attributes enable marketers to select and reach a targeted pool of consumers. Still, though, the message has to motivate them to take action. This is where understanding the “why” comes in.  Motivating data can help address the real drivers behind a consumer’s decision.

When you know the motivators, the magic of data-driven marketing happens. This is when a brand becomes relevant and truly adds value to heir customers’ lives.

Ending the Madness & Getting to “Why”

In our new world of GDPR, e-privacy and consumer trust issues, brands need to shift their data focus.  Brands need to create 1:1 data relationships with their consumers and remove what are often suspect third-party middlemen.

Building and growing their own first-party walled gardens of consumer self-declared and self-offered data lets marketers mitigate legal risk and manage reputational risk. Equally importantly, this approach also helps get to uncover the “why” behind the buy.

This change in approach to data-driven marketing is about getting to know your customers and prospects over the long term to ensure maximum lifetime value. It’s figuring out what the three to five self-declared data points are you need to understand to get to the “why” so your brand can be relevant and valuable to your customers--not which demographic qualifiers tend to define purchasers (and are easily purchased from an outdated or inaccurate third party database).

This is a new world of data-driven marketing, with new rules and new considerations and consumers are now in control. Brands must adapt a consumer-first data strategy and unearth the “why” of their purchases--and execute upon those insights. The brands that don’t acknowledge this new reality will get lost in all the noise and drown in a sea of sameness.

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