That sounds rather harsh, but it’s a reality. There’s little to no space left in today’s landscape to be a marketer who is not looking at and leveraging data.
The most interesting idea is this concept of being data-driven rather than data-conscious. I find lots of marketers who say they are data-driven, but they really aren’t. Let me explain.
Being a data-driven marketer means you have access to 360-degree, real-time insights about your campaigns and channels. The difference between data and insights is actionability. Data is good. Insights are better. Actions are best.
Being data-driven means you are running dynamic go-to-market efforts that leverage insights and use them to improve your performance, both in terms of direct-revenue-driving efforts as well as brand and awareness development. Your insights get turned into actions, either through AI and automation or via active optimization driven by a team of campaign managers.
What you do affects the outcome of your campaigns. This is turning insights into action, which is the difference between being data-driven and being data-conscious.
Being data-conscious means you are aware of data and you use it to report on your campaigns, but you do not have actions driven by that data. Data-conscious organizations report on what happened. Data-driven organizations report on what they did, what happened and what they are doing next.
There are lots of organizations that are data-conscious, but they have not quite made the shift to data-driven. It’s not a matter if desire, but of knowledge and process being established, plus a little bit of muscle memory. You need the right team, you need the right tech and you need the habits.
The transition takes time, but it is exciting. When your team shifts to being data-driven, you create accountability. Your teams work hard, and they want to know if the work they are doing has a direct or indirect on the growth of your business.
Data and actionability creates a sense of excitement and can lift the energy in your organization. Being data-driven can jumpstart your organization into a new direction!
To achieve this status, look at the people you have and see if they are asking “why?” Why did a campaign perform? Why did it not? Why did the audience respond better on version 1 over version 2? Why did you see a decrease in traffic when all signs pointed to increased qualification of the audience?
Asking “why” is the beginning of critical thinking, and critical thinking is how your organization evolves and improves. Asking “why” creates a habit that becomes a data-driven organization.
Try asking “why” in your next performance reporting session and then “what do we do as a result” of that answer. That will get you on the path you need to go. I think you might find the exercise fun.