Because of this, being a successful CMO requires data literacy. Using data to inform decisions will help you reach your target audience and increase the ROI of your efforts.
Here are some considerations to help your brand use data properly:
Look beyond reports. Instead of simple reports, you should receive a data story from your partners. Challenge them on their recommendations and look for answers rooted in analysis. It’s easy to say “conversions increased because we introduced paid social,” but supporting that statement is going to take work and more than one data point.
In fact, analysts are rarely able to say definitively why something happened. Instead, we have to connect many disparate data points to explain why. It’s similar to a prosecutor attempting to use many pieces of evidence to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty.
Spot the difference between analytics theater and actual analytics. Picture this: you’re sitting around the pitch table and after two hours of slides, there are three minutes left for the analytics team to present. Does this scenario seem familiar? Analytics shouldn’t be parsley on the plate; it should have written the recipe.
And, when it comes to campaign performance reviews, always question your partners about their recommendations. Ask for the supporting appendix to dig deeper. Be a healthy skeptic to ensure you’re getting good recommendations. Otherwise, your agency may be gambling with your resources.
Branded analytics tools aren’t always as sophisticated as they’re portrayed. I'm not a fan of black boxes, which are often what many agencies pitch to clients. Before you invest in these tools, you should know how a product actually functions. Vendors should make their product understandable, so if you think you’re just not smart enough to understand how it works, keep asking questions. The last thing you want to do is buy the emperor’s new clothes.
Work toward data literacy. Marketing success is driven by business growth and innovation, and in today’s world, strategies must be rooted in data. Ask questions – good analyses will always generate more questions than answers. This is a learning loop; each time around that loop, you’ll become more sophisticated.
Get comfortable with change. Data and analytics often bring increased accountability into an organization. Many leaders built their careers on winning, but sometimes decide the rules of the game after it’s over. This is evidenced by the number of times clients have asked to prove the success of a campaign after it’s ended. This is an artificial, hollow “victory” because there’s no possibility of failure if we decide the success criteria afterward.
While campaigns do need to show business value, a tremendous amount of value can stem from a campaign that doesn’t hit its intended KPIs. A campaign is never a failure unless we fail to learn from it. This shift in mindset can be difficult, but it’s how we improve.
Data-driven marketing can help you stay competitive and create meaningful connections with customers by offering them personalized experiences tailored to their needs. This isn’t something that can be done overnight; it requires ongoing analysis, testing, and optimization.