Data-driven marketing is one of the most important topics in marketing right now.

In a recent Econsultancy survey of thousands of marketers globally, ‘data-driven marketing which focuses on the individual’ was the most popular response from B2C marketers when asked what they felt was ‘single most exciting opportunity’ in 2019.

Which one area is the single most exciting area for your company in 2019? B2B vs B2C.

As data can be used in many ways for marketing, though, it can be difficult to know what data-driven marketing means to marketers now and how they are currently using data to improve performance.

To find out what marketers think about data-driven marketing and what they are currently doing to be more ‘data driven’, Econsultancy, in association with Oracle, recently held roundtable discussions with dozens of client-side marketers in Manila. At the Data-Driven Marketing table, hosted by Yolanda Danday, Head of Marketing, Economic Energy UK, attendees discussed their approach to data-driven marketing, some of the struggles they face, and their plans for using data to improve marketing in the future.

Below is a summary of what was said, but first we’d like to let readers know about an upcoming event. Econsultancy, in association with Oracle, will be holding a free roundtable discussion for client-side marketers, ‘Creating Customer Connections through Data, Technology and AI’. The event will take place at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta on 20th June 2019 from 9AM – 1PM and you can find more information and book your spot at the event website.

Data-driven marketing – a definition

As there are many ways that marketing can be improved using data, participants decided to define data-driven marketing by what was most important to the industry now.

The tables agreed that data-driven marketing is the practice of segmenting the overwhelming amount of data available so that marketers know what consumers want before they become customers.

How can marketers be more data-driven?

Attendees came up with three main things marketers can do to use data more effectively.

1) Keep data up to date

The first thing marketers need to do is ensure that the data they are using is current and in the right format. This, said one delegate, can be as simple as authenticating customer emails or as challenging as mapping customer journeys across various platforms to ensure campaigns are driving leads and sales.

2) Integrate data

Marketers should also work to integrate the various marketing platforms they use in order to provide simple dashboards and reports to measure performance. Combining search, social, web and email performance data helps marketers evaluate channels and optimize marketing spend.

3) Use data to improve marketing output

Data, participants agreed, should not only be used for historical performance. It can also be used to identify which content is resonating most with the target audience and improve web, social media and email content.

Challenges marketers are facing with data-driven marketing

Participants also discussed the struggles they have when using data to improve their marketing effectiveness.

First off, attendees felt that organising data was becoming increasingly difficult. Most felt that they have enough data but were struggling to know what to do with it. Data, one delegate pointed out, was not useful unless it could be converted into a resource which was understood and accessible by the whole marketing team.

Participants also said they were struggling to choose a platform for leveraging their data. They were not sure whether a single marketing technology provider was best or whether they should adopt best-of-breed platforms. Additionally, some attendees felt that there was a risk of investing in a new platform and later discovering that they were not able to use it effectively with the data they had.

Finally, delegates said that they were under pressure to demonstrate measurable returns from their data-driven marketing activities. Marketers, they said, are expected to boost awareness, engagement and loyalty and many were not sure how much data was helping them to do so.

The future of data-driven marketing

Attendees finished the discussion by sharing what they aim to do with data-driven marketing in the future. Some felt that they needed to use data to optimize digital touchpoints so that customers have a better end-to-end experience.

To this end, others felt that they need to analyse data to understand their customers better and anticipate their needs.

The end goal, though, was to use data to move marketing away from just selling and toward providing a more personal touch for customers.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank Yolanda Danday, Head of Marketing, Economic Energy UK for hosting the Data-Driven Marketing table and our sponsor for the event, Oracle.

We’d also like to thank all the marketers who attended the event and shared how they are using data for their marketing and some of the challenges they face.

We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!