Data Driven marketingIn the last few years we have witnessed a “Cambrian Explosion” of technology.

This was the phrase that Michael de la Torre, Sr. Director of Demand Generation of Seagate, used during his keynote address at the Modern Marketing Experience convention last week in Las Vegas. Referencing a prehistoric period during which an unprecedented variety of flora and fauna suddenly burst onto the evolutionary scene, de la Torre used the analogy to describe the state of reality that marketers now face.

During his presentation titled, “How Mintigo, the Leading Predictive Marketing Platform for Enterprise, ‘Powered Up’ Seagate’s Marketing Machine,” de la Torre ruminated on the evolution of marketing and the advantages that effective data analysis brings to those able and willing to tap its immense potential. Seagate currently stores more than 40% of the world’s information, so the relevance of his talk was illuminating to many considering the marketing road ahead.

In the business world, de la Torre noted that marketing is the only sector that still avoids using hard numbers on a regular basis. Finance departments, for example, talk about meaningful data with regards to revenues, experiences, and capital forecasts. Similarly, Sales also works with quantified data as it relates to the amount of business closed, meetings attended, quarterly forecasts, and so on. Marketers, on the other hand, overwhelming talk about the creative side of business and “cool new” pieces of content that get generated.                         

According to de la Torre, “we are the only group in the business that gets away with talking about stuff versus the hard numbers.”

He continued, “So I am trying to make our marketing department become data driven. Most CMOs today continue to do three things. They build the brand, create and convert demand, and then they enable the sellers. And I think these things are perfectly pertinent in today’s world, but I also think there are some big changes that have happened in the buying process and in technology that are changing the way CMOs need to approach their business.”

This concept of new buying behavior is a major shift. In the past, marketing was responsible for building the brands, building awareness, and a limited amount of information gathering. The sales department would generally take it from there. But this has all changed. In fact, de la Torre states that it is currently estimated that between 50% and 80% of the sales process is already done in advance before any brand interaction takes place. This changes everything. For de la Torre, this means that marketing is effectively now sales.

“We are actually in sales,” said de la Torre. “We are not selling one-on-one; we are selling to many people. But if a customer is going to be spending that much time doing their research, getting into the decision phase, before they actually reach out to our sales people, then we marketers are actually sales people ourselves.”

This marks a fundamental shift for sales departments too. To illustrate this point, de la Torre shared a personal anecdote.

“I needed a new car,” he said. “So I went online, did my research, different comparisons, and I was 80 or 90% decided on what I wanted. So I set up appointments at three car dealerships. And what’s interesting is that, at two of the three dealerships, I knew more than the sales person. I showed up and they did not know the things that I researched. Even the most casual of Internet searches would have showed what I interested in. But they didn’t know.”

And this is the point that de la Torre really wanted to drive home.

“They had no unique perspective to offer me in my buying process,” he continued. “It was very annoying to me when the sales person couldn’t add anything.”

To survive and thrive in this new world, marketers need to start using data integration to devise a host of new quantifiable marketing metrics that can analyze a number of factors such as number of wins, cost per win, and the ROI earned from specific marketing campaigns. And for de la Torre, this also means marketers must embrace this sales orientated perspective.

“I would say that tomorrow’s CMO needs to start approaching the market like a head of sales would,” de la Torre said. “But since we are not doing it on a one-to-one basis, because we are doing it for everybody, we need data science. We need to figure out those micro segments that we should be targeting and build everything based on that. Building the brand is still very important. But so is building the segmented messages that flow through to create and convert demand among those various segments.”

Marketers need to adopt this new approach. But this requires a firm understanding of data science, and that requires the integration of new technologies. The good news is that brands do not need to be the next IBM, or the next Dell, or Microsoft. They do, however, need effective data analysis techniques that can create these differentiated segmentation profiles, which will improve personalized customer experiences through targeted marking efforts. For many brands, this may necessitate outside partnerships.Data Driven Marketing

This is exactly why Seagate sought help from Mintigo.

As a technology firm that specializes in predictive marketing sciences, Mintigo has helped Seagate leverage and parse through an immense amount of cloud data to figure out what individual variables could be isolated to successfully create a wide range of interesting and dynamic customer segments. Once these individual variables and independent indicators were then further stacked and cross-referenced, a story started to emerge.

“By leveraging data science we were able to create very rich segments,” de la Torre said. “We were able to create different messages and different campaigns for that specific segment. It was also able to tell us where all these magical customer segmentations were. How many there were. Who they were. When you put it all together, we created a big model. So now we can focus on ‘this’ and not focus on ‘that.’ And then build dedicated campaigns to go after those specific customers.”

Technology and data integration will help brands define and laser in on any specific segments they desire. This opens up endless possibilities for the creation of personalized and targeted micro messages that can bring further relevancy and value to those customers.

“Before we had one campaign and now we have 13.” de la Torre said. “And what the data is telling us is that we probably need more than 20 or 30 to attack all of those meaningful segments that we have identified for our various products.”

This is likely what the future of marketing holds. And Seagate, along with Mintigo, has already begun to move away from traditional marketing tactics and toward the new paradigm of hard data driven revenue marketing.

About the Author: Mark Johnson

Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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