Sizwe Dlamini
Sizwe Dlamini

Data analytics is new marketing science

by Sizwe Dlamini. A large portion of marketing and customer service has shifted to digital channels and data analytics brings a newfound science to marketing now.

by Sizwe Dlamini. Today’s consumer is more connected and more knowledgeable than ever before and as deeply invested social media creatures, they are leaving behind detailed digital footprints. As John D. Louth, partner at McKinsey & Co, said in 1966: “Change is the dominant fact of life in every business today. And the ability to master and exploit change has become one of the most sought-after management skills. This is particularly true in marketing, where the very tempo of change is constantly quickening.”

The rise of data analysis

Like Alice in Wonderland reaching out for that tempting little bottle labelled, ‘Drink Me’, many marketers have turned to the magic fix promised by the analysis of consumer data. Just as technology has given consumers the tools to look at a brand across multiple platforms, so too do those same platforms give companies access to information about their consumers. The pace of change has been truly staggering. Add to the mix, the devastating impact of COVID-19 and it’s understandable that many marketers have been left feeling out of their depth.

If predicting and interpreting change is meant to be the key that unlocks a successful marketing strategy, how is it possible to stay ahead of the game if both the lock and the key keep changing? Recently, a large portion of marketing and customer service has shifted to digital channels and data analytics brings a newfound science to marketing now. Everything is measurable, giving you the ability to test and optimise continuously.

Where does data analysis fit in?

Data analytics gives brands the tools to reach out to consumers on this personal level, and on multiple platforms. Just some of those opportunities include:

  • Lead generation – it’s not just quality leads for sale conversion, but also calculating lifetime value. Analytics can also help you optimise your cost per lead, and ensure you maximise your investment with the right message, on the right channel, to the right audience. If you are marketing across multiple channels, data can also help you with lead attribution. Essentially, you can grow your business more efficiently than ever before.
  • Customer Loyalty and Retention – knowing who your loyal customers are so that you can market to them specifically.
  • Customer Profiling – understanding the persona of your customers helps you to show them what they want to see and hear – and in a manner that’s engaging.
  • Predictive Analytics – using data to predict trends, thus gaining insight into changing consumer habits.
  • Marketing Incentives – can obviously be much more profitable if targeted accurately.
  • On-line Marketing Tools – identifying which online marketing strategies produce the greatest revenue and includes the rapidly growing, and ripe for the picking, video marketing space.

Targeted, data-activated, marketing initiatives that are based on a customer’s real-time needs and interests are widening marketing opportunities exponentially. A recent McKinsey report claimed that they “can boost total sales by 15 to 20%; and digital sales even more, while significantly improving the ROI on marketing spend across marketing channels. The biggest danger with data analysis comes when its use is not tightly married to an effective strategy. Without a strategy, data is, well, just that, data. Only businesses that lead with an effective digital strategy that drives multiple channel engagement can hope to stay ahead in our rapidly changing world.

So, what drives strategy?

The answer is, of course, knowing your consumer and giving them what they want or, even better, giving them what they didn’t even know they wanted. The great benefit of data analysis is that, through careful analysis of these footprints, brands have the opportunity to digitally feed that underlying hunger of the modern consumer ­– the personal touch. People today are acutely aware of just how removed they have become from face-to-face interactions, and, while they love the convenience, they hate the idea of being just another number in the general mass of consumers.

It may sound cliched, but people still long to hear the sound of their own name, or to become connected with something they resonate with. This is why modern consumers are increasingly looking for brands that appear to share their life story and their values; brands that are both personal and authentic.

It’s all about delivering personalised messages so that a brand can have the right group of individuals viewing campaigns that are guaranteed to appeal to them, and, in doing so, saving the brand money and resources. If it sounds too good to be true, be warned, it may well be, if there’s no strategy driving the process. Strategy remains both the key and the lock that can open the door to the unlimited potential of data analytics.


Main image credit: Photo by on Unsplash.


Sizwe Dlamini is head of commercial at Idea Hive, brand storytellers. At Idea Hive we create and execute pioneering Brand Storytelling Solutions to illuminate your brand’s power. We apply a strategic framework which extracts and aligns all the key components of your brand’s story.



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