Data. It is a 4-letter word for so many marketers. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a plus and a minus. Depending on your specific marketing role, the word data can mean a whole slew of different things and conjure up a wide variety of emotions.
I’ve scoured the Internet for what I believe are the five best quotes on data in 2018 to date. I’ve also included my own commentary and what each means for marketers.
1. Data should be relevant
“The ultimate goal for marketers is to put data to use in shaping their customers’ experiences throughout the customer journey. When analysis is successful, it empowers a brand to deliver a relevant offer to the right customer at the perfect moment, while also reducing the cost of each sale due to this highly-targeted efficiency.” (Source)
The most operative word in this entire quote? Relevant. If you’re not using your data to shape your customer’s experience and provide your customers with the most relevant experience to them at the right time, then you’re doing something wrong. Yes, it’s that simple.
2. Data should make things easier
“Data isn’t a barrier and it’s not just another initiative to add to the team’s plate. Data helps teams get smarter, more efficient and more effective. Data itself isn’t difficult, but finding ways to utilize it can be challenging.” (Source)
And speaking of simple, the phrase “data isn’t difficult” from the above quote is spot on. The challenge, as the writer points out, is finding ways to use it; to use it properly that is. With the right tools, and there are plenty of good ones out there – data can be made easy or at the very least, easier.
3. Data privacy can’t be ignored
“Consumers in the US and Europe are increasingly concerned about how their data are being used online and trust fewer and fewer brands. By contrast, Forrester finds lax enterprise standards and a ‘cavalier attitude’ about data collection by brand marketers. In a European context, this is playing with fire given the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy regulations and associated penalties.” (Source)
There’s a whole lot to talk about when it comes to this quote. Phrases like “cavalier attitude” and “playing with fire” are strong statements and are more than likely interchangeable. Given what’s playing out at Facebook alone should cause every single brand the world over to at the very least conduct an audit of their own data protection rules and regulations.
4. Data powers AI
“AI and digital marketing go hand-in-hand. As more and more businesses embrace this game-changing technology, companies that fail to follow suit will soon fall behind. At this point in time, there are really are no excuses for marketing teams to not embrace AI. It can fuel growth, automate daily practices, and help teams design strategies that are more successful and lucrative across the board.” (Source)
As someone who speaks to marketers – particularly CMOs – I can tell you first-hand that the most progressive of CMOs fully realize the potential of artificial intelligence. Yes, many are taking baby steps when it comes to machine learning, but they are not standing on the side while their competitors “embrace this game-changing technology.”
5. Data tells stories
“In school we learn a lot about language and math. On the language side we learn how to put words together into sentences and stories. With math, we learn to make sense of numbers. But it’s rare that these two sides are paired. No one tells us how to tell stories with numbers … this leaves us poorly prepared for an important task that is increasingly in demand.” (Source)
The important task that is increasingly in demand is storytelling – especially data-driven storytelling. While that may sound somewhat oxymoronish, the act of using one-dimensional data to tell a story to connect with a three-dimensional human being, the fact is that this has moved from being a novelty or luxury to an essential part of marketing.
Steve Olenski is a Forbes contributor, CMO Whisperer, writer, content marketer, influencer, advertising/branding guy, screenwriter, idea generator and massive coffee imbiber.