Marketers, like so many professionals, used to rely on gut instinct to keep track of trends. Guesswork was common and unavoidable.
This approach not only made it more difficult to stay ahead of changing market conditions but also to measure the effectiveness of strategies and tactics and justify spending.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the digital universe is doubling in size every two years, and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes.
With the volume and sources of data fast multiplying, there’s a growing opportunity for marketers to reap the benefits – but only if they know how to make sense of all that data.
Marketers who can uncover the insights in their data can be more agile.
They can course-correct, spot opportunities, and be more responsive to their customers.
Here are some examples of how a data-driven approach is leading to business wins and taking marketers from behind the scenes to the driver’s seat.
1. Improving the customer experience – in real time
Faster time to insights means marketers can be much more agile and responsive than in years past. For example, marketers can track performance in real-time and pivot and tweak to maximize returns.
Germany’s Aeria Games creates free-to-play online games and knows that while its titles are free, users are equally free to leave, meaning it constantly seeks to deliver the best possible gaming experience.
Its games are played by 70 million people, which amounts to a lot of data.
This can include data points such as the length of time players spend online, player engagement at various points in the game, popular in-game purchases, how frequently people come back for more and what prompts them to do so.
Part of the challenge is making sense of all the information coming in, seeing what’s important and what can be ignored.
To do so, the team uses visual analytics software to sift through hundreds of gigabytes of data, all of it coming direct from players and in real time.
An example of the impact of data on Aeria’s game design can be found in its S4 League title.
Traditionally, the team might have assumed that big ticket items like new weapons or in-game currency would be what users wanted most.
By seeing their data however, they realised that players were most enthusiastic about what made their characters unique – things like the colour of clothing, type of glasses or style of hat.
Aeria’s team reacted quickly, creating more accessory options.
The result? Happier fans – and more stylish characters. Sometimes this wealth of up-to-date data helps marketers respond to important situations quickly.
2. Saving money by seeing the detail in the data
As competition increases, marketers are searching for faster ways to see and understand their data. And with our fast-growing sea of data, many are turning to data visualization tools to help mine actionable insights.
Metro, one of the largest department store chains in Singapore collects a large amount of data related to its business and operations across locations – points such as peaks and lulls in shopping periods, inventory flow and customer behavior.
The ability to visualize all of that data meant that the Customer Relationship Management and Merchandise team could have more data-driven meetings – where everyone was on the same page, seeing and understanding the same data points and making decisions based on these points.
One of these meetings led to a breakthrough for the team when they reviewed popular shoe sizes and purchase behavior.
In an ‘ah-ha’ moment, they quickly discovered that customers rarely purchased half-sizes.
With this one finding, Metro made the quick decision to discontinue half-sizes which resolved the problem of overstock of inventory and ultimately led to savings in markdowns, storage costs, and opportunity costs.
3. Developing new offers “on the fly”
For marketers, a data-driven approach means that they can spend more time looking forward, not back.
Relying on the data means that meetings become less focused on justifying marketing spend or actions with questions like “why did you did that?” and more about “where to next?” and how to implement the next activity or campaign.
For PagesJaunes Resto, a leading online food delivery service in France, the need to adapt services and develop the most relevant offerings is key to customer satisfaction.
With a vast and diverse amount of data related to customer orders, restaurants and locations, the ability to visualize it has helped the team quickly see trends in the data – some of which inform new customer offers.
For example, the team were recently able to identify the most popular restaurants in specific neighborhoods and developed an offer of “grouped orders”.
Like Uber, the offer allows customers to combine orders with others from the same restaurant and receive a discount, leading to savings and more satisfied customers.
Data-Driven Marketers Paving the Way
Marketing is a challenge, especially as consumer choices multiply by the second in today’s market, but data-savvy marketers are finding ways to stand out.
By leveraging interactive, up-to-the-second dashboards across devices, they’re working with agility and seizing opportunities.
And, their ROIs are proving that it pays to work faster and smarter by seeing and understanding your data.
For more information on how to make sense of multiplying data, visit Tableau Software’s resources for marketing analytics.
By Susan Graeme, Senior Director of Marketing, EMEA at Tableau Software