The Rise of Consumer-Centric Marketing: Made Possible Through Data Science
Traditional business models -- those based on mass advertising and comparatively impersonal marketing -- are rapidly being turned on their heads as brands instead focus on forming individual connections to consumers themselves. These brands are modern, nimble and naturally tech-savvy, and they're bringing a digital and data-driven business model to the table in order to become the driving force behind a new, consumer-centric economy.
Indeed, the rise and influence of direct-to-consumer (DTC) relationships should be well-noted. Big brands that fail to effectively engage their consumers are at risk of becoming obsolete. However, in the era of the omnichannel, how do you effectively reach consumers in a way that’s optimized across each and every channel?
Given the rise of mobile-first economies, marketers in any industry will tell you the answer is data. However, data by itself is useless if not made actionable, and brands like Marks & Spencer have figured out one solution by training employees to become well-versed in the language of analytics and data science. Improving data literacy throughout your organization helps enable marketers to map consumer preferences, concerns and buying habits at scale.
Modern marketing in a digital-first economy takes a multifaceted approach, but at its core, it is driven by data-backed decisions. The source of this data also varies widely given the rapid evolution of the consumer journey and the number of touch points along the way.
Having helped craft data-driven marketing strategies for more than a decade, I’ve seen firsthand that in order to effectively wrangle and consolidate across all touch points, as well as make correlations regarding consumer trends, the marriage between marketing and data science is more important than ever.
Rethinking Consumer Journey Mapping
Consumer-centric campaigns by their very nature require different marketing approaches. And engaging modern consumers is, in any case, a mix of science and art: the creative of marketing combined with the analytical power of data science. Marketers want to understand how to measure the consumer journey and find levers like personalized marketing to influence the path. The problem is that the consumer journey is complex, and the typical media mix models have long delays in analyzing consumer behaviour. Real-time action ability is a challenge, as models that don’t get retrained with new signals lose efficacy. This is where data science comes in.
Data orchestration to create actionable insights and applications is the newest piece of the puzzle and will come to be the norm. Increasingly we are also seeing identity services offered in programmatic, such as through The Trade Desk and Sizmek. This is because identity can prepare consumer journey mapping data, while the data science team assists with executing the planned strategy. This then enables marketers to personalize messaging and improve consumer engagement in real time, all while leveraging the creative of marketing to engage consumers effectively.
Merging marketing with data science ensures real-time signals are captured to allow for rapid testing so models can be optimized accordingly. The process, in turn, facilitates a better understanding of the consumer journey across all channels as well as a data-driven methodology to improve engagement.
One of the challenges in many organizations is that data scientists still spend 80% of their time accessing data, and only 20% of their time on data analysis and collaboration. With the right tooling, organizations can reduce manual tasks and optimize workflows.
Overall, it’s not just about the platform or tools, but it begins with the process. In order to get started, bring the data science and marketing teams together for rapid testing and learning. This means you need three things: tooling to bridge data and workflow between data and creative teams, the infrastructure to run tests and analyze them rapidly (and, ideally, automatically), and finally, a big enough user base that your tests are powered through appropriately, even over a short period of time.
Direct-To-Consumer: Wave Of The Future?
DTC brands have set the precedent and are thriving, but marketers within any industry -- from start-ups to Fortune 500 organizations -- will reap the benefits of establishing a “data economy.” Thinking from the perspective of a data scientist and data-first approach will also allow brand marketers to detect anomalies in their overall marketing strategies, anticipate hurdles and adjust accordingly.
During the initial rapid test phase, be curious and explore different options, paths and possibilities. With the right tools and strategies, continuous improvement becomes the norm, enabling marketers to approach the challenge from multiple angles and to test and weed out what does and doesn’t work in real time.
With two-thirds of all U.S. consumers expecting direct connectivity to brands, capitalizing on a consumer-first approach presents a significant opportunity for the modern marketer to integrate data science. Brands can ultimately achieve greater results through optimizing their traditional marketing stack by not only leveraging the power of data but understanding its full effects and potential implications.
Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Forbes Agency Council.