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Understand Data or Look For Another Career. It's That Simple

The only tools available when I started my career in marketing were email, direct mail, the telephone, a simple database and the infamous fax machine. The websites promoting our products were run by IT, marketing weren’t allowed near them, seems crazy today right? But it isn’t just content management systems that have changed the way we can promote our products and services. Just like smartphones have changed the way we communicate, the marketing technology landscape is unrecognisable today, from that of just 14 years ago. But what’s the impact of this change?

Take a look at the infographic above.

To think that none of these offerings were in existence in 1999 is staggering. The impact they have had on marketing departments and businesses as a whole is equally staggering. The big change in it all? Data. More data has been created in the past 5 years, than in the history of mankind. Another stat? – It would take you 5 years to view all the video content that will cross networks globally every second in 2015; and that’s just video. If you’re heading up or planning on heading up a marketing department or agency, then you must understand, appreciate and take action on the following statement:

The data you collect as marketers and how you decide to use it will depend on whether you are employed or not. It really is that simple.

You see, analytics and what we do with it’s findings will become the single most important element of the modern marketing mix, in fact, it will underpin every activity we do. Tools like Google Analytics to interrogate web traffic have been around for years, I started using it around 2006, but the world has moved on from there. Take a look at your current activity. How are you managing, reporting and improving your social activity though the data you collect? Or aren’t you? How are you feeding your sales teams lead insights from your e-marketing and automation platform? Hopefully your doing this already, fully integrated through the CRM right? Are you serving up a responsive site for your mobile customers and pushing translation to those in other countries? Are you monitoring keyword trends against specific markets to ensure your site is optimised or executing reverse IP look-ups against web traffic to see who is on your site? How about more traditional marketing methods? They too have been ‘upgraded’. Think about fully personalised direct mail as one example or Connect and Sell technologies making telemarketing smarter and more data driven.

Are you capturing your customers’ and prospects’ needs and then delivering them a tailored, personalised and most importantly, engaging marketing experience?

It’s this new data animal that will drive change in the way we market, drive change in customer behaviour and most importantly drive change in how we differentiate against our competition. The time period we have to differentiate using data to make smarter marketing decisions is closing with every breath. My advice? Take a deep one and then methodically integrate data into every single part of your marketing strategy, because if you don’t you’ll be looking for a new profession before you know it.