There is no getting around the increasing importance of data in marketing. In fact, according to Forbes Insights, 64% of global marketers “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success within a hyper-competitive economy. Similarly, Gartner found that 69% of marketing leaders expect the majority of their decisions to be driven by data.
Why do data-driven decisions matter so much? Even the best marketers can be misled by going with their guts. Think of some of the famous missteps in branding. Remember the disastrous introduction of “New Coke”? Or GAP’s infamous logo reintroduction that was universally hated by its customers? These were the result of great ideas not sufficiently backed up by data.
The same principle applies in marketing. If you are selling a new beauty product, do you need to create different messaging for women who are Gen Z versus Millennials? Are your customers more likely to respond to a call to action highlighted in yellow or red? Do response rates improve if you swap out images based on gender, age, or geographic location? These are the kinds of decisions that should be made based on data.
Need to learn more about your customers? Here are three ways to do that:
Customer surveys: If you want to learn more about what your customers think and what they value, ask them.
Tracking and metrics: Use barcodes, redemption codes, cookies, and other forms of response tracking. Don’t just ask people what they think. Watch what they do.
Purchase data: You can learn a lot about your customers by purchasing insights such as their interests (based on purchases, magazine subscriptions, etc.), contributions to charities, and other third-party data.
Your marketing is too important to base it on guesswork. Use data as your “eyes” to make sure you are getting it right. If you need help, just ask!
 Data is derived from a survey of 162 U.S.-based senior executives conducted by Forbes