A Data-Driven Framework

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Tue, May 31, 2016

describe the imageJoin us on June 2nd for the MITX Data Summit! Advisory Board Member, Victor Davidson, VP/Director, Analytics, Research & Technology, Havas Media, has written a blog that provides us with a sneak preview of what we'll be talking about on stage at this event. Register for the Data Summit here

I’m excited to join the MITX Data Summit later this week.  Having attended this conference multiple times, I know the content will be fantastic, and I always come away with some practical insights I can take to my clients.  In particular, this year we’ll be talking a lot about building a data driven marketing organization.  This is a topic I hear from clients quite often.  What is a data driven marketing organization?  I think it involves a number of different pieces, but where it differs from a traditional marketing organization is that decisions are made through a test and learn, metrics focused framework.  Nearly all marketing decisions can now be made using some type of data to evaluate their successfulness: from creative and media optimization to the selection of a technology stack and CRM tactics.

But what does this data driven framework actually look like you might ask.  I work within the DBi Consulting arm of Havas.  When we engage with clients, we use the tried and tested framework from the CRM and IT space: technology, people and process.  We align each of these in a matrix against data collection, communication and action.  In this way, we can help clients understand what technology they need, who will manage it and how it will fit into the larger organization.  What we’ve found is that most marketers actually have a strong awareness of the different technologies in the market.  For example, when I took a quick poll of my clients, nearly all of them had heard of a Data Management Platform (DMP) and most had a strong sense of what a DMP was used for.  Indeed, nearly half of them had already deployed a DMP.  I use a DMP as an example because I think this is the type of technology that underlies a truly data driven marketing organization.  

blog graphic

For those that aren’t familiar, a DMP is a privacy safe technology that allows a marketer to connect data across disparate channels and use that data to better target customer and prospect audiences.  Using a DMP, a marketer can create a true sequence of messages from email to paid posts in social and then provide them a customized website experience.  This is probably the closest we’ve come to true omni channel marketing since the advent of third-party adservers in the late 90’s.

Now, back to our framework.  While marketers tend to have at least a cursory understanding of the technology itself, where I find most clients stumble is related to people and process.  Marketers generally know what they want to do with a technology, but often lack the in-house know how in order to take full advantage of that technology.  Sticking with my DMP example, most generalist marketers have limited technical skills to associate a specific strategy into meaningful audience segments within a DMP.  Conversely, ad tech veterans certainly have the technical skill to set up a segment, but may not be connected enough to the larger strategy to understand the nuances of how it should be structured.  This is why the People part of our framework is so important.  Part of building a data driven marketing organization involves finding the right people who understand technology, strategy and the intersection between those two.  Unfortunately, these types of people are in high demand and low supply.  In the interim, many marketers leverage their agency, or a consultant like DBi to supplement the staff they have internally.

On the Process front, a data driven organization requires the right documentation and education sharing to make sure that technology is being used consistently.  For example, someone needs to build an audience hierarchy related to a DMP to track the different audiences that have been isolated, how they’ve been messaged to and what performance for that audience looks like.  How do we ensure we’re being thoughtful in which segments we set live with only a limited budget?  How do we make sure that what we do set live is large enough in scale to get meaningful results?  What budget will be set aside?  These are all process related questions that marketers need to consider as part of growing into a data driven organization.  Here too, a trusted advisor can help marketers bridge the process gap in terms of where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow.

The key point to understand is that we’re approaching a period of rapid technological expansion.  The DMP landscape in a couple years will be radically different than what it is now.  As we continue to move toward true omni-channel marketing and the lines between Ad Tech and MarTech further overlap, the DMP platforms will be less of an audience creation tool and more of an orchestration tool.  Start ups like Kitewheel are already starting to make this a reality.  Although not quite there yet, I envision a tool in which paid media, owned content and even shared sentiment are curated by a single marketer or team of marketers.  This will be the core of any data driven marketing organization. 

What do you think?  Please feel free to challenge me or call out anything that resonated with you in the comments below.  I look forward to hearing from all of you as well as the panelists and speakers at the MITX Data Summit on June 2nd.

Topics: marketing, digital marketing, measurement & analytics, MITX, data, advertising, analytics