SXSW 2018


How to Use Data to Create a Winning Marketing Strategy

Take any Marketing 101 class, and the first thing you learn about is the tried and true marketing funnel. The further you take the consumer down the funnel, the closer he or she is to your intended conversion. No, this isn’t a new or revolutionary concept, and this concept is rarely challenged. But, in today’s fast-changing world of digital marketing, is a funnel still the best analogy for guiding a customer down the path to conversion?  

When you look at it, the marketing funnel is no longer a funnel at all. At the SXSW panel “Science of Art: Using Data to Create Viral Moments,” the panelists turned this idea on its head.  

How should we view marketing in this fast-paced, technological world?

According to Jean Cowgill, President of Atlantic 57, the Atlantic’s consultancy and creative agency, “marketing is more like a game of chutes and ladders,” and Allen Gannett, CEO & Founder of TrackMaven believes “marketing is more like a cyclone than a funnel – you can get kicked out at any moment.”

Today, marketers have access to more data than ever before, so why is it that building a successful marketing campaign still tends to be a crapshoot?

The beauty of data is that it can be manipulated to tell whatever story you want. Whether willing to admit it or not, marketers oftentimes fall into the trap of wanting to believe in their strategy so much that they’re willing to manipulate the data to “tell the right story.” However, doing so is NOT creating a data-driven strategy at all- it’s making an ego-driven decision.

How can we use data to create a successful marketing strategy?

While data should be used as validation as you’re rolling out a campaign (Is this strategy working? Should we change courses?) marketers need to look at the entire set of data from the beginning to create the strategy. Rather than going in with a mental picture of what you think or want your strategy to be and trying to validate it with cherry-picked data, marketers should instead look at the data first and then create their marketing strategy, not the other way around.

Taking a step back to look at customer data from the get-go is vital in creating a winning marketing strategy. What does the data tell you? Examine the data and learn what consumers want, where they want it and when they want it, and build your strategy this way: from the ground-up.