Telmar News & Insights

How to transform data from an overwhelming chore into a competitive advantage

September 21, 2021


The key to achieving more effective media planning and greater advertising ROI is accessing and activating data. And yet, data management is still a top challenge for many organizations. Here’s why 2021 needs to be the year you transform data into an asset, as well as proven tips for getting data-based marketing right. 

For marketers, data is at once a solution and a challenge. Many have been prioritizing data-driven marketing for years but still struggle to access and integrate the data they need, or to glean valuable insights from the data they have got. Now that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation across industries and audiences, there is even greater onus on marketers to use data and technology to improve their approach.

Multiple studies show that investing in data to inform decision-making improves ROI across multiple facets of your business. For example, a 2020 survey by Forrester found businesses that rely on data management tools to make decisions are 58% more likely to beat their revenue goals than non-data driven companies. Marketers can use data at every juncture to improve campaign effectiveness. That includes research and media planning – but here is the catch. You need the right strategy, and the right tools to make it happen.

Let’s consider why now – more than ever – your marketing success depends on data, as well as what you can do to transform data from a pain point, into a competitive advantage.


Data-driven media planning: You can’t afford not to

Serving the right message to the right audience at the right time sounds simple, right? But, as every marketer knows, it is anything but – especially in today’s fragmented media landscape. 

Numerous studies have found that brands waste anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of their media spend due to ineffective planning or targeting. In the wake of COVID-19, that figure is likely higher. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation for companies and audiences alike, fast-forwarded consumer trends, and created new ones. 

Your customer has almost certainly changed since the pandemic. If you haven’t updated your media plan or audience segmentation based on data-driven insights, you are wasting advertising dollars. 


The last-mover disadvantage 

In a 2019 global survey, more than half of marketers cited “better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting” as their number one priority. As of 2020, 45% of marketers surveyed by Ascend2 were operating with a unified marketing data strategy in place, and 32% planned to. 

COVID-19 forced organizations to tighten resources and shift priorities. This may have negatively affected some companies’ data-driven marketing strategies. But, for many, the pandemic was an accelerant. A global study by Reuters Institute and Oxford University found that 76% of editors, CEOs and digital leaders believe the pandemic accelerated plans for digital transition. 

If you haven’t yet found ways to harness and activate data to improve audience understanding and segmentation, you risk losing market share to your competitors. This risk is especially poignant because brand loyalty is dwindling. Even brand enthusiasts could be willing to try out a new product or service if the marketing is right. For example, Criteo research found that two-thirds of consumers in France and 79% of consumers in the UK are willing to switch to a new brand. 


The conquester’s edge

The decline of brand loyalty means organizations need to fight harder to retain customers. But it also creates opportunities to win market share from competitors. If you can overlay market research and multiple data sources to better understand the market, your audience, and your competitors’ audience, you can create effective conquest marketing strategies. You can also better understand your existing customers, nurture those relationships, and find more buyers like them.


So, you want to ‘in-house?’

To gain greater transparency of brand spend and maintain control of brand image, organizations are moving elements of their marketing in-house. COVID-19 likely accelerated this trend, as brands looked for ways to reduce costs and capitalize on the ecommerce boom. According to a February 2021 report on the state of in-housing, 73% of marketers have moved at least part of their digital marketing in-house over the last year. 

While survey respondents report they are seeing benefits, they are facing challenges, too. More than half (57%) of marketers find communicating the purpose of in-housing challenging, and 45% believe lack of support is a barrier.

For in-housing to have staying power, it needs to lead to measurable ROI. Certainly, you need internal buy-in and the right team, culture, and training. You also need data and tools for harnessing and integrating disparate data sources and transforming this data into insights. 


It’s an omnichannel world

Good luck finding your audience without data and insights. In today’s fragmented landscape, they could be seemingly anywhere. From the rise of CTV to ever-changing trends in social media, a number of factors are influencing media consumption habits. 

Brands need tools for painting a holistic picture of each user so they can create cross-platform media plans that reach audiences across devices and platforms. You also need solutions for understanding cross-media reach and frequency and measuring ROI of integrated campaigns.


For audiences, it is table stakes

Audiences expect to be known. Research shows consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers. Increasingly, they feel frustrated when a marketing or shopping experience is impersonal. But you can’t create personalized marketing experiences if you don’t understand your audience.

For many brands, data is the sticking point. Forty percent of marketers report their biggest personalization challenge is linking to data-related technologies, and 34% struggle with poor data quality. Solutions for integrating disparate data sources and running seamless analysis will help you overcome this hurdle.


The way forward: data as the differentiator

Now is the time to create frameworks for accessing, integrating, and analyzing data. Doing so will improve marketing performance. On the other hand, neglecting data-driven marketing will put you at a distinct disadvantage. 

Ready to learn more about data-driven strategies your team can use to enhance audience understanding and improve campaign ROI? Download a complimentary copy of Telmar’s eGuide, “Next-level brand marketer strategies for deriving more value from data.” 

The guide covers media trends and industry predictions that should influence your strategy this year, and beyond; insider advice for improving your approach to market research; and tips for overcoming the data integration challenge. 

It also includes underutilized, but highly-effective data-driven tactics for discovering hidden relationships between audiences, identifying hard-to-spot factors across different variables, improving your positioning maps, segmenting more effectively, and expertly matching the right audience to the right media mix. 

To download your complimentary copy of the guide, simply complete and submit the form.

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