laptop - shaking hands

What’s Behind Data-Driven Marketing Trends?

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “The mass adoption of the internet into everyday life is the single biggest event that has affected marketing over the past three decades.” With 28 percent of American adults reporting they go online “almost constantly” and another 45 percent saying they go online several times a day, companies are focusing on their digital marketing strategies to reach these consumers. 

Digital marketing is based on data – gathering, analyzing and leveraging the massive amounts of data digital users leave behind. Internet users generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Marketers continually find ways to get their hands on and exploit this data to drive better marketing campaigns, revealing several data-driven marketing trends that have taken shape in 2020. 

5 Data-Driven Marketing Trends

When you look back at the history of marketing, many trends have come and gone. There are several, however, that have relatively recently surfaced and appear to have some staying power. Here are our top five.

Implementing Data Privacy Safeguards

With our global marketplace, we all have to play by the rules of the countries and states we serve. GDPR and CCPA may have gotten the ball rolling, but there are increasingly more data privacy laws in effect or on the horizon. Organizations have to stay on top of these laws constantly as the existing ones regularly change and new legislation is introduced on a regular basis.

Organizations can’t afford to ignore these as many come with hefty fines and penalties, not to mention reputational damage brought on by publicized privacy breaches. Marketing teams, in particular, must be aware of how they collect consumer data and provide notification and/or opt-out capabilities. Transparency is the key, explaining to customers how and why their personal data is collected, then ensuring third parties are doing the same. 

Data privacy is complex and many organizations still struggle to know what they are required to do per law, let alone how they will go about fulfilling their compliance obligations. Cookie consent is just one part of these laws. A data-driven marketing trend that will only grow is organizations partnering with experts and using software to help them implement proper data privacy oversight.

Targeted and Personalizing Messaging

In the past, mass marketing via mailers, television commercials, radio ads, and print ads was the go-to marketing strategy. There was some personalization, with marketers learning what time of day their target market watched television, for instance, but there was no way to further segment an audience.

Related: Marketing Segmentation Strategies: Personalization Requires Alignment

Today, consumers are demanding more from the organizations with whom they interact. Eighty percent of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences, and 90 percent find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing. This demand is driving one of the biggest data-driven marketing trends – using consumer data to segment populations and personas in order to provide highly-targeted, ultra-personal messaging.

In a digital world, marketers have only seconds to make an impression. They must make their marketing messaging count and that means connecting a lot of data to get a comprehensive picture of the target audience to know what they will most likely respond to, when, and on what channel. Data like their preferences and buying habits, their demographics and lifestyle, their interests and family status are just the tip of the iceberg. Marketers who have the systems in place to access, cleanse, analyze and prioritize data to automate personalization are leading this trend and there is no evidence that consumers will revert back to appreciating mass marketing.

Integrating Agile Marketing 

Social media is giving marketers new opportunities to reach their audience, both a wide audience and a highly-targeted one. With an estimated 3.6 billion people on social media worldwide, there is no shortage of opportunity. The key is to know how to communicate on the different channels – who is on the channels and what do they want to see, hear or read? What will get the most likes, shares, and followers? What messaging motivates people to take the desired next action?

A data-driven marketing trend is to know more than who your audience is, what they will most likely respond to, what channels they prefer, and when they are most likely to be on that channel, but to also be able to respond quickly to things in real-time. Real-time can be unexpected but no less opportunistic in nature, such as a wardrobe malfunction during a worldwide live televised event. A company could have used that scenario to quickly create a clever social media post using the trending hashtag. 

Social media is often the first place people learn about something or share something with each other. Marketers must be where their audience, taking advantage of any perfect moments to become part of their world with the ideal messaging. For instance, a recent Tik Tok video features a man skateboarding to work while drinking a large bottle of juice. The juice brand saw the video and used agile marketing tactics to instantly create messaging around the trending video, seizing the moment to comment on the video and offer the man a year’s supply of free juice. Not only did the brand gain new fans through social media, but the story was featured on major news outlets the following few days as a feel-good story. 

Leveraging Advanced Technology and Automation

Another data-driven marketing trend is using different types of advanced technology to get to more data and do more with data. AI, predictive analytics, algorithms, machine learning, and other innovative technologies are helping marketers identify trends, track data performance, cleanse and enrich data, and boost business intelligence, just to name a few capabilities.

Automation is another continuing trend. Automating marketing processes and data collection saves time, man-hours, and costs while increasing the reliability, comprehensiveness, and accuracy of the data. For instance, knowing the state of data and total addressable market (TAM) used to be highly manual. Today, marketers can automate these tasks through integrations with MAPs, CRMs and leading data providers. Dashboards and reports are automated and decision-makers have confidence the data can be trusted.

Even data personalization can benefit from these technologies and integrations, enabling more successful, data-driven campaigns that trigger relevant, timely messages automatically. Marketers can know instantly if they do X, then there is a high likelihood the targeted audience will do Y. They can make predictions before committing resources, reducing risk and improving workflows.

Investing in the Omnichannel Experience

Finally, organizations are continuing to invest in multichannel experiences because 91 percent of consumers say an omnichannel experience is either important or critical to them. Marketers must be able to access all touchpoints, including phone, email SMS text, web, social media, in-person, apps, and mail. That’s a lot of data that has to be accurate and unfortunately, many organizations can’t trust their data. Bad data leads to missed opportunities, such as wrong contact information, unusable customer data, and data confusion.

Related: 5 Best Practices of B2B Omnichannel Marketing Masters

Big data is often bad data because it is laden with duplicity, inaccuracies, and constant changes. Only 33 percent of marketers feel they can rely on their data to make data-driven decisions. Sadly, $3.1 trillion is lost every year because of poor data quality. To combat this, organizations are investing in software that automatically eliminates duplicate and bad data across the enterprise, establishes data standards, and keeps records current.

When brands have certainty that they have high-quality data, they can better ensure the omnichannel strategy. Something as simple as having the wrong email address or spelling of a name for a customer can result in poor customer service, email marketing campaigns that never make it to their destination, and frustration from the customer every time they see their name misspelled. This can have greater implications the more targeted the market and the more personalized the messaging.

There are more data-driven marketing trends to follow as technologies, channels, and consumer demands evolve. Marketers must stay on top of these trends, determining which trends to grab hold of and where to invest. One trend that never seems to change is that the customer drives everything marketers do. The more responsive brands can be in giving customers what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, the more marketshare they will earn.