As marketers, we have to have good instincts.
We need to be able to sense imminent trends; to pivot with our customers and key stakeholders when we need to creatively explore a new avenue; and to embrace a forward-thinking mindset that allows us to keep abreast of the changing landscape. Some would say that this is the art of marketing.
But, it takes more than just a keen eye for market shifts and a set of sharp instincts to understand and effectively focus on our target buyers’ wants and needs. After all, if we make decisions solely based on our gut instincts—rather than evidence extracted from data— we’re more susceptible to inaccuracies which make our campaigns ineffective. This is where the science of marketing comes in.
I know, I know. Most of us got into marketing because we were better in English than in Chemistry in school. However, the investigative approach is now essential for making smarter marketing decisions. In fact, Teradata’s “2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey” reported that two-thirds of professional marketers said they make faster, more accurate decisions when they use data to help support their choices. So that’s good – the majority of us know that smarter marketing comes from both art and science.
So what can we do as marketers to ensure we’re making informed judgment calls, without losing the creativity that makes our jobs so much fun? Let’s look into a few
- Build (and consult) buyer personas: Buyer personas, which drill down the specific buying preferences, pain points, demographics, etc. of a target market, should be used by marketers to validate their hunches on who their target profiles are and effectively align marketing messages with known This practice requires more than just a marketer’s gut feeling about a certain type of buyer; rather, it takes quality data insight to execute these personas successfully. And it’s no small challenge. In fact, a recent study from ITSMA revealed that 83% of B2B marketers find their buyer personas to be only “somewhat” effective. The study deduced that this is because marketers tend to rely more on their hunches about their target consumers instead of concrete data. So do your diligence – pick up the phone and start talking to the people who bought your product and the prospects that chose someone else.
- Collaborate with sales: If marketers don’t regularly touch base with the sales team, they are bound to miss a wealth of actionable insights collected from their colleagues on the other side of buying cycle. For example, if the marketing department continuously sends what they’ve defined as qualified leads through the sales pipeline, but the sales department is having trouble converting these leads, then marketing must be alerted right away. You can’t just throw leads over the transom and figure your job is done. Again, many of us got into marketing because we are more “socially inclined” – so go talk to your sales team. Marketers must be aware of the conversion rates of the leads they generate, as low rates are indicative of a larger problem, like poorly targeted messaging, an inaccurate business contacts database, or ineffective lead scoring.
- Work on professional development: Modern marketers must also engender a data-driven skills set to ensure they’re taking a more methodical approach to their marketing strategy. I’m not saying go all the way back to your Chemistry books, but you have got to dig into the data. Today’s marketer must be analytical and curious. More specifically, he or she must be able to take an investigative approach to gaining insights about prospective consumers. Without a curiosity to find new insights – how else are we going to be creatively inspired?
Marketers: if you’ve got a hunch why not see where it leads you? But this time, use evidence to substantiate your instincts.