Data driven marketing, or digital marketing is the art of promoting products or services to targeted customers or businesses using digital channels and techniques. It’s become such a vital part of any business’ marketing strategy that whether you’re a sole entrepreneur running a micro business, or the CMO of a fortune 500 company, you are probably well aware of how important data driven marketing, how how much it affects your bottom line.
The concept of data marketing originated in 1990 with the conception of the internet, and the launch of Archie, the world’s first internet browser. It was this point in time when computers started to become capable of compiling, storing, and sharing vast amounts of information. It was at this time that marketers began to abandon list brokering in favor of database marketing, which allowed for more of a relationship oriented marketing approach. Originally when a company wanted to conduct a direct marketing campaign, they had to contract a marketing agent who would then collect, and compile a list of prospects from a database, based off of the company’s desired specifications, such as age range, sex, and geographic location. Companies would use these lists to organize, and run various direct mail, and telemarketing campaigns, campaigns like catalogs, coupons, and other types of promotional offers.
Though data marketing began in the 1990’s, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s where the availability of digital devices, and popularity of digital media boomed, that data driven marketing had seen a transformation. It went from an expensive, and rudimentary process to a modern marketing standard that allows businesses to instantaneously run dozens of precisely calculated, and highly targeted marketing campaigns at any given time, and to measure, and track each campaign’s precise ROI.
Companies still use data brokers today, but the process of list brokering has completely changed, and more and more companies are even collecting, and compiling their own complex, proprietary datasets. Where previous datasets were rudimentary in comparison, limited to simple information, like basic consumer traits, and basic purchasing habits, datasets today are exponentially larger, and substantially more complex. Businesses today are able to compile, and scrape data from multiple sources, gathering detailed information about consumer behavior.
Because of the increased ease of data collection, as well as the complexity of the information stored, big data is used more than ever before, and modern digital marketing has become significantly more of a mathematical science, relying on company’s ability to understand, manipulate and analyze all types of aggregated data collected about multiple aspects of consumer behavior.
Google, for example, collects and stores three kinds of personal information from their users; things they do, things they create, and other personal information. Along with collecting personally identifying information such as a person’s name, birth date, gender, and contact information, Google also collects, and stores information based off of their users search history, the websites they visit, and videos they watch, Google even tracks how receptive users are to advertising campaigns, such a campaigns impressions, clicks, and more. They even collect information based off the photos and videos you upload online, the emails you write, and presentations you create using their platforms, these are just a few of example of how complex Google’s databases are.
Google collects this information for a number of reasons; to improve their search engine accuracy, assist in shortcutting and auto completing online forms with customers information, and to most of all, improve their advertising tracking and accuracy, in order to identify, and match prospective customers with the proper advertising campaigns more efficiently. Google isn’t the only company to do this, Facebook also collects, and stores massive amounts of data about their users in order to capitalize on digital advertising dollars. In fact, Google is predicted to generate roughly $73 billion, and Facebook $34 billion in ad revenue alone this year, accounting for roughly 46% of total ad spend.
As digital devices, and access to instantaneous information becomes more mainstream, brands all across the world are facing increasing competition to provide their customers with more seamless, and relevant experiences than ever before. Virtually every organization that competes on the digital marketplace today, from tech startups, nonprofits, NGOs, to large corporate conglomerates, all rely on some sort of data driven marketing. From Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Management (SEM), Pay Per Click (PPC), Public Relations (PR), Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, or other forms of digital marketing, the goal of each company remains the same. To optimize user engagement, improve user experience, increase user acquisition, and inevitably raise their bottom dollar.