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Data-driven marketing in many ways is still in its infancy. Despite proven value, a few hurdles to widespread adoption of data-driven marketing remain. A mix of confusion, disparate data types and sources, and the pure newness of the approach to proving marketing’s impact on revenue.

IAB recently published a report titled “Data as Competitive Advantage” in which they surveyed over 100 marketing executives about data-driven marketing. Here are the 3 most important things to understand:

3 Critical Insights into Data-Driven Marketing:

#1. Clarity is Critical: Contact Information or Performance Metrics?

There are two different kinds of marketing “data” – contact information (Personally Identifiable Information, such as emails, names, addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses) and performance metrics. 

"Most of the time, “data-driven marketing” refers to using email addresses and other PII to enhance audience segmentation. This is only one very narrow use case of data to improve marketing." – Evan Dunn, 14th most influential digital marketer

Performance metrics – such as conversion rates, close rates – and spend/investment trends provide much faster avenues to measuring marketing’s impact on revenue.

Otherwise, the focus on digital-centric methods that rely on CRM, Marketing Automation, Digital Attribution and other technologies will continue to hamper growth opportunities.

#2. Proven methods for revenue growth still must be solved – and fast.

The biggest pain marketers feel is the inability revenue / profit growth through data-driven marketing. This is reflected in a 40% gap between marketers who want to use data to grow revenue and marketers who have used data to grow revenue.

Despite increased investment and improved perceptions of efficacy, data-driven marketing has yet to drive top objectives (revenue and profit growth). Marketers need to focus on maximizing the use of critical performance metrics in order to quickly understand how to increase revenue and profit. This calls back to the first point: clarity in descriptions of data-driven marketing is critical.

#3. Digital is not enough by itself – still.

Using contact information to optimize marketing is well and good, but consider the fact…93% of retail sales still happen offline.

Despite solid growth, Ecommerce still accounts for well under 10% of all retail sales. This is one example of how focusing on digital-centric toolsets and tactics will not drive the strategic insight and growth that CMOs need.