In the not too distant past, if a marketer had an industry or client question, they would ask a colleague or experienced senior leader who typically always had the answer or knew where that answer could be found. This was a data driven response, however the data was very different in that it was based on experience, not metrics. Back then, experience translated into data points in a different context — not of measurable numbers derived from formulas, but the knowledge that had been accrued over years in the business. This “data” was practical – not hard facts. Times are shifting and that is no longer enough to stay on top in a competitive industry.
In today’s marketing world, the power and wisdom often rest with the company who has deep data access, an even deeper understanding of that information and an ability to put that data into action. Data driven insights are vital to understand customer needs, purchase behaviours, and potential value, aiding in the examination of promotions and campaigns across specific categories, geographies, and customer segments. These insights are made possible due to the data scientist role and despite many marketers having been in the industry pre-internet, most successful recommendations and insights are coming from the younger Millennial data scientists who have never heard the term “dial up”, let alone lived in a world of land line interruption.
This however does not mean years of experience is irrelevant – quite the opposite. The two go hand-in-hand. Many retailers have vast amounts of data accessible to them but do not know how to isolate and visualize the most relevant pieces. With the complexity of data collection, visualization and analysis, and the enormous quantities of information gathered across multiple channels, the data scientist pulls the story out and marketers then bring it to life applying a pragmatic lens to recommendations and action plans. Creating compelling strategies and ensuring production of effective insights requires a critical ingredient: experience. Taking the data insights, marketers determine their customer needs and craft compelling strategies that drive favourable customer behaviours. It is a team effort for success.
Tandem work with data scientists can also help marketers get closer to realizing their “one-to-one” marketing dreams when it comes to loyalty, especially in a retail landscape. Using advanced analytics to identify and confirm insights about customers can accurately determine facts just by observing behaviour. Using this approach, a marketer can segment their customer base with significant accuracy and tailor programs, perks and promotions specific to their customers.
No one person is expected to have expertise in all realms of the industry, especially when it involves being intuitive in a number of ever changing data based tools. In order to get a leg up on competition marketers need to leverage the expertise of those with targeted skills such as a compatible data scientist, in order to drive more targeted strategies, campaigns, promotions and conversations between clients and customers.