Four Keys to the Future of Data-Driven Marketing

Data isn’t new; we’ve been using it for years. Big data, small data, social data — you name it. Data has even been deemed the “new oil.” We know data is already an essential tool in marketing — but the rules for how marketers obtain, leverage, and protect data is constantly evolving. Here are four keys marketers should keep in mind to help deal with those changes while they ready for the future of data-driven marketing.

1. If data is like oil, AI is like a refinery

At current growth rates, the average brand is expected to use 45 data sources by 2025.

In 2019, brands on average are using 15 different data sources to run their operations and campaigns, but data usage is growing exponentially. Through our State of Marketing reports, Salesforce has been tracking brand data usage for the past three years.

Here’s what we’ve found:

The massive amount of data we’ve been collecting — and will collect in future — is creating a massive data glut. Making sense of it all is a job for artificial intelligence (AI).

All of this data can be analyzed by AI and leveraged in real time to create personalized customer journeys. It’s necessary for brands to move towards a future where every interaction with customers is customized to them, in real time. If data is like oil, AI is the means of refining and applying it. Hence the reason we see widespread adoption of AI by major brands. High-performing marketing organizations have already begun to leverage AI, and are currently 2.7x more likely to be using AI than under-performers.

2. Use a DMP to uncover deeper audience insights

More than 55% of marketing leaders currently use a Data Management Platform (DMP), and an additional 35% plan to adopt one within the next two years. Although many marketers only see DMPs as useful for solving basic issues like content personalization and frequency caps on ads, high-performers have begun to unlock an additional DMP feature: delivering audience insights.

For example, imagine a customer visits your website from their mobile device. Can you recognize them in that moment and create a real time experience for them? Not if you can’t solve the “identify crisis” and figure out who they are. The ability to maintain a single view of a customer across multiple channels is why so many leading brands have already invested in DMPs. If your brand hasn’t yet, it likely will. By 2020, marketers expect their DMP usage to rise by 64%.

3. Find a balance between personalization and privacy

Today’s consumers are increasingly empowered by technology — and by government privacy regulations. It’s now the first order of business for brands to obtain permission to use consumer data. Without this permission, you can’t use data to create personalized customer experiences. As such, gaining and maintaining consumer trust is table stakes for modern brands.

High-performing marketing organizations are 7.1x more likely to be completely satisfied with their ability to balance personalization with privacy. Consumers trust brands that provide the following when it comes to data collection:

1. Explanation: When you ask consumers for permission to use their data, explain how the data will be used.
2. Transparency: Be clear about your data policies, and never hide anything from your consumers.
3. Ownership: Let consumers know where they can go to access and manage all the data you’ve stored.

These three pillars allow today’s leading brands to balance personalization with privacy. They’re the foundation that all brands should use to build trust with their audience.

4. Get yourself a Chief Data Officer

One-third of marketers say it’s difficult to meet current data regulations, like the EU GDPR — and data regulations are only going to get stricter in the future. That’s why today’s leading organizations have started putting someone in charge of managing customer data: a Chief Data Officer (CDO).

By 2020, Gartner predicts that 90% of all large organizations in regulated industries will have CDOs. That percentage should be 100%, and the reason is clear. So much data flows in and out of companies — without a central manager, it simply won’t be managed. To be a best-in-class organization, you’ll need to have someone in charge. They’ll need to be accountable for ensuring that data is collected properly, protected, and used ethically — across your entire business. As such, CDOs will be an essential hire in a strategy to establish consumer trust.

Brands must follow these four keys to be successful in the data-first world of the near future.

For a dive deep into marketing predictions and what the next five years hold, watch The Future of Marketing: 2019 Edition. In this webinar series, we’ll cover a wide range of topics, from the foundational changes in the role and scope of marketing to how your data use will change.