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You're not a data-driven marketer, you know it, and it's OK!
Every marketer wants to be “data-driven” but most aren’t. Most know they aren’t too. It’s easy to know if you’re data-driven, because you’re making decisions based on the information at hand. You’re looking at spreadsheets and charts, and adjusting how, where, and when you spend money to reach your customers. Most marketers are not data driven, simply because it’s very very hard to do.
- It’s hard to setup the systems to track everything.
- It’s hard to know how to analyze everything.
- And, it’s hard to interpret the data and normalize in ways that make it comparable.
With all these challenges, and all the pressure of a world where business professionals are expected to make data-driven decisions, it can be hard to even get started with the most basic advertising campaigns.
The single most important rule for B2B Marketers.
Focus! I don’t mean, eliminate distractions, although that always helps too. What I mean is, start small and build your marketing from a very focused project.
- Don’t go after your entire TAM.
- Don’t try to sell all your products and services at once.
- Don’t build your website for every customer and every product line…
All of these are mistakes that everyone makes, and they are the mistakes that prevent you from ever achieving true data-driven, scalable marketing success. Focus!!
How can you possibly focus with all this pressure?
The biggest impediment to your success is going to be everyone else at your company. Maybe your title is demand gen, or lead gen, or something else that suggests you are the front line of success or failure for the business. You’re under more stress than even the sales team, because sales can now point to you when they aren’t closing deals. This is why it’s more important that ever to focus!!!
Make a plan to drive leads…
- for a single product line
- focused on a single value proposition
- for a single member of the sales team
- via a single marketing channel
- single, single, single, etc., etc., etc…
I promise you won’t be able to stay focused on a single anything for long, so take full advantage of the ability to go deeply into this single threaded planning while you can. From this focus will emerge a fantastically designed marketing foundation that you can expand on with ease… to a couple new channels, an entire sales team, maybe an entire product line, and someday, marketing will be driving successful leads for the entire company.
Marketers are data analysts and engineers, and it's important we recognize this.
Anyone can write an email to a single person.
“Hi Jeff. I’m Jesse. Here’s an awesome thing I know you need because I went to your LinkedIn page. It’s got the best wizzywigs in the world. I know it will make you rich because I read your company website. It’s on sale. Call me.”
Scaling that messaging to lots of people gets harder. Scaling that messaging to lots of channels gets even harder. Scaling that messaging to lots of different products, with lots of different wizzywigs, to support lots of different sales teams is total insanity. This is where the tech comes in, and this is why the focus (!!!!) is so important.
There are 8,000 companies in the Marketing Technology space. That’s complete ridiculousness. I am also wondering what they could all possibly be doing, but that’s for another conversation.
As a Marketing Engineer & Data Analyst (how does that feel?) it’s your job to identify the technologies that are going to…
- enable you and your team to plan projects
- ideate and generate ad campaigns
- organize and store media assets
- identify and target audiences by persona
- manage marketing budgets
- purchase ad space in the right places
- distribute copy and media to different channels
- share and engage on social media
- track and move prospects through a marketing funnel
- coordinate MQLs and SQLs with sales
- gather and analyze performance metrics
… among many many other things that are almost all digital, almost all interconnected via data pipelines, and almost all very complex. This describes what software, architecture, and data engineers do. You’re doing it too, and you will benefit from recognizing it for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s fun to appreciate your own complex professional skill sets. And, secondly, because recognizing this will help you approach marketing projects as what they truly are, complex, technological infrastructure projects that require digital integrations, data analysis, and system diagrams.
May I please be a data-driven marketer now?
And, in fairness, you were this whole time too, but I wanted to make a point.
Modern marketing is a deeply complex, mostly technical craft, and it should be treated as such. When your team is large, you can have specialties. Then some people will be graphic artists, some data scientists, and others IT. Until then, recognize the complexity of what you’re doing and embrace it.
You CANNOT successfully support the entire company from the start, and you cannot implement every marketing technology on day one. Work on small focused projects and the whole will emerge from the pieces. Start to gather data, start to build reports, and along the way, your system will start to drive itself, freeing you to put your feet up and let the computers do all the hard work for you … just like those lazy engineers.
Wait. What did he just say?