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2017 is the year marketers must become more well-versed in the power of data. PHOTO: BoldContentVideo.com

Marketers are always pushed towards making data-driven decisions in campaigns. But it can be difficult to meet that request.

Only 22 percent of marketers say their existing data-driven marketing initiatives are achieving significant results. These poor results are likely due to a lack of training: marketers may not be sufficiently trained in analytical tools and/or teams may not put enough weight on data as a decision-maker.

One of the core challenges for data-driven marketing is training team members to use data to make decisions to reduce waste and size of failures. The marketing industry has changed forever due to the volume and access of data through the cloud.

Data Makes Marketing More Effective

Some may argue data takes away the creative element of marketing, but data does not change the need for creativity but rather it makes marketing more effective. Data allows marketing to test creative impulses and create more tailored campaigns.

2017 is the year marketers must become more well-versed in the power of data. This begins with marketers receiving enough training and then understanding what to measure and why.

Marketers that pride themselves on having a gut instinct for their target market are becoming a serious problem because their instincts are not always right. Data, however, doesn’t lie.

Training Marketers in Data

There are many data science boot camps and fellowships. But marketers don’t necessarily have the time or resources to take six to eight weeks off to learn data science. Plus, not all data science topics are necessary for marketers. There are not many undergraduate or graduate degrees that focus on data science in marketing, so marketers are generally left to learn on their own.

The majority of marketers — 87 percent — think data is their organization’s most underutilized asset. While roughly half of executives feel pressure to increase the role of data in their current strategy, not all have done so or will this year.

Marketers can validate their skills with third-party certification programs from companies including Google and HubSpot.

By investing in professional development using online training programs, companies can train internally. About 64 percent of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hypercompetitive global economy. Companies that want strong data-driven marketing campaigns must give their employees the tools in the form of training in order to deliver.

Data Driven Experiments

All marketers must create experimental campaigns at some point. Data-driven decision-making helps improve the success rate of marketing experiments. There are so many tools to help with this, such as:

  • HubSpot Marketing and HubSpot Sales
  • Google Analytics
  • Tag Manager
  • HotJar
  • Buffer
  • Native social analytics
  • SEMRush

All of these tools (and more) help a team measure results of a certain campaign and predict results of a future campaign.

Lean marketing creates a feedback loop between data and results. Research and testing, under Lean methodologies, are a continuous process. Research should not stop after the discovery process but rather intensify as the campaign continues. This is the same as conducting marketing experiments.

Marketing experiments should never be a one and done campaign. Instead, data should drive experiment direction as marketers continue to learn and gather data along the way. The Lean process improves future outcomes by learning from past failures.

Tackling the Data Challenges

Data and analytics are essential to any marketing campaign, but so far marketers are falling short. Only 19 percent of marketers track all of their marketing efforts in order to drive improvement via reporting. If marketers are given the proper training and tools, this number can drastically increase.

Marketers can improve campaigns and work better themselves with the use of data. Marketing data and analytics users are 57 percent more effective at increasing their productivity with integrated marketing technologies. This year will be a turning point in the demand for data-driven campaigns, so marketers should prepare by learning key data skillsets.