From Insight to Action: How Data-Driven Marketing Is Supporting Big Decisions
If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine. Quote Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape
While reliance on instinct may have been enough to get by in the past, today, neglecting to adopt a data-driven mindset could very well make or break your business. Today, Data centricity is more than just a strategy; it’s a survival tactic. Most organizations sit on mountains of data—overwhelmed, understaffed, and unable to use it to provide any real insights.
In this post, Google gives us an update on the current state of data-driven marketing and highlights the key role that data plays in mobile initiatives. In doing so, we learn how Progressive used data and technology to overcome key challenges, completely overhaul their mobile strategy, and transform their business. It’s a jungle out there, but if a 79-year-old insurance company can use data to get ahead of the pack… what’s holding you back?
- Go beyond gut feeling.
Despite a clear link to smarter decision-making and business impact, most executives (62%) still rely on experience and advice over data. Putting the focus on data can be daunting at a time when consumers have real-time expectations for companies, but those who invest in data-centric processes early on will reap huge rewards in the long run.
- Data-centricity starts at the top.
“In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, participants ranked senior-management involvement as the factor contributing the most to their effectiveness with data and analytics.” At Progressive and elsewhere, executive support is an essential component for selling the value of data analytics throughout an organization.
- Use the right tools to harness the right data.
Executives must overcome three key data challenges: accumulation, analysis, and action. In other words, analytics leaders need to be able to easily integrate more data sources, harness technology for faster and more sophisticated analysis, and extract insights that lead to improved business performance.
While data can be the key to uncovering previously unrecognized opportunities, quality insights start with access to the right data—clean, current, accurate, and the right data for the right job. Simply put: If it’s not the right information, it won’t support big decisions.
At Progressive, data insights helped improve customers’ experience with its mobile app. At launch, the app was quote-only, but the data suggested that people wanted more than just information. Progressive realized that many users were attempting to buy, so quickly made that option available based on the insights gleaned from data. “It was a really big ‘aha’ moment,” says Pawan Divakarla, data and business analytics leader at Progressive. “We have a reverence for data and when you think of it that way, you treat it with respect.”
- Embrace the rise of the (learning) machines.
Most companies have access to vast data libraries, but lack the expertise to derive insights. Machine learning is helping automate analysis, guide decisions, and direct action.
“People have very fundamental needs when it comes to analyzing information, and machine learning can help them focus on what really matters,” said Sagnik. “Rather than just reporting information and telling you what’s wrong, machine learning technology can help you fix it.” And if things are going well? “Machine learning can help you do more of what’s working—and do it automatically.”
Data analytics can work wonders. Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvement in decision-making, according to PwC research.1 Yet, 62% of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions.2
Why? We all like to believe in our own instincts, but while that may be natural, it’s not sensible. Today’s true leaders in marketing and data analytics are ignoring hunches and using advanced technology and machine learning to increase speed to insight—and to action. And those organizations that have committed to turning data into action are transforming their businesses.
Progressive, the 79-year-old insurance company known for its fictional spokesperson “Flo,” is one company where data doesn’t just talk, it drives action. “Data is really the bread and butter for us,” said Pawan Divakarla, data and business analytics leader at Progressive. “It’s not a person or a thing; it’s virtual bits and bytes. But we have a reverence for data and when you think of it that way, you treat it with respect.”