Data-driven marketing has come a long way from the days of just measuring cost-per-click and bounce rates. Data insights are increasingly being used to inform marketing decision-making and improve personalisation. And, rightly so, with customers demanding a more personalised experience across the board.

Data-driven marketing is the only way forward

Marketing has experienced a tectonic shift over the past three years. The advertising market has become incredibly cluttered, with people using multiple devices to access content. Amid this growing complexity, there needed to be a better way for marketers to target consumers. Data is the answer.

Traditionally, the marketing industry has been using panel-based data to understand consumer behaviour – a snapshot of, say, 7000 people to explain the behaviour of 16 million. Now, data management platforms (DMPs) provide marketers with absolute insights at an individual level, by device, and they’re real and accurate, not guessed or sampled. DMPs are enabling marketers to identify the exact buying mode people are in, the life stage they are in, the interests they have and a whole lot more, and then target customised marketing messages to them based on this information.

Data is also enabling marketers to pinpoint the exact moment a message is most relevant to a consumer. People receive between 300 and 3000 marketing messages a day, but can only retain a maximum of three – if you’re not serving content at the most relevant, receptive moment for that consumer, you’re wasting resources and losing opportunities.

But, data isn’t just transforming the acquisition process, it’s also improving customer retention, with marketers now able to accurately determine customer lifetime value, propensity for churn and likely conversion points.

Data and insights need to be shared

Customer experience is becoming the ultimate brand battleground, and if organisations want any hope of being able to compete on this front, the sharing of data and insights between departments is crucial. Top marketers have already caught on, with 90% sharing data insights with sales, yet only 67% of moderate performers and 42% of underperformers are doing the same.

How data can be used to improve marketing performance

One of the easiest and simplest ways to leverage the power of data is using it to optimise media messaging, making sure people see the right number of messages across a sell cycle. A common mistake marketers make is not looking at the complete cross-device picture. They might be analysing how many times they’ve reached a customer via desktop, but failing to take into account how many times that customer has been targeted on mobile and tablet devices. DMPs are helping to eliminate this double-up, by revealing your cross-device reach and frequency sweet spot, and making sure every single media dollar is being spent wisely.

Customer journey mapping is a good starting point for any marketing team not yet advanced in their use of data. Knowing the path a customer takes, and understanding the different touchpoints in the lead up to a sale, is hugely beneficial. Your marketing can be so much more effective if you know how many times a customer searched for your product or category, watched your video content, talked about you on social and what their behaviour was before buying the product. You can then create a marketing campaign that’s relevant, with the right sequence, velocity and journey to influence conversion. The best bit – this is actually very easy to do.

As marketers’ data capabilities become more advanced, they should know the role every single piece of marketing, creative and channel plays in conversion and personalisation.

How to use a DMP in 1-to-1 marketing

Marketers at all performance levels struggle to leverage data from different sources in their quest to execute a connected customer experience. Here’s how DMPs can support 1-to-1 marketing across touchpoints, creating cross channel journeys.

The role of a CRM

We know that customers are demanding a more personalised experience. In fact, 52% of consumers (and 65% of B2B buyers) say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalise communications to them. But brands can only personalise effectively if they know who their customers are – their information, behaviours and preferences. A CRM platform is critical in tracking and using this data.

By leveraging all of the data our customers give us, we can understand who our happy customers are, who our lapsed customers are, how many interactions we have with them, how many products they’ve purchased, etc.

How PSA Peugeot Citroen are using data to influence the customer journey

Only 23% of marketers globally are extremely satisfied with their ability to take advantage of customer data to create more relevant experiences. PSA Peugeot Citroen are in this group, using data insights to customise content delivery, and create a very personal and highly relevant brand experience.

When a consumer visits any of PSA Peugeot Citroen’s digital properties a valuable digital footprint is left behind. This data indicates a consumer’s interests, and their current stage in the vehicle research and purchase process.

By using a DMP, the PSA Peugeot Citroen team has been able to unlock the value in this data, analysing it in real time, and consequently guiding the consumer’s journey through relevant content based on their behaviour. They’re using data to optimise the path to purchase.

Learn more about how top marketers are using data to improve the brand experience, download the latest State of Marketing report.

Jo Gaines is Managing Director APAC at Salesforce for Advertising. She tweets at @gogaino