Data is the New Don Draper: the Rise of Analytics in the Marketing World

Data is the New Don Draper: the Rise of Analytics in the Marketing World image paradigm shiftData is the New Don Draper: the Rise of Analytics in the Marketing WorldIf you didn’t know already, the advertising world has changed. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article detailing this transformation, but the title really says it all: “Old School Ad Execs Sweat as Data Geeks Flex Muscle.”

In the article, which you can read here (requires a subscription), the Journal explores the experiences of ad executives who have watched their worlds change as the industry emphasis shifts from traditional to digital and from creative to analytic. The ad execs are “sweating,” says the Journal, because where the industry once called for Mad Men types, it now calls for geeks. The rise of analytics has changed the challenges faced by advertising professionals everywhere.

But we’re here to tell the sweaty ad execs that they needn’t sweat too profusely. Marketing is forever changed by the rise of analytics, but that shift doesn’t have to mean the undoing of more traditional marketers, especially when there are tools readily available that can provide the data needed to close every glaring gap in marketing campaigns.

With the rise of the Geek, we don’t see the fall of the Traditional Marketer. Rather, we see a fusion of these two methods, transforming marketing into a brand new beast that will change the way we all do business. In fact, in March, we created an infographic that illustrates how geeks (also referred to fondly as “growth hackers”) and traditional marketers have evolved into a double whammy of marketing magic.

For example, as Facebook and Twitter exploded between 2004 and 2007, there was a scramble as marketers struggled to find a way to target that audience. Lo and behold, by 2010, Twitter generated $44.6 million through global advertising and is expected to earn $807.5 million in 2014. Another example is the growth of mobile, which continues to outpace other mediums and was up to 58% in 2012. Growing concurrently with that developing space, the introduction of voice-based marketing automation tools began to become the go-to tool for providing multi-channel marketing analytics to measure revenue attribution and improve ROI, not just for mobile calls but all voice interactions. With this new technology, marketers were now able to quantify how many leads each ad spot generated, the conversion rates of leads into opportunities, the number of paying customers it produced, and the volume of revenue it generated. Add in the cost of the ad and they could calculate the precise marketing ROI for that specific campaign. Expand that same concept to all marketing initiatives – SEM, content marketing, print advertising, social media, or any other activity—and the result is a robust, data-rich view of exactly where to invest.

While Facebook and Twitter are relatively new territories for traditional marketers, they’re not the only areas of value. Traditional marketers may feel more comfortable with tools considered old school—the telephone for example. But with 77% of online shoppers reporting that they are interested in help from a real person, we can see that older tools doesn’t necessarily mean extinct tools: as virtual call centers become a no-brainer for companies that value efficiency, it’s obvious that marketing success will mean the ability to pair tried-and-true tools with new technology.

These tools and technologies are the answers to the questions that businesses large and small are sweating over: the ability to continue running marketing campaigns but have the knowledge needed to decide whether or not they’re effective, where their best audiences can be found, and more. It turns out that the great, overarching question—“How can I know what’s working and do more of it?”—isn’t that hard to answer after all when marketers and geeks join forces.

The Journal is right, of course, that digital marketing and analytics aren’t going anywhere: data is the new Don Draper. But this emerging world of marketing hasn’t yet been fully explored: traditional marketers may feel overwhelmed where the geeks feel that they’re in their element, but we’ve only discovered the tip of an emerging iceberg when it comes to the future of marketing. So rather than perceive this paradigm shift as the end of traditional marketing, it’s more accurate to consider it a regeneration: a new frontier of marketing wilderness to explore with new tools, new tests, and new teams.

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