Don’t leave marketing decisions to instinct or experience


Making decisions on where to spend money on marketing without good data about your clientele is like shouting down a well.

You’ll make a lot of noise, but the people who care most about your product may not necessarily hear you.
It’s not uncommon for SMEs to throw their marketing budget away on gut instinct or the many years of experience that a marketer has. It reminds me of a scene from the movie Moneyball where Brad Pitt’s character, a head of recruitment says “when I know, I know; and when it comes to your son I know”. He actually doesn’t know at all. The fact is that while experience and instinct can be helpful, it is data that really holds the key to good decision making. It is a numbers game.

Evidence shows us that businesses that make data driven marketing decisions consistently get higher returns on their spend. Getting from instinct and experience based decision making to data driven marketing requires a number of things.

The first is the implementation of a system that enables the efficient collection of data. Everything from customer information, purchase quantities, regional demographics, sales volumes, and average spends is valuable information.

Of course, on its own, data is nothing more than a collection of numbers, so the second thing we need is a means to analyse it. To do this we can use mathematical models and various types of statistical analysis and data visualisation techniques. A decade or two ago the difficult part would have been the collection of the data, but today technology makes the collection of data far easier through the use of Data Management Platforms (DMPs) such as MediaMath, SalesForce DMP, or Lotame. DMPs are used to collect data from multiple sources such as website analytics tools CRM applications, publisher advertisement management products, advertisement networks, and also data sources external to the business that are provided by a third party. Once the data is collected the magic of data analysis can begin and if done properly we discover knowledge, insight and direction.

For example, a start-up lawn mowing business initiated an advertising campaign that displayed the same message across their region. Initial results showed that the campaign was as successful as the business expected. But they felt they could target it better. Using census data they discovered that one particular area was more sensitive to price than the others. The company changed the messaging for that area and by doing that it was able to increase its conversation rate from 10 percent to 30 percent.

With our ever-improving ability to collect data and analyse it, data driven marketing is no longer a privilege that only large organisations can enjoy. Today’s SMEs play in an even playing field thanks to technology. While in the past the collection of data would have been an extreme challenge, today the challenge lies in finding insight, knowledge and direction hidden within the data.


About Author

Mehrdad Behroozi

Mehrdad (Merv) Behroozi is general manager of Hamilton graphic design and web development company E9. Phone: 07 838 1188 | Email: