The New Face of Marketing in a Data-driven World

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2013 Worldwide Ad Spending on major media was $505 Bn. Large to midsize advertisers spent 3.3% more year-over-year in 2013. Brand managers choice of channels for customer targeting is changing year over year, with focus on digital marketing channels growing much faster than expected.

Source:  ZenithOptimedia

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels he or she is being treated.

Source: McKinsey

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.

Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

80% of CEOs think they deliver a superior customer experience — but only 8% of customers agree.

Source: The New Yorker

More than 70% of customers surveyed believe small businesses understand their customer better than large companies,  know their business/product better than large companies, provide a more personal customer service experience than large companies and are more concerned about my needs than larger companies.”

Source: American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 2012

The sheer volume, variety and veracity of information out there on in the digital world around consumers is enough to overwhelm marketers into ignoring it. Limited few with the heart to brave the winds to confront and harness big data are the ones who emerge as true winners in this enlightened data era. The digital phenomenon, specially the proliferation of social data, diverse mobile platforms, and cheaper processing and computing power has now equipped the CMO’s and their organizations to understand consumers in unprecedented breadth & depth. The digital detonation era has led the evolution from mass marketing to targerted marketing, which we refer to as hyper-personalized experiences and, more recently, to engagement marketing, which helps building long-lasting relationships between brands and customers. Most CMO’s are yet deciphering ways to deliver a better experience by analyzing data from all points of customer interaction. Customers are leading the charge, but are the CMO’s ready?



The biggest CMO challenge for today is “Exiting the Comfort Zone” and as the experts say, “Insight about consumers is the currency that trumps all others”. If we closely look into the changing market dynamics & challenges CMO run into every day, there are some elements which are almost undeniable in today’s business landscape:

  • Consumers Are in Control, Relentless Demands & Higher expectations
  • Internal versus external communications
  • Digital detonation driven by connected world
  • Device proliferation
  • Smaller share of Wallet


The question for CMO’s for today is “How to Remodel for the New Economy” and following are few key imperatives to keep pace with the changing world:

  • Spiralling customer acquisition costs
  • Achieving product differentiation
  • Customer loyalty and retention
  • Managing marketing budget dollars
  • Globalized markets and customers
  • Regulatory compliance
  • New digital world of constant change


And unarguably, effective business today is all about “Building Relationships”. Quoting a relevant piece from one of the Forrester articles: “In this age of the customer, the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with the customer.”

Winning in today’s markets is all about building stronger bonds, better and deeper relationships than your competitors, and dominance is imminent .To forge an effective relationship with our customers, and we need to know who they are. And MARKETING ANALYTICS has sophisticated enough today to help marketers unravel preference insights hard to see through otherwise.

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If we dig a little deeper on what truly is boggling the CMO’s of today, following are set of the real questions & real answers they all are vying for

  • Who are my most valuable customers? – Find out how to acquire more valuable people based on where they come from and who they are.
  • Who is doing what? – Determine why certain people are highly active by identifying and analyzing their behavior.
  • What encourages someone to become a customer? – Search for and analyze individual profiles to learn what actions come before your goals. Then get other people to do those things.
  • What does my entire customer lifecycle look like? — Measure the entire customer lifecycle so you are making decisions based on a complete view of all your metrics.
  • What content causes people to come back to consume my products/services? — Hyper-personalized customer interactions/products/services creates more loyalists.

Not so surprisingly, delivering WOW experiences to your customers is foundational to marketing, but treating these customer interactions in siloes can truly undermine the intent of customer-centric marketing. Individual customer interactions definitely do matter, but customer journeys (the series of interactions a customer has with a brand) construct a more holistic picture and increases mindshare. Defining Customer Journey’s, the 3rd Eye Perspective, have defined a new normal for businesses to operate, the way they think about their customer and growing beyond the traditional touch point approaches.  A journey could be…

  • an event that highlights crucial, relevant experiences across the customer lifecycle
  • are bounded at beginning & end across time
  • multi-touch, multi-channel and mostly cross-functional in nature
  • defined by the way customer sees and interacts with the business & not the way functional silos do

As businesses transform data to meaningful insights in order to understand and sell better to their customers, many at times run in danger of missing the forest for trees. Most organizations, yet as of today are great at delivering experiences across siloed customer interactions, but perform abysmally on customer journeys.

Higher customer satisfaction scores are absolutely critical but continuous wins and long-term customer loyalty is all about excelling at crafting spectacular customer journeys, for exponential revenue growth, reduced cost-to-serve, and improved employee engagement across all possible touch points.

Journeys are increasingly the way customers Interact with companies!!!

Decoding the customer lifecyle and identifying analytics interventions is the new way marketers are infusing insights for improving the aforementioned customer journeys. Leading marketers across the globe today are crafting the Customer Lifecycle, starting right from customer acquisition, to customer growth, to customer maturity and last but not the least, the saturation & decline phase and identifying touchpoints where Analytics could have a substantial play. For value enhancement & enriched customer experience across each of these phases, let put forth a few analytics techniques proactively  being employed by the modern marketers today:

  • Acquisition Phase: Customer Segmentation & Acquisition Analytics, Offer Optimization
  • Growth Phase: Activation Strategies, Usage Campaigns & Spend Modeling
  • Maturity Phase: Response/Risk Models, Revenue Optimization, Lifetime Value Management, Cross-sell/Upsell Analytics
  • Saturation & Decline Phase: Usage Analytics, Retention Analytics
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And if you look closely, across each of the stages in the customer lifecyle, there are a few business challenges which could easily be translated into analytical offerings, and now-a-days commonly referred to in most boardroom discussions. How do we bring in science to the art of managing relationships?

Idea is to list down the perennial CMO challenges across the customer lifecycle and map an appropriate analytics capability to that in order to address it. The key here is to put up an external facade and package the solutions/services in a manner which resonates well with the business audience (CMO’s in this case) e.g. Brand Equity Management, Market Segmentation, Churn Management, Sales Promotion, Pricing Elasticity, Market Forecasting, Sales Channel Optimization et al. Behind the scenes, we can have specific Analytics techniques/tools/solutions/platforms being tied back to these aforementioned business-oriented packages e.g. Churn Management  at the back end can have Reactivation/Churn Models running to do the job. In a nutshell, acquisition models, pricing Analytics, sales force effectiveness, market mix models, CLTV analytics et al can easily be wrapped up in a way that it makes sense to a marketer.

Here are a few tips around some of the crucial stages to customer lifecycle, with first and foremost being getting the Customer Acquisition strategy right

  • Market segmentation: Creating identifiable, stable, substantial or sizable, accessible and actionable segments from the larger population
  • Customer Profiling: Segregating into various profiles
  • Decrypting Social Data: Tapping into social to understand customer response
  • Behavioral Analysis: Tracking customer feedback
  • Acquisition Offer Testing: Design test campaign for experimentation
  • Conversion Analysis: Measure campaign Success based on conversion rate
  • Refining Strategy: Revisit objectives and tweak approach for Improved targeting

When we talk about enhancing customer value, as most experts say, “80% of your business comes from 20% of the customers”. Listed below are a few Analytics tools and techniques used to bolster customer value.

  • Customer Lifetime Value: Targeted marketing strategies for customers above threshold CLV’s
  • Cross Sell & Up Sell: Analysis to increase the average purchase size. Placing right offer at the right time identified based on customer’s cross sell & up sell prospects.
  • RFM Analysis: Discover correlations in set of items those can be offer together. Categorize customer purchase behavior. Identify attributes association rules
  • Market Basket: Divide the customers in Recency, Frequency and then in Monetary Quintiles. Customize offers based on RFM & threshold analysis.

Campaign Management & Measurement Analytics is yet again an important piece to the big puzzle. Trailing are some of the analytics techniques employed on that front.

  • Campaign ROI Analysis:  Enable ROI measurements of campaign and channel
    • ROI analysis insights to better understand promotional effectiveness and monitor campaigns
    • Reflects effects of both controlled and uncontrolled factors.
  • Optimal Budget Allocation: Aligning budget with campaign objectives
    • Allocate Campaign expenditures in align with Campaign strategic objective, Industry benchmarks, and Historical responses.
    • Budget allocation to campaigns aimed at different stages of customer cycle
  • Real-time Dashboards: Comprehensive intuitive dashbboards to compare scenarios
    • Channel ROI/ Impact Analysis
    • Channel/ Brand Promotion
    • Response Models

Last but not the least, Customer Retention is again one key area where Analytics has a substantial play, especially in industries like telecom where Churn rates are typically higher than normal. Here are a few techniques to understand root causes to customer dissatisfaction and appropriate strategies could be built around those to allay concerns.

  • Churn Analysis: The use of analytics to find churn risks, predict future customer value, target retention offers and optimize retention spend is transforming customer retention
  • Customer Service Analysis: Identify the engagement & satisfaction levels of your customers gain insights around how to increase customer experiences.
  • Loyalty Analysis: Track customer satisfaction by product, segment and cost to serve. Increase customer loyalty by customized service levels
  • Win Back Analysis: Reduce negative word-of-mouth by winning back those customers who left the base as a consequence of insufficient value delivery and loss of trust.
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To sum it all, an effective marketer is the one who employs a Unified Big Data Marketing Strategy and there are numerous tools/technologies/platforms available at their disposal today to do the job. Before investing in a robust marketing platform, make sure the following criteria’s are kept in mind:

  • Data Assimilation Capabilities: Ability to ingest and format structured and unstructured data from existing customer systems (in accordance with regulatory compliance restrictions applicable to the respective industry e.g. BASEL, Dodd Frank in Financial Services or HIPPA in Healthcare)
  • Predictive Analytics: Real-time and predictive analytic insights that update automatically to maintain a current view of every customer
  • Omni-Channel Content Delivery: Delivery of relevant messaging across a unique multi-screen, omni-channel distribution system
  • Closed-Loop Attribution: Multichannel closed-loop impression-to-conversion attribution reporting


Here a step-by-step guide for a data-driven CMO’s intending to venture into analytics. View may be slightly generic but effectively captures possible hurdles in the way. A modern marketer’s digital framework:

  •  Website Assessment & Optimization
    • Design and audit tags
    • Optimizing the website layout
    • Visitor Pre and Post study
    • Behavior study by cause and effect analysis
  • Online-Offline Data Integration
    • Offline data integration across channels
    • X-sell and Up-sell by creation 360 degree customer view
    • Multiple outcome analytics
  •  Online Behavior Study
    • Website Navigation Pattern Analytics
    • Visitor clustering
    • Conversion propensity
  • Social Media & Mobile Analytics
    • Social Media listening , brand perception analysis , competitor study
    • Social Engagement impact analysis
    • Mobile apps and web analytics
  • Business Insights and Dashboards
    • KPIs designing using the EDW’s and web analytics tools
    • Dashboard designed and distributed to key stake holders using our best practices and collaborating with business users


CMO’s can be the change agents in the organization, to help craft a customer-centric business model, by delivering unique insights into the customer, and help inform and influence decisions across the organization. From a holistic standpoint, CMO’s are rightly positioned to be the forbearers of change from traditional siloed customer experiences to unified, innovatively designed customer journeys. Donning the hat of a customer and seeing business with a 3rd eye perspective can possibly help inducing customer empathy across other business functions too. The future beholds a refined state of marketing, with polished intuitive understanding based on enlightened data-driven experience. CMO’s shall be the true masters of the digital era and shall be ones holding the key to customer 360 and will be defining customer interventions, personalized at an individual level instead of targeting masses.

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The New Face of Marketing in a Data-driven World

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