Data explosion is empowering marketers—and their customers

Data has given marketers more power within their companies. That was the message of the Monday morning keynote at DMA 2013 in Chicago. Reported by Fierce.

“It’s time for data-driven marketers to sit at the big kids table at every organization and to lead the discussion,” said Linda A. Woolley, president-CEO of the Direct Marketing Association. “Data-driven marketing must be a part of every business process and every decision right from the start.”

Cracking the data code will allow marketers to drill down into their customer wants and needs, which should inform companywide business decisions, including product development, advertising and even legal policy, Woolley said.

“Data-driven marketers hold the keys to the treasure trove of data that organizations absolutely need to make decisions. And the one who has the data, has the insights,” Woolley said. “Everything your organization does should be informed by the data-driven insights that you create. There is nobody better-qualified to inform those decisions than you. But traditionally marketers are only brought in at the end of a business planning process.”

Terry Jones, founder of and founding chairman of, also maintained that today’s digitally empowered customers are forcing companies to change the way they do business.  

“Marketing became a two-way street,” he said. “Customers started talking back. And telling us what they thought through social media and sharing videos and other new products. We moved from saying the customer was a demographic into attempting to understand the customer as individual.”

For today’s buyers, geographic barriers have been eliminated, price information is everywhere and buyer experiences shared, Jones said. However, that power doesn’t stop with the customer. As technology has advanced, so has measurement and so has the marketer’s ability to leverage data for better customer insight, he said.

As the balance shifts to buyers that have more information than ever before at their fingertips, data marketers should be driving innovation at their companies, the only way to survive in this environment of rapid change, Jones said. And to be innovative, companies shouldn’t be afraid to try new things—and to fail at them.

“We are constantly measuring, testing, failing and testing again,” he said. “And when you fail, and I hope you do because you’ll learn something, kill the project not the people.”

And it is this point I love the most.

“kill the project not the people”

very wise words indeed.


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