Using data is becoming more important to marketers. In a recent survey in the UK by Hays 27% of respondents said that data analysis was now the most essential skill in marketing (beating creativity (17%) and being customer-centric (12%) respectively). Further, the most ‘in-demand’ skill was ‘using data to optimize campaigns’ – with 55% of respondents saying this was an essential skill. Yet as we work with clients around the world, many are struggling with a lack of data. What do you do when there is not enough data? Is marketing all about data, or is there still a place for marketing instinct?
Not enough data? Don’t panic – its not all about data anyway!
At engage, we love data. All our insight and strategy projects start with a data trawl. We gather everything the team has on consumers, shoppers and retail, and that forms the basis of everything. We work with clients who are data rich, and some who have very little. But in all cases, two things are true. They don’t have all the data they need, and a lot of the data they do have isn’t very useful. Sometimes there is an opportunity to get more data as part of the project, sometimes not. In most cases, the data doesn’t give you all of the answer. It points the way, but nothing more. If you are looking for certainty, in my experience there is, nearly always, not enough data.
Marketing instinct is key when there is not enough data
Not enough data? This is where instinct kicks in. The marketing art versus the marketing science, if you will. The ability to work in the absence of certainty, and still make excellent decisions.
I recently shared a great example of shopper marketing, where GSK had put in-store communication for their Sensodyne brand by the ice cream freezer, rather than in the oral care category. One of the comments on this post made the point that a ‘deep understanding of the shopper and their purchase journey’ was required to create this sort of smart shopper marketing. That’s not necessarily true. While a deep understanding is ideal, it often isn’t’ practical, or necessary. Full disclosure here, I didn’t work on the GSK execution (but I have spoken to several people in the GSK team). This excellent example of shopper marketing could easily have been created with very little data, and certainly no ‘deep understanding of the shopper.’ Think about it. Sensodyne is a brand for people with sensitive teeth. Ice cream causes pain to people with sensitive teeth. That is consumer understanding, for one thing, and is hardly new. It is that understanding that will have led to the creation of Sensodyne in the first place.
The execution does require some understanding of the shopper however. In this store (it’s a convenience store), few shoppers visit the oral care fixture, but many visit the ice cream freezer. Again, that could have been delivered via a quantitive study of in-store traffic, or by simply noting that toothpaste sales in convenience stores are quite low relative to other categories, and that lots of shoppers buy ice cream in convenience stores on a hot day. A check of sales data, and a visit to a store could easily be all that is required to conjure up this creative shopper marketing activity.
Data isn’t everything: Marketing instinct is key too
Data is important, and a little shopper data can go a long way in creating better activity, and also in helping persuade retailers to support you. But in this world of data, let’s not forget that data isn’t everything, that marketing experience and instinct play massive roles. There is, more often than not, not enough data. And that just because you don’t have much data, doesn’t mean you can’t create excellent consumer marketing or shopper marketing.
If you have some data, no matter how little or how much, and you want to know how to use it better to drive consumption or fuel your shopper marketing strategies, get in touch. We’ll take a look and let you know how you can use the data to move your business forward. Email me now.