The digitalization of corporate communication is progressing. Two key features of this development are the advent of big data and the associated automation in marketing. But the main problem with this development is that marketers are marketers. They’re not data analysts.
Most people are lacking the know-how required to analyse the immense flood of data and use it for their own purposes. This is one of the key results of this year’s European Communication Monitor ECM), which is one of the largest corporate communication studies in the world with its 2,700 participants from 43 countries.
A revolution driven by big data
Data is the oil of the information age. If marketers identify the appropriate data sources and insert the appropriate analytical tools, they have the opportunity to learn more about their target groups than ever before. This opens up a way to address stakeholders with precisely the content that they are currently interested in. But, according to the ECM study, this is precisely what very few marketing professionals are in a position to do. Over 70 percent of the communication professionals surveyed for the study believe that big data is changing their profession. But only a quarter of them has actually developed an understanding of the issue. Almost half of them indicated that they lack the know-how required to analyse and use large unstructured quantities of data.
Algorithms are taking hold in marketing
A decisive factor is what the data is to be used for. Automatic adaptation or creation of targeted and situation specific approaches, campaigns or content or personalized, context related distribution of information are some of the primary uses. Digital giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have perfectly mastered this. Algorithms that analyse previous search behaviour, for example, can determine which advertising and content is displayed for a web user on Google, Amazon or Facebook. Using the appropriate tools such as Adobe or Salesforce, companies can increasingly automate data analysis and campaign control.
When it comes to this type of automated content marketing, the ECM study shows a huge gap between vision and reality. Three quarters of the respondents are happy to see communication measures optimized by search engines and social media platforms using external algorithms. But less than 30 percent actively pursue such approaches. The is even more surprising in light of the fact that Messe Frankfurt’s Digital Business Transformation study revealed that most marketing departments make regular use of search engine optimization, which is based on similar analyses. A study conducted by Progress has determined lacking skills and a high level of technical complexity to be reasons why the digital transformation is only progressing slowly in many companies.
The majority of marketing departments leave great potential untapped. They are not taking advantage of the possibilities of big data analytics and data-driven automation. For example, fashion companies could use geotargeting to display ad banners and other campaigns based on the current weather at the shop visitor’s location and either advertise for flip-flops or raincoats. Banners that reflect the customer’s current situation are much more likely to arouse interest than more impersonal advertising that has nothing to do with the customer’s surroundings. Entire campaigns can be personalized in this way and combined with different content and imagery for specific audience segments. For Example the age, gender, location, interests or current environment of the interested party.
For more information about the digital transformation of marketing also read our articles Digital marketing-transformation-the status quo and How to manage the digital transformation of marketing successfully.