In a recent webinar, Russ Glass of LinkedIn explains how data revolutionizes marketing and what the best data-driven marketers are doing to succeed.
When talking about the creation of the personal, meaningful online experience, we are talking about engrossing customers with encounters so incredible that they believe they were designed specifically for them, experiences based on what they need and what they want. Not long ago, the vision of giving that moment to customers seemed like a fantasy. However, today, it’s possible and it’s a game-changer for the businesses that enable themselves to grasp what the customer wants and ultimately deliver on those wants.
Analyzing data to unearth what customers need is key in today’s marketing world, according to Russ Glass, Head of Products for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Russ has a long experience with data. The founder and former president and CEO of Bizo, a B2B audience marketing and data platform, led the organization from founding in 2008 to a $50 million+ revenue run rate, before being acquired by LinkedIn in 2014. Russ is a dynamic, serial technology entrepreneur, having founded and held senior positions at four venture-backed technology companies.
In a recent webinar, Russ explained how data changes the way we market to prospects, explaining that the revolution in marketing got underway with the development of computing power.
Russ shares a few interesting stats: “The phone in my pocket right now is a thousand times faster than the computer that sent Apollo 11 to the Moon. Every 6 hours, the NSA is collecting the same amount of information that’s been stored in the Library of Congress. The cost of storing a megabyte of data has gone down by 28 million times since 1980.”
The revolution in storage and processing has given rise to Big Data. “There are a lot of definitions around Big Data,” explains Russ, “but we simply look at this as the ability to process huge amounts of data in order to expose and find previously hidden insights. The analogy you can use here is the needle in the haystack, and use that to improve the value of your business.”
According to Russ, Big Data is really about is creating great customer experiences: “It’s about understanding your customer better, it’s about being able to serve that customer with more of what they need, and it’s about being able to improve your business by being smarter about all of this exhaust that consumers are creating as they move around the web.”
Amazon is a prime example according the Glass: “Amazon started in 1996 as a bookseller online and they quickly grew into a powerhouse. Amazon is looking at what you’ve bought in the past and what you’ve looked at but haven’t bought and uses this data to serve a completely personal experience.”
Russ explains that they use this data to provide uniquely personal experiences on the website, the mobile app, the email newsletter, and on ads across the web. He contrasts Amazon with Borders, which ignored what customers were telling them, paying the ultimate price–Borders is now out of business.
Another impressive example from Russ is Netflix: “Netflix built an incredible, data-driven, and customer-centric business. In the House of Cards, they went to about eight different producers, in Hollywood, and they all said no to the show. And then they went to Netflix, who had never produced a show before, but Netflix looked at their viewership. What they saw is that their viewers loved movies with Kevin Spacey, loved the British version of the show, and also really liked the director of House of Cards. Using data, they figured out that it’s going to be a success and bet $100 million on producing the show. The rest is history.”
How to be a stellar data-driven marketer
Addressing how only recently data became part of marketing plans, Russ explains, “Marketers are using platforms on LinkedIn like sponsored content. They’re defining content marketing in an entirely different way. They’re testing audience types and the messages that are most effective with these audiences.”
According to Russ, there are five things that distinguish the best data-driven marketers from the rest of the pack. “The first big thing that the best marketers are doing is being customer searcher from the start,” says Russ. “They’re defining their personas at a very rich level and they’re determining the experience for that customer. The second is starting small. With simple A/B testing or simple predictive analytics, they expose the needles in the haystacks.
“The third thing we’re seeing is a desire and willingness to invest in technology. A part of the definition of the Big Data is that you can’t do this without technology. Fourth thing is an incredible focus on hiring the right people. This doesn’t mean that you need quants necessarily, but it does mean that you’re hiring people that are comfortable with what data is telling them.
“The final thing is the companies we see having the most success are companies that are testing everything. They’re measuring everything. Everything that goes out the door has an A/B test associated with it. Everything that comes back is measured against the baseline.”
In conclusion, Russ says that these five concepts help the best marketers become more customers-centric and drive better customer experiences. Today, we see that the ability to create experiences and develop a data-driven understanding of customers is key for driving success.