The wave of mass-information that at any given moment cascades over cyberspace is nothing short of breathtaking; according to a 2016 infographic by Excelacom, every minute humankind’s digital pastime churns out around 350,000 new tweets, 2.78 million YouTube views, 2.4 million Google searches, 150 million emails, and exponentially more.
This constant transfer of billions of bits of unique, user-generated data has understandably intrigued marketers for some time. Master advertisers use messages strategically tailored to reach deep consumer insights and drives, captivating target demographics with such subtlety that subjects are unconsciously, or even willingly persuaded to buy products. The digital footprints left regularly by millions of internet users draw for marketers a demographic map which lays out the consumer impulses, trends and preferences of any potential audience.
Pros of Data-Driven Marketing
It’s easy to recognize why such data could serve as a bottomless pool of resources for savvy marketers. Brands that gather metrics indicating which buyers prefer certain products (as well as when, where and why those products sell) are able to systematically deploy ad campaigns pinpointing which demographics are most likely to respond positively to specific ad strategies. By molding advertisements into an interactive, customer-focused experience, companies are able to curb needless spending and optimize the success rates of limited marketing resources.
The sheer amount of input endlessly blasting at internet users means successful ads must actively cut themselves from the buzz of online background static. In a review of the marketing industry, analytic platform Teradata claims:
“Customers today expect—and demand—a seamless and relevant experience. They have grown accustomed to marketers’ knowledge of their preferences and anticipation of their needs. Fractured or conflicting messages from a brand make marketers seem unorganized and annoy customers, sometimes even driving them away.”
Smart marketers realize that to gain digital conversions, they must sell customers on the prospect of a novel, notice-worthy experience. A worldwide survey of 3,000 pro marketers conducted by GlobalDMA and Winterberry Group reveals that nearly all marketers are “readily using data,” with 77% noting confidence in a data-driven approach, and 74% affirming plans to boost their data-marketing budgets within the year. The survey also demonstrates a major commitment to providing “custom messages and personalized customer experiences,” which 66% of respondents list as a top data-marketing priority.
At this point, data-driven advertising is practically stitched into the fabric of the web. Even scrolling through Facebook’s news feed, or clicking a YouTube link instantly displays ads based on your unique browsing preferences and web history. Recently, however, a storied few internet initiatives have catapulted their ROI, simply by applying data-marketing principles to generate unbeatable momentum. Social media management platform Hootsuite analyzed which features of their site were most popular with free and paid customers, and created a multi-tiered service scheme that catered directly to the needs of casual and professional users, resulting in a rise in both free and paid subscriptions. Another runaway data success was Status Page, a web creation tool which was able to increase conversion rates by over 300% by analyzing site traffic trends to identify flaws in their signup process.
Drawbacks of Data-Driven Marketing
Robert Glazer, a customer acquisition specialist, argues that a data-centric approach to advertisement leaves messages susceptible to creativity drain. He reasons that by over analyzing numbers, marketers might lose sight of the magic that electrifies every great ad, spurring a failure to discern value in a strong, but risky inventive concept.
While staring into data streams for too long might leave a blind spot, synthesizing creative might with quantitative insight arms ad makers with protective eyewear; by uniting a marketing departments’ unorthodox visionaries with numerical wizards, companies will build ad campaigns which smartly target and cleverly appeal for max reach, max response, and, of course, max returns.
Considerations for Pharma Marketing
While these advantages and disadvantages certainly all apply from a high level strategic point of view, they can also become amplified in the pharma space. With personalized medicine acting as a rally-cry for the improvement of healthcare, so too should personalized pharmaceutical marketing – and data drives that engine. Data-driven marketing can provide enhanced efficiency and effectiveness to marketing campaigns.
Granted, in the healthcare space, there can be a fine-line between the perfectly relevant message (right message, right person, right time, right way) and coming across as creepy or overbearing. With quite a bit of attention drawn towards the ability for digital data to be hacked and breached, security and privacy concerns relating to one’s health are much more sensitive than, for instance, one’s cheese-buying habits.
So, like all things, a balanced approach must be applied when considering big data and healthcare. If a balance is struck in the near future, we can expect to see more personalized and data-driven marketing efforts poised to provide more far more bang for your marketing bucks.