What Data Means for the Future Of Marketing

    by Ranvir Gujral
    April 30, 2015
    Photo by COM Salud and used here with Creative Commons license.

    The following opinion piece is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here.

    On the first day of the F8 Facebook Developer Conference this year, Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the event by talking about data.

    "The biggest issue is that we're not advancing our processes fast enough to actually put that data to work."

    Over the past year, the use of Facebook’s third-party login has seen a 10 percent spike and is now in use by 80 percent of the world’s top grossing apps. According to Digiday, “that growth gives Facebook more insight into the apps and media its users like to consume when they’re not on Facebook” – which is helping to grow the Facebook Audience Network, a way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.


    This piece of news from F8 can easily get lost in the discourse after the event, what with Facebook’s other reveals around virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and even video. Yet it may actually be the lead-in to one of the most important points of discussion, especially if you’re a marketer.

    The Data Machine

    Today, data is becoming increasingly granular and interconnected. Facebook is a key example of this phenomenon. From the videos we watch to the games we play, and even, in the future, how we use our appliances, will all be pushed into Facebook’s data machine and then provided to marketers to fuel everything from messaging to product. What challenges does this raise for the future of marketing?

    In a recent discussion with CMO.com, analyst and author Brian Solis touched on this exact question.

    Brian Solis

    Photo of Brian Solis, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    “The biggest challenge is not in the understanding or expertise associated with new technology,” he said. “We can learn that. The biggest problem is our inability to recognize that the experience we have today is not the experience we need going forward.”

    Keeping up

    The biggest issue in marketing today, and the one we’re not discussing nearly enough, isn’t so much how to understand data. We can all learn and adapt to that. The biggest issue is that we’re not advancing our processes fast enough to actually put that data to work. According to a recent study by Digiday and Chute, marketers said that mining consumer insights (i.e. collecting data on content viewers) was the number one feature that would save their teams the most time if automated.

    The emergence of digital and social, and all the data implications that come along with the two, are the big bang of marketing. They are not just going to lead to a shift; they will lead to a complete overhaul of the marketing universe as we know it, an overhaul that started yesterday that every marketer is feeling the heat to catch up to today.

    The problem is that we’re still attempting to depend on legacy tools, systems, and structures to navigate us through a completely changed world that they were not developed for.

    Legacy tech/communication

    Photo by Noelene D and used here with Creative Commons license

    Solis writes:

    “The real future of marketing starts with putting your hands up and walking away for a minute. With understanding how technology has affected behaviour and how that behaviour has affected expectations and values and decision-making.

    “And when you understand what is different today – all this amazing technology, all the data you can leverage – you recognize the future of marketing starts with an entirely new philosophy about what marketing should or could be. Marketing becomes a true reflection of an always-on society by recognising that it’s not a department. Marketing is now a way of business.”

    Use data wisely

    It’s time for all of us to take a moment, step back, and ask ourselves:

    1. Who am I trying to reach?
    2. Who am I really reaching?
    3. Out of those people, who actually cares or remembers?
    4. How can I make people care and pay attention more?

    And we all have to realize that the answer to No. 4 is not always going to be a marketing solution anymore. Instead, it may be a marketing-led change in anything from product to corporate culture because marketing now has access to a 24/7 focus group to shape what your business needs to be and become.

    The future of data means marketing is the future of business.

    Ranvir is the co-founder and CEO of Chute. An entrepreneur in spirit, Ranvir is the previous co-founder of LifeGrams Corporation and Blue Whale Labs. Currently he serves on the board of The Detroit Foundation – a non-profit focused on reinvigorating the city through social entrepreneurship and job growth. Follow him on Twitter at @ranvir.

    Tagged: advertising CMO data facebook marketing

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