If there is one word that’s permeating industry discussions more than any other it’s “data.” What was once something we hoarded on servers and the cloud has become a business’s most valuable asset. It can fuel tremendous innovations, enable new levels of personalized services to customers and prospects, enable incredible social innovation and much more.
It’s no surprise that we are all becoming data-driven professionals including us marketers. And the good news is that there is plenty for all of us—According to DOMO’s Data Never Sleeps research, every minute:
- Twitter users send 456,000 tweets
- Google conducts 3,607,080 searches
- Instagram users post 46,740 photos
- Venmo processes 51,892 peer-to-peer transactions
Like our colleagues in sales, product development and HR, marketers are laser focused on the potential insights that come from this data and we can use these findings to create campaigns that can go out to more channels than we know what to do with. But here’s the thing—with great amounts of data comes great responsibility.
Translation, we must resist that urge to oversaturate our audiences with content. Even in today’s era of uber-personalization, too much information is just that, too much. And it can paralyze current and perspective customers who must sift through more information than ever, thus delaying their decision-making.
This is what Gartner and Brent Adamson found in a recent report—84% of surveyed B2B customers reported a longer purchase process than they expected, nearly double what it once was. According to the report, the “average purchase decision now takes 4.9 months.” What’s also interesting is that the “average no-purchase decision takes 4.7 months.” One cause is that there is just too much information and too many choices.
It makes sense if you think about it. Imagine you’re looking to buy a new car. As more options and bigger piles of information stack up in front of you, the more challenging it’s going to be to digest it, assess it and ultimately make an informed decision. And after all that time, it might be to take no action at all. This is what our customers face today.
Now of course marketers should be as eager as anyone to become data-driven. After all, this data allows us to understand our customers on levels that we could never have before. We can understand their specific needs, follow their journey, see how they digest information, how they make decisions and even anticipate needs before they recognize it themselves. The list goes on.
In other words, we know our customers better now than ever, which is precisely why we cannot inundate them with information and options. Instead, take all of these details and boil them down into a few focused, data-driven messages that differentiate your brand while addressing their precise needs.
Next, as Gartner points out, connect with the sales organization to ensure that your messages align precisely with offerings. The relationship between marketing and sales has never been more vital and with the right customer insights (what are they looking to address), the right offering (which of our current offerings meets their unique needs), perfect timing (when do they need to act) and insights into their preferred channel (where they buy) just a little information can go a long way.
It’s hard to argue that data isn’t one of business’s greatest assets. These insights are flowing in at a steady pace. But with the right tools, we can boil it down into a single set of messages that will ultimately ensure the success of our customers.