Do Marketers Need to Become Data Scientists?

Marketers might not need to become data scientists, but they still need to learn to use the tools available to them to develop better campaigns targeted toward individuals.

As social media becomes a bigger part of marketing strategies, marketers are looking for ways to validate the investment. This means using the data from social campaigns to drive and optimize campaign performance. However, the challenge is figuring out which bits of data are the most important and how to leverage that data to impact the bottom line.

So it follows that one of the biggest trends of 2015 is a rise in social analytics that provides actionable insights. From Wayin’s real-time social search engine, Intelligence from Spredfast, and the new consumer data product from Offerpop, social media management and analytics platforms are providing new tools to help marketers put social data into context.

Indeed, for marketers drowning in data software has become a lifeline for making sense of it all. But does this mean that marketers have to become data scientists?

While some companies might hire data scientists for their marketing divisions, RebelMouse CEO David Spitz warns against investing too heavily in algorithms without an equal investment in creative.

Spitz wrote for Harvard Business Review:

[T]he result is that the right people are being targeted at the right time, but with a pretty unimpressive message…Remember that analyzing data isn’t the point. The point is better marketing.

This sentiment was echoed by Offerpop CEO Wendell Lansford, who says digital marketing is the best way to engage with consumers on a more personal level. Increasingly, digital natives are the targets of marketing campaigns because of their growing buying power. But they consume media differently than their older cohorts.

What do digital natives do? They spend all of their time on their phone, interacting with friends and content, engaging with brands, creating an explosion of data and a big opportunity for marketing to plug into the change in consumer behavior.

But this doesn’t mean marketers have to become data scientists, digging through data for insights. Instead, Lansford says the job of the analytics software is to do the heavy lifting for marketers. As marketing becomes more technical and personalized, it’s important for the tools to provide deeper insights on who the consumers are.

In addition to distilling social insights, the Offerpop consumer product helps provide a unified view of individual consumers using data across the spectrum of behavior from email newsletters, comments, likes and even social identities. These insights enable marketers to develop personalized campaigns based on real consumer profiles.

In the end, personalization is key to optimizing social campaigns. Marketers might not need to become data scientists, but they still need to learn to use the tools available to them to develop relevant and timely campaigns targeted toward individuals.

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