Double down on data: The resolution all marketers’ need to make (and stick to)

Relying on incomplete or low-quality data is a recipe for poor decision making and inefficiency. Taking the time to implement a unified data strategy now will pay off in 2023 and beyond.

Mikael Thuneberg, CEO and Founder of data integration firm Supermetrics, explains why 2023 will be pivotal time for retailers and marketers to gather the data they’ll need to succeed. 

The thrill of a new year is inescapable. People set goals for the year – whether it’s eating better or drinking less – and businesses do the same. With a fresh year ahead, brands will no doubt have a laundry list of goals and aspirations in mind, and different roadmaps for how to get there.

Many will enter 2023 wracked by a sense of uncertainty. And, with much of Europe inching towards a recession – plus a cost-of-living crisis that isn’t getting any easier to manage – getting consumers to part with their hard-earned cash will be a steeper hill to climb than in years past.

And that’s why, as businesses settle into 2023 and plan for the months ahead, marketers should all have one item on their list of resolutions: Double down on data, and make it a long-term commitment.

New year, better insights

When we spoke to marketers, 73% believed the January Sales period is one of the best times to gather data, which means teams have little time to waste. It’s one of the busiest shopping events on the calendar, and all those transactions and product searches offer valuable insight into what people are buying, how they’re finding them and who they are.

This first-party data is particularly crucial heading into a world bereft of third-party cookies, for which Google sounded the death knell in 2020. While marketers could once rely on the convenience of third-party intel, the impetus is now on gathering data themselves, a much more difficult proposition.

But while it may be more difficult to obtain, first-party data is far richer and tells businesses far more about the people they’re selling to. This means marketers can make much more informed decisions about how they target customers, where they find them and what products they’re most interested in. The extra work is more than worth the effort.

Weathering the storm (and thriving)

While the old ‘too much of a good thing…’ adage doesn’t quite ring true here, the deluge of data available during the January Sales – and all peak periods for that matter – will pose a challenge to many marketers. When data is received, 67% of business leads within the sector struggle to deal with it all, with 64% saying it’s harder to manage than their staff. 

Analysing data from individual sources has pitfalls, as does using data that is incomplete. While it may be tempting to segment all the information received for convenience’s sake, this would be a serious mistake as it would not give marketers the full picture.

Instead, marketers need to be compiling all the information they have at their disposal – be it from social media, Google Analytics or elsewhere – and viewing it as a whole. Examining datasets from individual sources in siloes can be hugely misleading, with the real story behind it only being revealed when data from the wide array of sources available to marketers can be read in concert.

This could mean having a single spreadsheet, BI tool or data warehouse to serve as a single point of truth where all the most useful and complete data can be kept and analysed. Only then will they be in a position to perform techniques like Marketing Mix Modelling or Multi-Touch Attribution, which can be used to build detailed customer profiles and help in long-term decision making.

No time for a NYE hangover

Gathering information on customers and clients must not be treated like a fleeting resolution (haven’t we all had resolutions fall to bits within a month?). While the opportunity may be biggest in early in the year, with plenty of Christmas and January Sales data at their disposal, the rest of the calendar cannot be ignored. 

Even aside from peak periods like, data should be a priority all year round to if companies are to truly understand their demographic, plan accordingly and ultimately maximise their growth. Once they have decided upon the best way to organise it, marketers must maintain their hunger for data throughout the year to stay abreast of changing trends and consumer behaviours. 

In that sense, the early part of the year will serve as a trial by fire for many marketing teams. However, for those that can effectively manage and organise the swathes of information at hand, the stage is set for them to replicate that success throughout the ensuing months, laying a strong foundation upon which a robust insight-driven strategy can be built which will allow them to benefit from the magic of data all year round.

By Mikael Thuneberg

CEO and Founder