There will be some common challenges regardless of who you are and what your industry is. Firstly, too much data. Secondly, not knowing what to do with that data. And thirdly, how to fit that data into a robust strategy.
“Strategy plays a role in everything we do,” according to Reuben Ugarte from Practico Analytics, our guest speaker for the session on “Formulating a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy in One Day.”
Reuben is a global expert in decision-making, strategy formulation, and data. He is also the author of books such as Data Mirage: Why Companies Fail to Actually Use their Data and Bulletproof Decisions: How Executives Can Get it Right, Every Time.
According to him, “Strategy is a natural outgrowth of data.” Strategy is processes that businesses apply to virtually anything in a business environment, including production, outsourcing, sales, marketing, etc.
A strategy is a framework within which all decisions are made, consistent with the nature and direction of the business. This framework is a constraint under which you must make a series of decisions.
You might often get confused between strategy and tactic. Using different real-time examples, Reuben tries to dig out the differences.
Firstly, let us take Apple. They have a good strategy and employ effective tactics. They are good at what they do, dealing with core servers of phones, laptops, and watches. It makes them good at strategies. Moreover, they are abreast of the changing world. When the sale of the iPhone went down, they shifted from the service industry to health; by adding new health features to the Apple Watch, which Reuben applauds as “an intelligent move.”
Secondly, let us consider Volkswagen. They have effective tactics but subpar strategies. They see the future of electric cars as a sustainable future but lack an effective strategy.
Thirdly, Theranos had a poor strategy and ineffective tactics, which led to their failure.
Finally, Tesla has an effective strategy but not-so-good tactics. They see the future of electric cars but face issues related to the operation, quality, etc.
So the question is – what to do first- frame a strategy or deduce a tactic? Strategies are the blocks to build upon, and tactics are approaches to achieve strategic goals. First, figure out what you want to do. After that, you can debate the how of it.
Now, let us come to an ambiguous zone between the present and the future goals. From here to there, it’s a long way to go. You will encounter weeks and months when you feel like things aren’t clicking, and everything will seem frustrating. However, this phase is a part of a “really bold strategy.”
Finally, let us come to the sentient axes. Two factors make up the axes: one, awareness of the environment, and two, the consciousness of actions.
Awareness of the environment is knowing what is going on in your industry. And the consciousness of actions refers to the knowledge of things that make your team strong.
Now, what does the one-day plan to make a marketing strategy include? It includes four steps:
Strategic factors are things that you need to improve upon or focus on. It may be anything from values, resources, consumers, technology, culture, and data. You must filter out three or four critical factors that demand urgent attention.
How do you find those critical factors? You can do a litmus test to filter them out. You can use speed (example: quick delivery during the pandemic), flexibility, disruption, volatility, innovation, and risk assessment as touchstones to figure out the core focus areas.
Finally, you have three options after designing a strategy: Maintain it, build it, or replace it.
Coming to data maturity, you use data analytics for analyzing past data, use reporting to track present data, and use data science to fathom future data.
Coming to the final step to building a data-driven marketing strategy, you can implement it effectively by bringing together four cardinal factors. They are people, resources, technology, and tactics.
Not all basketballs pass through the hoop, and not all strategies taste the nectar of success. Reuben identifies four common failure points- no resolve, no accountabilities, no infrastructure, and no monitoring.
No resolve is the absence of motivation and commitment among the team members. No accountability arises in a situation when “no one knows what to do.” Proper division of work is absent here.
If a company wants to go data-driven, it might fail if there is no proper way to collect, visualize and analyze data. Moreover, lack of technology and communication also falls into this category.
Finally, no monitoring happens when you fail to monitor (monthly or quarterly) to ensure progress. Regular monitoring to ensure compliance forms an integral part of strategy implementation.
Amidst the implementation process, you might face legal or compliance issues, which you must deal with practically.
Reuben ended the session by briefly summarizing the event as follows: