We are a data-driven industry which is defined by numbers. As direct marketers, every test, campaign and product is measurable. My interest used to be solely focused on the number of unique, new data files that were available to create potential new customers for clients and prospects. Today my numbers include open rates, click-through rates, lead conversion, number of impressions, cost per acquisition, and cost per lead. Metrics to acquire a new customer have traditionally been measured by a positive ROI. Lifetime value and customer reactivation are harder to predict, but integral to any customer acquisition campaign.
Numbers and rankings are everywhere. They make intangible marketing insights tangible. For instance, they inform financial institutions and insurance companies about credit scores, who to target and who is a greater risk. Today our attention is on information overload. We are swimming, or some may say drowning, in the wake of an ever increasing data pool. There are new metrics from Twitter and Facebook such as “likes” and “page views”. Social Media advertising spend is expected to increase from $2.4 billion in 2011 to $8.3 billion in 2015. Facebook is approaching 700 million users and Google handles over 11 billion queries per month. There are over 5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. Companies like Nielsen, Simmons, and Forrester are sifting through the 2010 Census data to help marketers determine which statistics are irrefutable and how to allocate their marketing dollars. From declining birth rates to multi-generational households, from brick & mortar shopping to PayPal purchases, the consumer of today has changed.
Numbers are a reference point. As marketers, we need to continue to finds ways to measure our consumers’ buying patterns and the products we offer them in the most objective way possible. Statistics can be a critical variable for marketing strategy. How many online friends, LinkedIn connections or how our blogs are rated have as much importance as we are willing to allow. Data-driven decision making must be measured and evaluated in as objective way as possible. Identifying meaningful data patterns and creating custom scoring models provides the business intelligence that defines our industry.
Given our obsession with numbers and the information overload, we must still focus on the intangibles that cannot be measured such as experience, judgment, and wisdom.