When you think of marketing, what comes to mind? Executives in a meeting room, planning a campaign? The infamous and well-loved yearly Superbowl ad blasts? Whatever your mental picture, you probably don’t envision marketing as a speedy or nimble process. A campaign is devised, released to the public, measured for effectiveness, and then reassessed. Surely it’s a process that takes weeks or even months, right? Wrong. In today’s marketing world, adaptivity is king, and being able to affect immediate change can make or break a campaign. So what makes adaptive online marketing so important? Read on.
Even to an outsider it will be obvious how important data is to marketing of all kinds, and online marketing is no exception. Endless statistics relating to clicks, conversions, demographics, spend, and far more all make up the core of what really drives marketing practice. Such data allows marketers to measure and segment their audiences, produce real time responses, and adjust their campaigns on the fly. Tools like AdWords, SEM Rush, Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools are just a few of the ways this data is gathered and aggregated. The marketing world is awash with ever more granular data.
But just having data isn’t enough to give it its place of prime importance. It’s really about the ways in which data is used. Data is so finely tuned and so personal now that when consumer information leaks or goes public, it can turn into a massive security issue (as mega-companies like Sony and Target found out the hard way). Data has unquestionable power and influence, but only if it’s used intelligently to perform the one feat of magic all marketers want to achieve: transforming marketing ideas and goals into actual revenue. This is the true power of data, and what really makes it so important.
Enter the concept of adaptive online marketing. In this world, just having all that data isn’t enough. Power for power’s own sake won’t help you if you don’t know how to wield it, and there are more elements required to make data truly useful. Think about a spreadsheet packed with columns and rows of complex numbers. Unless you know how to interpret it, that data will be completely useless to you. Additionally, data must be current, updated daily (and sometimes hourly!) to keep up with shifts in trends and audience preferences. Thus, adaptivity is key to making data work for you. A marketer that is both proactive and reactive – anticipating necessary changes while also reacting accordingly to any surprises – will be the one to achieve true measurable success. That’s what adaptive online marketing is all about: reacting fluidly to changes and taking them in stride, updating your campaigns as needed on a moment-to-moment basis.
The necessarily cyclical nature of data can be best demonstrated with an example. Seasonal fluctuations can have a huge effect on a company or entire industry’s revenue and engagement, and the tourism industry can explain why. Tourism, especially from the US to other countries, will spike around the winter holidays and during the summer months each year, as families across the nation take advantage of school vacations to get away. During those periods, businesses like travel agencies, tour planners, airlines, cruise lines, vehicle rental agencies, and many more will experience a spike in revenue as they are heavily trafficked. However, once the holiday period is over, that traffic will recede, perhaps to even lower levels than pre-holiday season numbers due to fewer people traveling. Tourism data needs to be continually updated in response to all this rapid fluctuation, which can sometimes happen in the space of just a few weeks. This cycle will reoccur year after year, yet always need to be measured fresh to take into account changes in the market and in consumer trends. Thus the need for adaptive marketing.
Such adaptivity and ability to evolve is what Wpromote’s own Intuitive Search Intelligence is all about. Developing adaptive online marketing strategies with constantly updated data, all filtered through the kind of human expertise that can make all those numbers on a spreadsheet turn into real world value, is at the heart of the ISI strategy. Again, look at the tourism industry. Tourism Company’s advertisement for a particular couples package deal might work well one week, one month, or even one quarter. Once the holiday season rolls around, it may even seem as if the ad is still working, performing as expected. But human expertise would be able to point out that the ad is missing a huge target market: all the families that are now looking for family-friendly package deals. For them, the current ad just won’t apply and will go unnoticed and unclicked. While this may not represent a downturn in revenue, it certainly is a lost opportunity.
Online marketing and data are inextricably linked. As demonstrated, however, data by itself isn’t enough. Adaptive and intelligent online marketing is the only real way to succeed, and that requires seeing data not as static, but as a cycle that can be updated at a moment’s notice. All online marketing should be adaptive marketing, fueled by intelligently engineered data cycles that drive success and lead to measurable results.