How to Use Data as a Competitive Advantage

Big Data, in short, has gone mainstream. But that raises an important question: If everyone is “data-driven” in both theory and action, how can businesses carve out meaningful competitive differentiation through their use of information? What room exists for real commercial advantage when everyone in the marketing ecosystem is advancing from the novice to expert stages of their respective data maturities?

The above is an excerpt from the foreword of the white paper Data as Competitive Advantage. Oracle Marketing Cloud worked with the Winterberry Group, the IAB, Dun & Bradstreet, Accordant Media and AddThis on research that highlights how a combination of businesses – agencies, brands and publishers alike – are using “data” in their marketing businesses as well as their perceptions of what’s working and what could be better. Most of the individuals who responded to this research have used a Data Management Platform (DMP) within the last three years or less, which represents rapid growth!

Given the rate of adoption and interest, we helped produce this research as a way to better understand how the marketplace is considering “data” and how we can better address the needs of the marketplace through our own technologies and services. That said, here are a few of the key takeaways from the Data As A Competitive Advantage white paper:

  1. Use of audience data represents competitive advantage, but only for sophisticated marketers and publishers. In addition, basic business drivers that meet core revenue attainment goals are what are still prioritized, over audience data use that “may” have business value, but are not necessarily guaranteed. 90% said there was “some” business value and 74% of the executives who contributed to the paper said that accountability was “the” metric needed to grow topline revenue and that is what matters most.
  2. Data practitioners understand the value of using 1st party data – the data most organizations already have access to, but it is still nascent with only 52% of these users having seen “value” in the use of 1st party data activation.
  3. Advertisers continue to see value in open market RTB sources, but are concerned about “private data market” exchanges. This signals the rise of private data exchanges or “walled gardens” as we say and the question regarding how to optimize cross-channel capabilities with limited line of sight or access to the right data to inform customer experience (and business outcome) through these private exchanges.
  4. Attribution is still the beacon that all marketers aim to ensure their programs have across channels. That said, the efforts to fully measure and have an end to end attribution program are still widely yielding “mediocre” results for most marketers.
  5. Operational and organizational agility is now being recognized as something that has to be addressed for businesses to transform and embrace a data-driven philosophy.
  6. Industries are still leaning on technology providers, like Oracle, to make tools that “pull it all together” so that it is easy to embrace and use the data systems that exist – in the multitude of locations and systems that they exist in.

Why is a Data Centric Business Model Adopted?

All of the above points suggest that while there is much greater appreciation and understanding for what becoming “data driven” can mean for a marketer, the practice is still largely nascent and the understanding for how to use specific technology to address specific use cases is still being assessed by most marketers with varying degrees of success – due to operational items, organizational and potentially even technology providers.

So, while some more sophisticated marketers have tried and succeeded with becoming more data driven, the success hasn’t been widely repeatable and the results have yet to be consistent.

We continue to provide guidance to our customers about “how” to consider “data” success in their own unique organizations and knowing what will work, who will champion, and what success looks like before any technology decision is made. Enabling data success in any organization requires so much more than technology alone.

Download Data as Competitive Advantage and see for yourself the role that data plays in driving competitive business advantage across a range of advertising, marketing and digital media use cases.

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