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5 Ways to Convince Your CEO to Embrace ‘Scientific’ Marketing

Posted by Glenn Pingul on April 30th, 2014 at 7:17 pm

You’re pumped. It’s time to go in a different direction. It’s time to redefine your company’s marketing approach. You’re ready and can’t wait to get started…and then it all comes to a halt.

“Why are the investments we’ve made in marketing not enough?” “Why can’t you apply our existing technologies in new ways to be more effective?” “Why do we need to reinvent the wheel?” “How do you know this approach will drive better results?”

My short answer: “Because if we do the same things over and over again, we can’t expect a different result,” and, I might add, “Because science is proven to trump instinct.”

As a marketer I’d argue that nearly early every one of us is trying to figure out how to use big data to more accurately and systematically identify and meet customers’ needs. In doing so, every one of us wants to adopt a more scientific approach to marketing – one that relies on scientific methodologies to guide how we more intelligently engage customers to drive better results. And yet we all know that this is no easy task – scientific marketing requires not only a new way of thinking but also investment in new technologies to make it happen.

So how do marketers convince their CEOs that it’s time to embrace a new way of thinking? When it comes to selling science, there are five key points which have proven successful in helping marketers gain buy-in from the top.

1. Our business challenges call for it.
Competition is intense, market penetration is as high as it’s ever been, and as the leader in the market we’re facing stalled growth.

It’s a scenario that’s familiar for a lot of businesses. Acquisition is no longer the answer. To achieve growth we have to win the mindshare and wallet share of our customers. We have to focus on retention and maximizing customer value. We have to better understand our customers to then give them what they want – when and how they want it.

New business challenges call for new approaches and techniques. For businesses focused on monetizing their base, scientific marketing is a more sophisticated approach toward engaging with customers based on understanding how they behave and uncovering unique insights that then drive personalized, one-to-one customer experiences.

2. It can help solve a range of business problems.
No CEO wants to invest heavily in solving a niche problem. What’s exciting about scientific marketing is that it can help marketers impact a number of areas that the C-suite really cares about. While we’re not talking about investing in a company-wide BI tool that can support every functional group across the company, we are talking about putting in place a capability that can help solve a wide range of business problems.

Scientific marketing is about helping businesses be smarter about how they engage with their customers to drive specific behavior that has financial impact. It can support any number of customer revenue and retention initiatives, including those focused on: churn, new product adoption, pricing strategy, incentive optimization, product bundling, customer migration, portfolio optimization, competitive response, etc.

3. The technology can be transformative.
In recent years, there have been major advancements in how businesses gather and analyze their data, but the challenge for marketers often remains of how to act on the insights in a way that ensures relevancy.

To drive game changing results, marketers need game changing technologies – technologies that are capable of deriving from the data the ‘how best’ and ‘when’ to act – which means having the ability to test, learn and automatically determine what works and what doesn’t.

With scientific marketing marketers gain the freedom to test thousands of marketing treatments in short cycles. Then the machine learning technology sorts out what’s working and what isn’t and continually refines offers virtually eliminating the guesswork in determining what to present, to whom, when and where. It’s this continuous learning and ongoing adaptive optimization – made possibly through the use of technology – that drives game changing marketing performance results.

4. Understanding customers is a competitive advantage.
To know thy customer is to gain competitive advantage – that is, if understanding your customers means delighting them and keeping them.

Today, most marketers are challenged with how to glean valuable insights from all of their customer data. Traditional analytics either generates “a lot about a little” (think purchase data) or “a little about a lot” (think search data). What’s required to advance to a truly customer-centric engagement model is knowing “a lot about a lot” to determine what actually matters, e.g., how certain behaviors impact other behaviors, why specific external stimuli cause a change in otherwise consistent behavioral patterns, which treatment types lead to which actions, etc.

What scientific marketing offers is the ability to gain a multi-dimensional view of customers’ behavior that’s automatically and in real time updated and maintained. Most importantly, this view enables marketers to act in the right context to truly capitalize on each personalized marketing opportunity – better than anyone else.

5. The results are sustainable.
At the end of the day, it’s the results that matter – and by results I’m referring to those that impact actual KPIs, not click throughs, likes, and response rates. Scientific marketing is made possible through continuous learning and the ability to systematically test, analyze, and scale what’s working in order to have a measurable impact on long-term business KPIs.

Based on robust measurement that’s facilitated by rigorous experimental design, scientific marketing provides a crystal clear view on actual as well as predicted ROI. With scientific marketing, constant streams of feedback about marketing interactions and their success at impacting KPIs are automatically accounted for and acted upon which results in improved performance with any given marketing strategy over time.

So there you have it, five ways to convince your CEO to move forward with a scientific approach to marketing to transform not only how your marketing is done but also how your business performs.

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