Article
Written by Sven Persoone
Posted on 11/12/2017

Where are we going with our data-driven marketing?

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Ultimately, the data-driven approach will continue to develop and will refine more and more. Machine learning, cognitive learning, artificial intelligence... it sounds like science fiction and most of us have trouble imagining the applications of the future. But this future is nearer than you think. In any case, technological developments will quickly enter companies that have taken the data-driven highway.

For Kris Vranken, the impact of cognitive learning on the marketing world will be huge. 
'Some innovations are already disruptive today for some sectors, and this will soon be the case for ours too. This evolution represents a huge threat for marketers. Cognitive models and artificial intelligence will do a lot of our work. '

'Today, we are mainly engaged in organising campaigns and imagining actions. In the future, cognitive systems will do this. Otherwise, cognitive systems will help us, this is also a possibility,' explains Kris Vranken. 'However, this evolution has a setback which must be understood. As automated systems tell us how we should do things, 
the industry will evolve towards a uniform approach. In the future, the job of the marketer will undoubtedly revolve much more around correcting behaviours and creative content. '

'Then, the vision of the customer experience will soon be more ready to use. This will also be the case for the measures to be taken for implementation. But marketing will always be necessary. How will marketers react? No doubt they will be much less like cowboys than they were before. At first, they had their heads in the clouds. They could do everything. Maybe the emotional will take over in the sector soon.'

'What is certain is that creativity will remain an exclusively human ability.'

Predictive analytics

Katleen Mertens believes that in the near future, predictive analytics will surpass the popularity of data-driven marketing. In the context of predictive analytics, data, statistical algorithms and cognitive learning will be used to maximise the probability of obtaining specific results. Historical data will also be used.

'I do not doubt for one second that predictive analysis will determine the future', she says. 'Everyone will try to anticipate what the market will produce. Big data will help us. More and more entrepreneurs and marketers are already convinced that they will have to work with this data. Organisations that have not yet understood this should have an interest to wake up to it. It's finished to hesitate and stand still on the spot.'

But as far as the Belgian market is concerned, we may not be able to anticipate too much. Awareness of the possibilities offered by the data must still develop.'

'We are moving towards a world where data will be even more important than at present. And this impact is already going much further than we sometimes think. Businesses will not be able to work for a long period of time without it and will have to be more creative about it. This evolution will not stop. Take for example MyShopi. This is an app on your smartphone that tells you which products you have already purchased before that are currently on sale in stores. A pack of coca with a free 2 + 1 offer, for example. It's also an extraordinarily creative way to use the data.'

'But that's not all. We are going to be surprised again. Big brother is watching you ? Absolutely.'

Are we ready?

Steven Van Belleghem has already explained that many companies still cling to the classic internet. They have not grasped that the mobile aspect, which represents the second phase, is already integrated everywhere. It is therefore logical that they are having difficulties with a third phase: that of artificial intelligence. Dado Van Peteghem notes that in practice, everyone is talking about big data, but the essence, the architecture of the data, is often lacking.

For Jeremy Waite, too, many companies are not yet ready to take the step towards artificial intelligence, although he prefers to speak of enhanced intelligence. Like other experts, he is pleading that the fundamentals are settled first, before moving on to sophisticated systems.

'Kevin Kelly, co-creator of Wired Magazine, presents twelve technological forces that will determine the future in his book, The Inevitable. In each chapter, he expands on a technological strength. His demonstration is brilliant, but he has not foreseen a business case for innovation. What you need to do is perfect what you already have. And he explains this by the fact that an organisation that invests in innovative technologies often does not earn money, or even loses a lot of money from a business point of view at the early stage. So, focus on the fundamentals first and improve them.'

'Email, mobile, social, web, your customer service ... Make sure that the fundamentals are in place before moving to AI, even though it can help you, of course.'

The experts interviewed

Kris Vranken: Founder, Owner and Managing Director of Stratics and in 2017 elected Direct Marketing Personality of the Year.

Katleen Mertens: Corporate Business Data Advisor at Graydon, very interested in big data and the optimisation of leads.

Steven Van Belleghem: Entrepreneur, speaker and innovation coach. Has written several books on digitisation and marketing, including 'The conversation manager' and ‘When digital becomes human’.

Dado Van Peteghem: Managing partner of the Duval Union marketing and communication group. Wrote the book ‘Digital Transformation’ with Jo Caudron.

Jeremy Waite: Evangelist of Watson Marketing, the European leader in digital marketing, voted the most influential person on Twitter for #bigdata.