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Move over Content, Data is Now King


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Move over Content, Data is Now King," serves as an update for all marketing teams looking to create viable, engaging, and alluring content with the power of data-driven methodologies. Sure, we all know that data has had its place at the decision-making process table, helping to form marketing strategies and tactics.  We also know that data points serve as an efficient management tool for crafting content that can engage various demographic groups.  In a nutshell, we are embarking on a world that empirically states data is the leading tool that determines the who, what, where, when, and why for content creation.

Further, full-service commercial printing organizations understand how data impacts direct mail marketing aside from data collection and analysis.  Full-service commercial printing organizations have been using data compilations, lists, and the like for years now, applying print technology known as VDP (variable data printing, variable data printing) to create personalized direct mail print collateral.  Formerly, content creation was king, with the notion of creating content bolstered by the belief that engaging content would lead to higher conversion rates.  And to a degree, marketers did find success along that path. However, data is now king, and brands and marketers should note that data is the pathway to creating purposeful content.

Quote of the Day: "Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway."
– Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web

Data Has Been Around for Years

Many organizations, including brand and marketing gurus, have long looked at data as part of their decision-making process.  This has not been the case for the leading factor in strategic and tactical marketing decisions.  However, not all expert marketers and brands followed that line of thinking.  No one was born with effective marketing chops; in fact, they were learned over years of trial and error, and those that made significant marketing decisions were driven by data info.  For example, 15 years ago, newspaper and television sales execs used the power of brand recognition to sell ad placements or TV spots.  A standard sales pitch used to ramble its way from market to market with these words, "We're the leading brand in this market with the most consistent viewers, (or readers) and you can't go wrong when your brand is seen in our medium." 

That said, a few salespeople sold based on data, and they excelled at their respective organizations.  Here is an example of how a data approach won the advertising business for a NY newspaper back in the day.  There was a 25,000 square foot, locally owned, independent grocery store competing against 11 grocery chains with multiple locations and larger advertising budgets.  However, the independent grocer sat one mile from a highway junction feeding access to all Connecticut/NY White Plains areas.  Despite representing a newspaper with 600K subscribers, the account executive did not use this as the major selling point, although it was a consideration.  Instead, data was compiled based on freeway activity from all points within one mile of the independent grocer's location.  That data revealed that more than 1.5 million drivers passed that freeway intersection daily.

As a result, the data-informed ad exec proposed an ad campaign targeting drivers with the idea that if you pass this area before, during, or after work, commuters could save time and money by shopping with this grocer and get right back on the highway to your destination.  After running the campaign, the grocer made enough profit to open a second 25K square foot location, complete with a dining atrium in the northern area.  In this instance, data was the winner. Fast forward to today, and data is the king. 

Data is King and Content is Queen

Content creators should be excited about using data as their first tool in the marketing creating kit.   According to Jon Hinderliter, from his new book, "The Death of Content as King," he reinforces the notion that "it's less about stopping content creation and more about knowing what works. Without data, the marketer risks the chance of missing the consumer and even worse, not knowing they missed them."  He goes on to say, "Organizations of any size should start by looking at the data around points of awareness, purchase, and experience."

Knowing how your brand and product set is viewed and engaged by the target market, including subsequent tertiary targets, can translate into reaching or exceeding goals or failing.  Understanding how to speak to a consumer is the key to understanding their thinking processes.  The most efficient way to learn that process is by data collection. Consumers today are willing to salute or tear down a brand, and therefore, all brands should be concerned with delivering an excellent customer experience.  In addition, creating marketing content that makes sense for any target market would require a more profound knowledge to understand what makes them tick.  In a nutshell, effective targeted marketing content directly correlates with the data behind the creative.

Data is the Consumer's Weapon

Hinderliter also points out "data is the vote and voice of the consumer," and data must drive content creation and marketing efforts.  As new platforms have arisen in the age of the internet, data has become the dominant force that couples both the marketing and consumer experience.  In addition, Hinderliter also refers to what iconic brands have realized over the course of their existence, in that, "The three most dominant platforms in search (Google), social (Facebook), and e-commerce (Amazon), achieved their lofty status by finding value in the data versus the content." 

 It appears that those iconic brands were relying on data for years.  As a result, one could infer that data's winning proposition materialized long before its current rise to the top.  And, most brand advocates would agree that the data should drive the content.

Get Used to Finding the Data

Data compilation is ongoing and now leads the marketing decision process.  Marketing teams use platforms to monitor social media clicks, surveys, influencers, Excel, and other data-driven tools to monitor, make decisions, and track consumer reactions to brand statements, advertisements, sales sentiments, and the like.  Hinderliter also believes that the growth of data is now faster than the internet itself.

The Trustworthy Medium Relies on Data

Print's variable digital printing technology (aka variable data printing, aka VPD) relies solely on data to create direct mail collateral.  Direct mail marketing represents the most trustworthy medium that garners the best response and conversion rates.  Direct mail marketing is trackable, particularly when the calls-to-action direct recipients to digital destinations.  Large and small organizations often rely on full-service commercial printing organizations to help collect, cleanse and organize data to produce direct mail collateral.

The Net-Net

Data collection requires focusing on what the brand is trying to achieve and marketing parameters to solve a challenge.  Regardless of the industry, care needs to be taken regarding the data points the brand will find most useful.  Brands and marketing teams will need to make difficult choices in the coming years about how to proceed and select the infrastructures to achieve efficient data collection.  We are now in the king's court, the next phase of data importance.  We hope you found value in this post, and thanks for reading "Move over Content, Data is Now King!"

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. 

Dove Direct has an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices to save you time and money.  We can even create a demo file for you.  For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions:

  • Data Management
  • Variable Digital/Data Printing
  • LetterShop and Fulfillment
  • Digital Mail Scanning Services
  • Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau
  • Marketing and Production Management Support
  • Secure Data Life Cycle Management

If you don't want to wait, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the Contact Form for Dove Direct.

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