Marketing and Brand in the new world of tech/data: Abhik Santara

Data-driven marketing facilitates more personalized content, which users show their appreciation for through increased engagement writes Abhik Santara, Director, ^Atom Network.


Data – is the most popular sound bite to describe modern marketing.

In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not knowing what your customers want. There are now a wide variety of tools that enable marketers to capture a range of data at particular stages in their marketing campaigns. Gone are the days of mass, untargeted broadcasting. The digital age has brought about widened reach and pinpoint targeting accuracy.

Today, to derive insights for marketing we don’t need to guess what people want; we just need to know where to look. We know our target user’s behavior, goals, pain points, and challenges, and we can develop marketing campaigns that cater to their specific needs. Data such as a user’s browsing patterns, social media activity, online purchase behavior, and other metrics can help us focus our marketing efforts on what works.

Adapting to data-driven marketing is not a choice anymore, it is survival. Businesses won’t survive, else. Data-driven marketing facilitates more personalized content, which users show their appreciation for through increased engagement. Because if the marketing message is relevant to their needs, users will be more likely to like, share, and engage with our content.

With increased user engagement comes brand trust, and with brand trust comes enhanced brand perception. In the long-run, this leads to increased purchases, loyalty, and advocacy.

It’s therefore easy to make data-driven marketing decisions, but relying on data alone ignores that some goals are difficult to measure.


With the availability of various AI tools, it is no longer difficult to capture, measure and analyse data. Every marketeer has the necessary avenues- data is democratised.

Data is very useful for incremental, tactical changes, but only if it’s checked and balanced by our common sense. Data is good at measuring things that are easy to measure. Some goals are less tangible, but that doesn’t make them less important. While we’re chasing a 5% increase in conversion rate we may be suffering a 15% decrease in brand trustworthiness. If not used right, we may end up optimizing for something that’s objectively measured, at the cost of goals that aren’t so easily codified. Easy availability of data, analytics also means that our business differentiator has to rely on product alone. Everyone is chasing the same TG, in the same ways, in the same place.


What makes data a bit dangerous is that our input grossly colors our output. If we ask the wrong questions at the wrong time, or to the wrong people, we will draw bad conclusions. First adapters and eager user-testers don’t necessarily behave the same as your average user, so even when we are asking the right questions we can get tainted data. Beware of misleading data. It’s only one source of info, and it’s only ever as good as our collection methods. Rather than blindly following the conclusions of big data, we must back them up with other sources (or at least common sense) before charging ahead with our shiny validation in hand.


They can work hand in hand to balance the marketing process. After all, instinct is built upon years of observing the world — it’s nothing but data that’s so deeply integrated that it no longer feels external. Trusting our instinct means obeying long-term trends. Pair it with short-term data and you’ve got the recipe for faultless decision making.

We have to start with an educated guess—a guess based on what we know from our own human experience, or based on what we’ve gleaned from prior activities, prior experience, and observations as marketers and as people being marketed to—in order to come up with a theory. Then we test that hypothesis by testing our own data, or by exploring existing data, to see if it’s already been proven. So while data is at the core of the processes, our own intuition and inklings must plant the seeds in each data analysis.

Data can be informative as well as instructive. It can tell a marketer when to target a campaign, who to focus on in a given moment, and which themes or contexts will be most effective. It often can’t tell you, however, things like how important your findings are, held up against outcomes that have occurred in the past. Or how correlated a variable is to a certain outcome. There are other considerations that data can influence, but can’t dictate, like how precisely to interpret findings in such a way as to create a cohesive and compelling ad or campaign. That divine task is left to a vital, powerful machine: our brain (with a dash of heart thrown in, of course).

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