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How Data Science Can Make 2020 Planning So Much Easier for Digital Marketing Leaders

By Kelly McKeown on November 19, 2019


As marketing leaders, we know the drill when it comes to planning. The first step is to always understand the business goals and objectives for our organization’s upcoming year, quarter or season—depending on the type of business you lead. From there, we typically look at historical performance so we can forecast results and revenue. We do this to set marketing targets and drive budget conversations. And finally—with our data in hand—we sit with executives who ask us lots of questions to get at the heart of the integrity of our budget proposal and expected outcomes. Does our recommendation track closely to the business goals? If we break down our ask by category and channel, does it add up and make sense? It is these leaders’ job to scrutinize and challenge every dollar you’re negotiating for because it is the new reality that marketing leaders are expected to execute overall business growth.

This is the dance. And it repeats. Which means we already know the level of detail and category breakdowns we must have as we head into these meetings. Stepping back then, it makes sense to scrutinize our own process for how we arrive at the data intelligence that’s backed our decision-making. Three good starting questions are: Is the time it takes for your team to gather information the best use of their time, or is there a faster less disruptive process to get what you need? How confident are you in the planning decisions you’re recommending—is it centered on data and reporting you can trust? How easy is it to show and explain how you came to your conclusions?

Data Science: Your Always-On, Back-Pocket Ally

Second to crushing your numbers, nothing—as a marketing leader—tops walking out of a budget negotiating session having confidently nailed it. Today, data science-backed marketing tools can shrink the time needed to assemble budget recommendations. It is your new ally and new best friend because it can do things for you that you will wonder how you ever operated without. The right tool gives us full customer experience performance data including hindsight, insight (current) and foresight.

The upside to having the right marketing data science solution can look like this:

  • Access to precise insights that go beyond standard BI and anything humans can generate
  • A way to easily demonstrate and communicate the data behind your decisions
  • Access to the numbers anytime--with real-time data at your fingertips
  • The ability to walk into any executive or board meeting confidently ready to support every budget ask
  • And if you are a business that operates in short seasons, with two-month cycles like some retailers, these data access advantages can be especially valuable

Marketing Data Science for Planning

Data Science-Backed Capability   Advantages The Planning Question You Are Answering  Added Benefits
Machine Learning-Driven Forecasting and Budget Scenario Modeling More accurate budget scenario modeling: Real-time ML-driven, forecasting with specific business seasonality built-in, whether yearly, monthly, weekly, or daily – that includes holiday impact and is robust to missing data and trend-shifts. How much budget do I need to hit my goal? (e.g. 20% YoY growth) Track actuals against forecasting to monitor performance and detect anomalies

Possess the foresight to address shortfalls before they happen

Opportunistically use seasonality to your advantage

Track lift from optimization efforts against a form-fitting forecast 

Predict uplift of pilot campaigns to determine a go/no go
Algorithmic Attribution By taking a statistical approach to attribution (using a Markov network model) it eliminates the reliance on biased models (e.g. First Touch, Last Touch) Attribution more effectively assigns credit where it is due, including both direct and indirect influence on revenue. How much of my budget should I invest in each channel? Lets you determine the next best action for engagement

Can be applied to campaigns or ad source to help you make, keep, optimize, or terminate decisions

Easily Test Marketing Data Science at Your Company

If you’re at the stage where you want to explore this for your company, but the idea of building out a data science team internally seems overwhelming, take advantage of conDati's marketing data science platform. Sign up for our free assessment to get insights and optimization recommendations from your combined Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Facebook data - within 7 days of providing conDati access.

And watch for our upcoming blog, “Get the Most Out of Digital Marketing Spend with Data Science”. We’ll tackle how marketing data science can help bridge the gap if your forecasting is falling short of target, or simply how you can get a higher return on your digital spend.