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Source: Forbes Insights

For marketers, the digitization of business has opened up a new world. No longer are they forced to launch campaigns while blindly relying on gut instinct and hoping for the best. Marketing and advertising campaigns that succeed do so by integrating a range of intelligent approaches to identify customers, segment, measure results, analyze data and build upon feedback in real time.

In today’s global economy, there is a great urgency to be able to conduct data-driven marketing campaigns, as organizations are under pressure as never before to deliver results. “Data-driven marketing” is the practice of employing data to achieve marketing goals and measure results, through engaging customers and delivering greater value to the business. This builds upon a number of forces, such as increasingly digitized operations and increasingly demanding and digitally connected customers.

Data insights have long played a role in efforts to drive business growth and reach new and existing customers. Insights generated by customer and transaction data have helped answer the four w’s of marketing—who, when, where and what, says Dr. Ravi Dhar, professor of management and marketing, and director of the Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management. “It’s always been about who buys it, when did they buy it, where did they buy it, and what did they buy.” The challenge is now to answer the fifth “w” question—why. To correlate data to the “why,” information needs to be brought together from across the enterprise and market landscape to be transformed into actionable insights. “This is really critical to making good decisions, but the data can’t tell you the ‘why’ by itself. You need good managerial understanding to be able to answer the ‘why.’”

Data-driven marketing opens up a wealth of new perspectives and opportunities for businesses, and ultimately, it’s all about customers. A successful data-driven effort needs to be accompanied by efforts to listen to and engage with customers. Datadriven marketing is customer-centric marketing.

Businesses are only just starting to understand the power and potential of data-driven marketing. Ultimately, a data-driven organization learns to employ data analytics as part of all marketing campaigns, from conception to post-campaign review. Within a data-driven enterprise, information can move freely and is consistent across all channels. Within organizations that have achieved high levels of customer intelligence, there is a data-centric culture that is supported from the top down, and decision makers at all levels are provided training and support in mastering the power of data to better reach their markets.

“There’s really very little excuse in today’s marketing department to not use data,” says Russell Glass, head of B2B product for LinkedIn, and coauthor of The Big Data-Driven Business (Wiley). “With the cost of processing, storage and tools having gone down so much, if you’re not using data to make your decisions, or at least to inform your decisions, you’re probably not doing your job.”

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Banner advertising, in-text advertising, in-stream advertising. Business media companies face a number of options for how best to monetize their websites and boost their ad inventory without alienating readers. Now they can add another one to the list: in-image advertising.

In-image advertising, which allows publishers to serve contextual ad messages when users roll over a photo or other image on a website, can command higher CPMs and click-through rates than traditional online advertising because it is user-initiated. While in-image ads have been used in consumer advertising for about three years, they are now starting to creep into b2b media markets…

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