Data driven definitions

A variety of recent studies show that data is becoming an increasingly important concept for marketers. But what exactly is data-driven marketing? And is it data-driven or should it rather be information-driven or knowledge-driven? In order to really understand things, it is good to know how something came into existence and which definition or definitions are used around the subject. I will go into more detail in this blog!

From data to database marketing to datadriven marketing 

As I explained recently, data-driven marketing has its challenges. But it is something that “winning” organizations use to their advantage. An online search yields various examples of applications of data-driven marketing. Depending on the definition, you can see that as soon as you base marketing on data, you really work data-driven. As far as I’m concerned, the core is that much more data has become available about your potential target group and that data-driven marketing has therefore become more important and complex.

If we go back in time we see several examples of decisions based on data. But it only really became a topic when we as marketers started talking about database marketing. This mainly involved sending personalized direct marketing messages. With the rise of online and with it more data and data sources, we are now mainly talking about data-driven or data-driven marketing.

Data, what are we talking about?

In addition to the development of data-driven marketing, it is also important to have a definition of data. One way to clarify this is the so-called DIKW or data pyramid. This 4-layer “pyramid” is built with data as a basis. Then information, knowledge and wisdom follow. In short, the higher in the pyramid, the more value.
To explain those steps it is useful to use the example of a red traffic light.
In terms of data, there is the raw data: red and coordinates about where the traffic light is located.
Then we will add meaning to it and it becomes information: it is about the traffic light on the corner of the Kerkstraat and the Dorpsstraat and that traffic light is red.
Then you add context to it, making it knowledge: That’s the traffic light I’m driving at right now.
Finally, you’re going to apply that information, making it wisdom: The traffic light is red, making me stop!

If we link this with data-driven marketing, it is important that we keep this hierarchy in mind. To be successful you will have to strive for “data” at the level of wisdom. Think not only of adding meaning, context and application, but also of data integration.

Intelligence and tools

With the data pyramid in mind, it is not surprising that we now use various tools to extract that value from our data. These tools can be summarized as business intelligence tools or simply BI tools. The term market intelligence is sometimes also used. This form of intelligence combines insights from the market with insights from customers, competitors and competing products. While business intelligence is mainly focused on internal information, market intelligence is externally focused.

Nowadays you also have access to all kinds of tools, such as a Customer Data Platform, Data Management Platform and of course the CRM system. Just look at the marketing technology landscape that is developed annually or view the information shared by Ludo Voorn and Coen Wiers. Too many tools actually, but it stands and falls with the quality of data or wisdom that you can get from it. It is also important that you determine which system is the basis of everything.


So there is a lot of data available about your target group these days!  With data-driven marketing you use that data to use your maximum potential! But in order to use that data, you have to make sure that that data can be used. You want to reach the highest value level of data: Wisdom. That is adding meaning, context, application but also data integration! By using different types of those (BI) tools, you can extract that value from your data.

Want to know more about how to do this? Our Smarties are always ready to offer advice!

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