Marketing is one of those broad terms that people seem to interpret in many different ways. Most people think of marketing as a combination of Advertising and Public Relations. Some see it more as Sales or Business Development. Others think of it as Product Development. The truth is that Marketing is all these things and more. Much more!
This Venn diagram shows where Marketing fits in a typical organisation. As you can see, Marketing is what drives product development and then decides how to take that product to market. But how do they know what products to develop and which customers to target? This is where data comes in. Lots and lots of data. And that’s what Marketing really is. Gathering as much data as possible, analysing it, deciphering the important information and feeding it back into the business to drive informed decision making.
Data vs Information:
It’s worth highlighting at this point the difference between data and information.
Data is a collection of raw, discrete facts which is utterly useless until it’s been analysed.
Information is what can be determined from that data, once it’s been structured, organised and presented in a useful format.
So what data should be collected?
Everything. Anything that could potentially provide useful information. The business system of a typical large multinational company collects and stores thousands of fields and millions of rows of data. Not all of it will be useful today but they collect it anyway because in five years time, a pattern may emerge which actually provides useful information.
Then there’s the external information. What are your competitors doing? What’s new in the industry? What’s happening in the currency markets? It all helps to paint a picture of how your business is performing and the direction you should be heading.
So, there you have it. Data leads to information, information gives you knowledge and knowledge is power. That’s what marketing is. The power to make informed decisions and drive sustainable growth.