THE BLOG
24/03/2015 06:12 GMT | Updated 23/05/2015 06:59 BST

By Unlocking the Power of Data, You Can Win the Performance Marketing Race

This year is gearing up to be an outstanding one for sport. Formula 1 is well underway and my viewing schedule will be filled with rugby come September. Data in sports is having a transformational effect and many sports are already using it to inform strategy and improve results. The new Formula 1 season has just got underway and the teams this year are using real-time data and analytics to predict where they'll finish in the race before it has even started. From tyre pressure to fuel burn efficiency, live race data is transferred in under a quarter of a second to make the slightest of adjustments that could win or lose a race.

Using these learnings from the fast-paced exciting world of sport, how can we apply this principle on how data can inform decisions to enhance marketers' business strategy? One thing we know is this has always been a challenge for CMOs who have had to embody the customer by knowing how they will react and feel and understand what they want. The opportunity that data offers to optimise performance is massively exciting and the CMO is perfectly positioned to utilise large data sets quickly to transform the performance of the businesses they work for.

Rugby is another sport that is using data in ground-breaking ways and in the last few years, it has turned into a very data rich and analytical sport. Our players are wearing GPS monitors in their shirts that record data, such as distances covered and speeds reached, which provide invaluable information for the team. In the year we are set to host the World Cup, CMOs have an increasing amount of data about their customers at their fingertips but, unlike Rugby, are challenged in how to use it to its full potential. My experience in data analytics has led me to see that data can help align a business with its customers' behaviour. We need to change the way people in our sector see data as a narrow activity - it is not just 'sophisticated targeting'.

Imagine what could happen if we applied the power of data to business performance? My view is we are now ready to do exactly that. Analytical technology feeds real-time data into business strategy and can arm the CMO with the data to optimise business performance. By on-boarding extensive data sets to combine their own business data, this will give CMOs the tools to draw upon insights and show the likelihood of what messaging motivates different behaviours. For example, data analytics can fuse live information on currency exchange rates and can identify whether it will have an effect on customer travel booking behaviours and therefore impact the business. Weather is also a huge factor in behaviour. This is particularly significant in the retail sector where weather has a vast influence on sales as people mass buy products, such as BBQ supplies, when there is a small incremental rise in the temperature.

The rise of data has created huge disruption for businesses in all kinds of sectors. Let's take the lead from influencers in sport as the evidence that smart use of data can deliver true competitive advantage. By unlocking the real power of data, this will equip CMOs with the ability to transform their strategy and, as a result, allow them to own the most powerful seat in the boardroom.