When Mary Meeker, former Morgan Stanley internet analyst, and current partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, released her annual Internet Trends Report in May, Sailthru was thrilled to see her data promote the use of personalisation in order to achieve successful ecommerce marketing. Meeker’s report underscores that if ecommerce brands are to reach today’s younger demographic then they must embrace a personalised omnichannel approach.

In this first part of this blog series, we take a look at how marketing today is an extension of data science: If you don’t analyse consumer data, then it’s impossible to learn anything from it.

What are your customers doing?

The first step towards making good use of available technology is recording your customers’ actions. By capturing user data and analysing behaviour patterns to identify what actions are taken by those with a positive response (conversion) and those with a negative response (i.e. opt out), your company can augment a customer’s experience in real time, thereby increasing revenue and lowering churn.

This may seem like a standard course of action for any company that relies primarily on internet traffic for revenue, but, as Meeker points out, only 1% of data in the ‘Digital Universe’ is analysed even though 34% of it is useful. Gartner, comparatively, found that brands spend an average of 21% of a marketing budget collecting data, but that the majority find it very difficult to make this data actionable whilst Forrester found that most companies analyse an average of 12% of data.

Ecommerce brands have a higher level of analytics adoption than other industries which makes sense as the bottom line for ecommerce brands relies on online purchases, meaning influencing consumers to choose one brand’s product over others is essential. However, there’s plenty of room for growth in the landscape of data-driven marketing opportunities as technology is now available enabling organisations to constantly survey and learn from each and every customer that interacts with a brand across multiple online channels.

Taking the Analytics Plunge

What is keeping brands from making use of the information available? Marketers are collecting vast amounts of data, which simply can’t all be made actionable. The reality is that it’s not realistic for all data to be processed in-house, therefore the use of data science tools will make the use of data a lot simpler. By creating detailed profiles and by using data at the individual level, brand marketers can develop the proprietary insights needed to develop more effective strategies. The task of adopting a data-centric marketing strategy may seem daunting, but there are many ways that an ecommerce company can approach it.

Once a brand is collecting data, it’s easy to start identifying customer trends, preferences and needs, which allows for more effective, personalised marketing. The metrics that matter for your company are the same as those that determine whether a purchase is made, even if not directly. Start with identifying the factors that go into purchase decisioning and work backwards from there.

How can brands stand to benefit from data analysis?

We’re seeing brands that adopt a data-centric culture benefit tremendously from the approach. By taking down the siloed data approach of yesteryear and preparing for a future, companies are acknowledging that data is the asset that will drive ongoing and increasing revenue generation.

With 90% of the data that exists today having been created in the last two years, it’s imperative that organisations develop a strategy for collection, analysis and insights development. Those who begin doing so right now, rather than in a few years’ time, are laying the foundation for rapid growth and alignment with their customers – and ultimately success.

Neil Capel

Neil Capel


Neil Capel is Chairman and Founder of Sailthru.