Why marketing needs to be less Mad Men and more data-driven

Why marketing needs to be less Mad Men and more data-driven Guy is the CMO of Autopilot.


Don Draper once said, “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” As a marketer your clients are always telling you about themselves.

With each browse of your website, ‘like’ of a tweet, and reading of your blog, they’re telling you valuable information you can’t afford to ignore. The trouble is – there’s so much data streaming in it’s hard for marketers to know which figures are white noise and which ones to pay close attention to.

In Don Draper’s days a brilliant marketer might put up a billboard or launch a print campaign and hope to see sales improve. Flash forward to 2016 and high-performance marketing is no longer defined by Mad Men guesswork and mass media, but a new era of data-driven marketing led by Math Men and Women. 

We’re ushering in this Math Men/Women area by helping marketers read the signs to make sense out of all their data – below are a few tips.

Mad Men see in 2D: customers and profit. Math Men/Women possess a deep, multi-dimensional understanding between who their customers are and what motivates them.

You’ve got to love the younger generation

Whether you’re confused by them, love them, or are one of them yourself, 18 – 35 year olds are today’s most capable consumers.

They are aware of the immense amount of power they possess with the single touch of a screen, expect a personal experience, and know that support is available 24/7. As a marketer, you are expected to understand their habits and preferences and until you do, they will prudently withhold any sense of brand loyalty.

Today’s millennial consumers care about building trusted, authentic relationships and being able to connect with their preferred brand at any time, from anywhere. Technology to harvest data on consumer patterns and insights is becoming increasingly more affordable and accessible, compared to years passed.

In our recent survey of over 500 marketers, only 54% said cost was the main factor prohibiting them from using marketing automation software. However newer visual marketing automation entrants cost as little as $20 per month without requiring implementation or consulting fees.

Mad men can get the job done, but Math Men/Women get the job done right

Mad men spend big bucks on ads and guesswork; Math Men/Women invest in customer experience with known outcomes.

The fastest growing companies measure marketing on their ability to grow their brand and tailor high-end customer experiences, rather than solely on customer acquisition. Try focusing on treating each customer as one in a million, instead of concentrating too much on gaining millions of customers.

Focus is identified and determined by budget. In our recent survey, we discovered that high performing marketers plan to invest in customer events and marketing (35%), and referral and loyalty programs (29%) to drive referrals and repeat purchases.


Mad Men make assumptions; Math Men/Women provide plans based on analytics and data.

While Mad Men project their own desires and thought processes on customers, Math Men/Women are the only true ambassadors to correctly represent their customer base.

Pinpointed personalisation

Smart marketers pinpoint exactly which factors attract and repel their customers, then orchestrate customer journeys with personalised messages, websites, and ads that delight and convert customers at scale.

With social media’s influence, one fallen customer can leave you with echoing harm. Take for example one horrified traveler’s Facebook post that attracted over 600,000 shares when European discount airline, Ryanair, charged €300 to print out a boarding pass. One customer that bites the dust can instantaneously turn into hundreds of thousands more.

In a more positive light, Zendesk’s transparency in rescinding new pricing after a mass-uprising of its customers was rewarded with community love and trust. Using the influence of social media interaction on lead generation and purchasing decisions is just one of many ways Math Men and Women use proven growth tactics to track ROI.

Today’s customers care about legitimate experiences.

Mad men can get the job done, but Math Men/Women get the job done right. Marketers do not need to waste time wishing, assuming, or crossing their fingers; data to generate greater ROI is available and actionable. Next time you’re checking subscribe rates and social media shares, ask yourself ‘what wouldn’t Don Draper do?’

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