Have Data Analytics Become A Crutch For Lazy Marketers? Zak Garner Weighs In.

This week I spoke at TMForum Live’s Digital Disruption 2014 conference as part of the Customer Centricity & Big Data Analytics Forum. I had the pleasure of being a panelist on the “Birds of a feather: Disruptive analytics – beyond describe – predict and prescribe” session moderated by Jim Warner of TM Forum Live! I was joined by a range of analytics professionals including Juan Gorricho of Walt Disney, Serge Marokhovsky of EMC, and Theresa Stevens of ProCom Consulting.

Two interesting questions came up for me during the panel – and here are my responses.

Have data analytics become a crutch for lazy marketers?

On the contrary, analytics is meant to enable people to do their jobs as well as possible. Data has become critical to most every function in today’s corporate environment; terms like “data-driven marketer” are becoming increasingly obsolete as we collectively realize that a “data-driven marketer” is nothing more than…a marketer working in the 21st century. That being said, data is being generated in so many different places and in so many different formats that it is impossible for the average marketing or sales professional to tie all of that data together without the help of an additional tool.

Predictive intelligence is a specialized technology under the broader umbrella of “analytics” that ties data together in perceptive ways and delivers insights that empower sales and marketing professionals to do their jobs in a leaner, more efficient way. For marketing and sales, predictive intelligence isn’t a crutch to lean on; rather, it’s a propeller to power our generation of professionals, who rely on data to inform everything they do. For example, with predictive intelligence, marketing and sales can make sense of the tons of data being generated by their prospects, and pinpoint exactly who their buyers are. In turn, this helps them to radically refine their outreach tactics. They don’t lose understanding of their target audiences; instead, they gain more insights than they ever had before, which helps them to do their jobs even better.

Should numbers override instincts, and do we always need the numbers to back decisions up?

Numbers should work with instincts. Predictive analytics should never be just another executive dashboard to add to the pile on your desk at the end of the day. Let me repeat: The goal is not to add numbers to an already-crowded list of metrics and assessments, but rather to provide recommendations on how to action the data. There is an increasing expectation for analytics providers to help users action the insights and data being surfaced. We’re big on that at 6sense, so we strive to deliver insights and analytics that are inherently actionable for end users.

For example, when we surface hot prospects for sales professionals, we are transparent about the specific actions that prospect has taken to be considered “hot.” What data footprints were left by Joe Smith that have led us to believe he is in market to buy now? These actionable insights let sales professionals get radically more personalized and targeted during their outreach, helping them to go after the right deals, and close those deals faster.

This is the essence of actionable data and analytics—we should all be holding ourselves to the standard of delivering and receiving data and insights that make our lives easier, not more difficult.



Brief bio of Zak Garner

 Zak is a dedicated marketing and business development professional with experience across B2B and B2C technology sectors. At 6sense, Zak channels his passion for marketing technologies and strategic communications planning toward helping customers maximize their return on predictive intelligence. He is also focused on building 6sense’s data and channel partnerships. Zak was recently named one of Direct Marketing News’ 40 under 40.

Prior to joining 6sense, Zak held senior planning positions at multiple global advertising agencies.  Most recently, as DWA’s Director of New Media, Zak was charged with innovating the communications planning practice and onboarding new clients.  Outside the office, Zak can be found tracking down the perfect cup of coffee and the latest hip-hop records.

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