Data needs demystifying

Data is not a single, invisible entity we need to chase, but a many-headed beast that marketers encounter every day. That’s why, at Marketing Week’s Data Strategy Awards in 2014, we’ve decided to divide the categories in a way that recognises the multifaceted uses to which data is put.


We’ve opted to file most of our awards under one of two headings – the ‘media’ categories, named according to the marketing channels chosen for a campaign, and the ‘tactics’ categories, named after the common techniques that marketers use. Like everything we write at Marketing Week on the topic, it’s a way of impressing the importance of having real-life case studies with proven, measurable impact to show what brands can do with data.

All brands are now using data of one kind or another. Some will be processing exabytes of the stuff every day. But even for those who aren’t working on this scale, and who might not be sure what ‘big data’ is or if it even exists, there will be a recognition that the amount of data now available for long-established disciplines such as audience segmentation is having a big influence on how effective they can be.

There are many other award category names that virtually every marketer will recognise as something they do. There are awards for personalisation, user experience and loyalty and relationship marketing. All of these have data at their heart and have a marketer devising the strategy and the objectives, and then measuring the outcomes.

And that’s what we hope to emphasise through the Data Strategy Awards. Marketers should feel that data is their domain, whether they’re crunching the numbers themselves or employing specialists to do it under their supervision. They shouldn’t feel it’s a mysterious practice to be left to geeks and techies while they focus on proofing the press ad or the TV script.

Though phrases like “data is the new oil” are catchy and give us a good indication of where commerce is headed in the 21st century, they’re also in danger of suggesting that we have only struck on this resource very recently. As the eventual Data Strategy Award winners are bound to attest, data is flowing under every marketing department and every marketer has the chance to do something practical with it, with a positive impact on their business.

Find out the rest of the Data Strategy Award categories and how to enter here.

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