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You vs. Data: Where People Fit in Modern Retail Marketing Strategy

Steve Tutelman

Think about all the data you have as a retail marketer. Not just the volume of it. The actual contents of it.

E-commerce site performance. In-store performance. Product feed. Demographics. Search. Social. Mobile. CRM. Shopping behavior. Geography. Competitive intelligence.

Retailers risk losing their advantage when competitors gather data faster, analyze it more accurately, and act upon it with greater agility.

Data surrounds you. But here’s the rub: If every data point doesn’t track to a business goal, the numbers can easily jumble into chaos and obstruct decision making.

That’s the problem with the people-data relationship today. We often lack strategic plans for using data, and we end up tracking information that isn’t relevant to business goals. If you feel daunted by data, that’s a sign you don’t have a strong plan for operationalizing it.

Today’s competitive, data-driven landscape calls for us to challenge our relationship with data, and adopt three attitude shifts:

  • Resist the urge to track data for tracking’s sake
  • Don’t think hybrid individuals—think hybrid team
  • Create a cross-functional profitability center

Resist the urge to track data for tracking’s sake

Brands historically have believed in gathering as much data as possible to predict consumer behavior and personalize engagement. That attitude led to the data deluge as well as consumer backlash against personal data collection.


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