Let’s throw it back a moment.

It’s the mid-1800s, and advertising in America is just starting to gain traction. A man named Volney B. Palmer opens up the first advertising agency in the country on the corner of Third and Chestnut St. in downtown Philadelphia.

Now, you could argue that Volney operated more as a realtor of sorts than he did an advertiser – effectively buying space in various print publications, then turning around and selling that space (at a mark-up, of course) to his clients, who would provide the artwork, copy, or other creative.

Companies like Cadillac, Haynes-Apperson and Packard all vied for the attention of consumers by buying space in newspapers and magazines, using ads like these and hoping for as many eyeballs as possible. Today, a data-driven approach goes far beyond this.

By 1900, the ad world started to pick up a little more steam. More agencies began to sprout up, handling everything from strategy to creative to placements and execution.

Even so, you had to have deep pockets and good brand recognition if you wanted to make a splash. It was all about who could shovel out the most cash to occupy the most space, the most times, and in front of the most eyes possible (today, we refer to this philosophy as mass marketing).

Along with an evolving competency for good creative copywriting, the main asset throughout the 1900s among advertisers remained money and space.

Fast-forward more than a century to the early 2000s. Marketers and advertisers have become considerably more strategic, but also have exponentially more channels and means by which to leverage those channels than did their predecessors.

Many advertising and marketing professionals ran (and still run) ad campaigns with strategy largely derived from a combination of industry benchmarks and gut instinct. They would often look at advertising trends and what successful organizations were doing, then mimic aspects of those campaigns. Today, however, that strategy leads to stale, ineffective campaign ideas and out-of-date reports.

The notion of needing as much capital as possible, access to the most space, visibility into the latest industry trends, or even the ability to write the best copy is minuscule in comparison to what’s become the real competitive differentiator today: data – and the ability to use it not to disrupt consumers, but to send them right-time, right-place communications that feel personally crafted just for them.

It’s 2017, and marketers are collectively beginning to take the next step and use data-driven advertising to deliver high-impact campaigns for maximum effectiveness and returns. But what exactly does that mean, and what are the opportunities for marketers?

Related Content: What is Data-Driven Marketing?

The Rise of Data-Driven Advertising

Within the last few years, marketing technology has completely transformed advertising; from how we build strategies, to the way we build campaigns and how consumers actually experience ads.

By increasingly relying on data, insights, and analytics, marketers have joined the ranks of other professionals, revolutionizing their industry by moving beyond gut instinct and a “this is how we’ve always done it” attitude.

For the first time in history, marketers have the ability to leverage technology to reach their customers as individuals – and gain granular insights into who those people are.

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The rise of new marketing platforms has enabled advertisers to gather more data than ever before. Every single consumer interaction, from website visits to in-store interactions, and even social media engagement, can now be collected and stored for further analysis. Data is constantly being collected and organized to uncover hidden insights.

Moving beyond collection of consumer data, sophisticated technologies are allowing advertising teams to take data-driven campaigns to the next level. The rise of big data, and other subsequent machine-related interactions, has blown the roof off marketing innovation. Marketers now have a clear picture of their consumer audiences, and can take carefully measured steps towards delivering highly personalized engagements and content interactions.

What Does AI Marketing Have to Do With It?

The rise of data-driven advertising and big data has opened the doors for organizations to engage with some revolutionary technological advancements as well. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the intersection of big data, innovative technology, and marketing effectiveness. AI solutions can analyze data and draw human-level conclusions about trends or patterns. Marketers can then leverage these insights to build effective, personalized campaigns that focus on the consumer, not just gut instinct.

How to Get Data-Driven Advertising Right

As marketing and advertising leaders look for ways to move beyond traditional advertising and truly begin innovating, using big data and technology with enabled AI should be the goal.

Here is how to make sure your team gets data-driven advertising right, every single step of the way:

Personalize Your Consumer Engagement

It’s one thing to leverage big data solutions to simply collect and gather data, and another to actually act on these insights. With this incredible amount of consumer data in their hands, marketers now know exactly what certain audiences are looking for, what concerns them, and what will influence them to continue through the sales process. Whether this is as simple as adding a quick personalization token to an email, or delivering certain product recommendations on a website homepage, AI can uncover these trends and make it easy for marketers to act on them.

Let Technology Guide Your Marketing Team

While big data and AI sound revolutionary, it can also be daunting for marketing executives to think about devoting team resources to another technology or solution. With these platforms, however, marketing output and effectiveness actually increases without requiring more time investment. Marketers can now rely on automation to crunch the numbers and push personalized content, freeing up time for them to develop high-impact strategies and create engaging content. Marketing teams can move beyond one-off engagements and start to interact with huge consumer audiences without losing sight of personalization.

Continuously Engage Loyal Customers

It can be easy for marketers to get caught up in the excitement of data-driven advertising and start pushing out new campaigns right and left. While it’s important to draw new consumers and appeal to a broad audience, B2C marketers know that there is something to be said for continuously engaging current customers as well. With big data and AI solutions, marketers can seamlessly deliver content straight to individual consumers that is highly personalized and designed for maximum effectiveness. It’s no surprise that different audiences require different content, and innovative marketing solutions allow this to happen easily and with little manual effort on the marketer’s side.

Take an Omnichannel Approach

It’s tempting for marketers to want to stick with a single advertising channel that delivers high conversion rates and consistently meets expectations. While it’s important to continue leveraging these types of ‘slam dunk’ campaigns, it’s also good for marketers to spread campaigns and content across various channels, platforms, and devices. This ensures a consistent brand experience no matter where a consumer is engaging with the brand. From social media, to website content, to in-store interactions, data can inform critical decision making, every step of the way.

Review Processes and Procedures Often

Marketing is a constantly evolving landscape. In order to ensure campaigns are aligning with industry standards and new technologies are in place, marketers should review processes and procedures often. For data-driven advertising workflows, this means looking back and reviewing whether or not the campaign was both effective and insightful.

Did your team learn something new about your consumer audience? Is there a better way this campaign could have been managed? Where does your team go from here? Asking these types of questions helps marketers get to the bottom of what is working, and which processes need to change.

Final Thoughts

Even though traditional modes of advertising (print, television, radio) are still used by marketers today, for most brands using them, they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

Innovative advancements in technology paired with evolved expectations from consumers have truly revolutionized the way brands (of any size or budget) can apply data-driven insights to more effectively advertise to consumers.

Why? Because data is the most valuable asset marketers have. Those who use it to best inform their marketing are set up for success.

Marketers no longer have to rely on what worked in the past to make educated decisions. Instead, they’re empowered to take what they know, look ahead, and be proactive in forming true 1-to-1 relationships.

Ready to take the next step and learn more about how artificial intelligence can help you bridge the gap between data and personalization? Get the whitepaper now: Bridging The Gap Between Data and Personalization.

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