By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

January 24, 2023 | 8 min read

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Marketing leaders from Heineken, Zappi and Pinterest explore how data-driven creativity and innovation based on quality, connected, consumer-driven insights gathered pre-launch can unlock value, growth and competitive advantage for brands in 2023.

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"It’s about really understanding how to get the pulse of the customer as quickly as possible so you can act upon it"

Data is a cornerstone of modern marketing, and marketers are awash with post-launch datasets. From attribution, clicks, CPM, and ROI, unparalleled measurement into the performance of campaigns allows marketers to carry out campaigns more efficiently.

Pre-launch data, on the other hand, is massively under-utilized by creators (those creating and building new products, ad campaigns and shopping experiences). As a result, many ideas will go to market with no knowledge of how it will resonate with consumers.

In 2023, marketers can’t afford to go to market with ideas based purely on gut instinct; for brands to win, they need to understand consumers early on and align their campaigns with customer expectations.

By connecting pre- and post-launch datasets, marketers can think smarter, work faster and prioritize their best ideas across the entire customer lifecycle – and drastically improve chances for success in the process.

“Marketers are having to not just think about doing more with less, but also doing it faster. It’s about really understanding how to get the pulse of the customer as quickly as possible so you can act upon it,” said Yvonne O'Brien, chief marketing officer at Zappi. “It’s not just about collecting insight but how to operationalize and act on those insights in an agile way and digitize the insight capability to mobilize.”

Doing more with less

O’Brien discussed the benefits of using data across the entire consumer lifecycle, alongside Olya Dyachuk, data driven media leader at The Heineken Company and Visha Kudhail, director of business marketing at Pinterest, in a panel discussion exploring how brands can best use data to drive their business and campaigns forward in 2023. Watch the full panel discussion in the video above.

The key to this is understanding the types of data and the right data sources available to marketers to get to that great idea or the right type of marketing tactic. “Marketing budgets are tightening and so you’ve got to think really cleverly about what you have at your disposal and how your campaigns can create impact and make a real difference,” said Kudhail.

But in reaching the levels of agility required to be able to act fast, businesses should never lose sight of their overall goal. “It’s about finding that right balance between the short-term action and the long-term vision,” said Dyachuk. “Most businesses have processes in place, and they need to think about the future and organize themselves to be truly agile. Unless you have a clear business question you’re trying to answer, you’re never going to find out what the right data says to you.”

Quality connections

When it comes to data acquisition, quality is what really matters. For marketers, finding a repeatable process or partner where you can acquire consistent, actionable consumer data can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful activation. That includes first-party data, along with consumer and market research insights from accredited research partners.

Whereas in the past, traditional market research used to be able to try and fill this void, it was a process that was too slow, expensive and analog to keep pace with modern consumers. Today’s creators are hungry for real-time data that produces quality answers to validate and inform their next idea or campaign. Having immediate access to smarter consumer data can not only validate that creators are on the right track, but also offers the capability of agile and iterative development.

“The insights you get before you do anything is what is going to guarantee your success,” said O’Brien. “Unless you’ve got the right pre-launch data and take the time to understand it, it’s very difficult to be successful. Marketers want more agility to be able to access data in a way that they can understand and interpret to be able to iterate and optimize quickly.”

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A unified customer view

And the ability to join these different data points leads to better data connectivity, with Dyachuk noting: “The more we can connect the data points pre, during and post-campaign, the better our planning, execution and measurement is going to be.”

“Only when you can really start to understand how different things are working together, can you see what you need to change or improve,” added O’Brien. “Getting that pre-launch data as part of the ecosystem and infrastructure moving forward will be key because that connection from the consumer right through to post-campaign is going to become more important than ever.”

But the challenge is in taking different datasets and pulling them together in a more concise way for brands to make better decisions, said Dyachuk. It will require willingness from all sides – advertisers, researchers and media owners – to share tools to drive this change. “The dream is to see data points integrated so you can have a unified customer view with everything in one place,” she said.

“Follow the consumer and you’ll always be winning,” said Kudhail. “Find the data you trust and pull into your own campaigns to turn it into a great experience. Understanding the capabilities of data is the unsung hero of our industry.”

For more insights on the data-related trends shaping the activity of marketers and advertisers looking to succeed in 2023, watch the full panel discussion above.

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