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Integrating Your Intuition as a Marketer with Relevant Data Here are three ways to drive real results.

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For decades, marketers have relied on their creative side to inform the direction of their campaigns. Paired with their knowledge of a company's brand and their experience within an industry, marketers succeeded by taking calculated risks based on what drove sales in the past.

These days, marketers still rely on their intuition to guide how an initiative comes together, but must also rely on relevant data to inform the decisions they make and their advertising priorities.

Data from their web analytics, transactions and elsewhere provides specific insights for marketers to learn how to interpret customer actions, make their messaging relevant to the individual and more.

To succeed as a marketer today, your organization must prioritize the integration of both intuition and data, as relying on one without the other doesn't provide the full story.

Here are three ways to drive results as a marketer by combining intuition with data.

1. Act on your strengths and accept the limitations.

Marketers are known for their ability to think strategically about a problem, develop creative solutions and, above all, understand how to develop a human connection with consumers.

But relying solely on your intuition has its limits as a study published in Psychological Science found that the trustworthiness of our intuition is impacted by what's happening physically to our bodies in the moment.

As a result, our intuition as marketers isn't always reliable as sometimes marketing decisions are negatively skewed by unrelated factors.

In comparison, the automated analysis of relevant data can help identify trends in activity that are otherwise undetectable by the human eye due to the complexity, diversity and volume of data and deliver insights on particular data points across channels at scale.

However, taking action on data alone results in decision making without the full context of outside variables and lacks the complex inputs of human empathy and creativity.

A firm understanding of the advantages marketers possess will help account for the downsides of data, and vice versa, leading to better outcomes when there's a human touch to reliable data.

2. Make timely decisions.

The fast pace of business and the internet places a demand on marketers to act quickly.

Whether taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity or launching a new product, a marketer's intuition is needed to swiftly decide on a plan of action.

Often, marketers are overwhelmed by all the sources of data available to reference, making it difficult to pinpoint what's useful and what's simply noise.

However, a quick decision doesn't need to happen haphazardly when the right customer data is available to marketers to either support or refute their instincts.

Marketers need to harness their data sets across the entire customer journey for a consolidated view of their customer's engagements with the brand.

Access to the right data in a timely manner allows marketers to spend less time sifting through data and more time deploying their intuition where it can make the greatest difference.

3. Reduce the risks of experimentation.

Taking informed risks with your marketing is what's necessary to break through the noise and leave an impression, as consumers are tougher than ever to reach.

Innovative marketing efforts require ongoing experimentation, but some experiments will miss the mark and that's completely acceptable so long as you learn from your experiments.

To reduce the risks associated with a marketing experiment and avoid negatively impacting your brand or wasting resources, let data guide your insights and intuition.

Tools like Watson Marketing Insights allow marketers to quickly make sound decisions based on learnings from customers' past behavior and predictions of their future behavior , allowing them to act as their own data analyst. Understanding patterns that lead to a certain behavior, such as attrition, the technology can help you get a step ahead.

For example, your team wishes to test a retention campaign. You know the offer is quite costly, so if you send it your entire customer base, you risk sacrificing profit when customers who would remain loyal regardless accept the generous offer.

To optimize your investment in this campaign, you want to target only the customers who are at risk of disengaging with your business, the ones that need an incentive to remain loyal.

Making expensive offers is still a gamble, but with data-driven insights on what unique audiences to target to justify the expense, you'll be able to reduce your risk and drive a higher return on investment.

Visit IBM Watson Marketing Insights to learn how marketing professionals are connecting their marketing ecosystem to discover more action oriented insights about their customers.

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