Pi Day: 6 Marketers Who Are Slicing the Data Pie

March 14, 2016

Today is March 14, also known as Pi Day.

For the uninitiated, it’s Pi Day, because it’s 3.14, or pi (the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter).  

Celebrating Pi Day is a math thing, and increasingly marketing is also a math thing. Because of advancements in technology, more marketers are using mathematics, data, and analytics to drive and measure the return on their marketing investments. When people buy into a concept completely, we call it drinking the Kool-Aid. And when marketers buy into data-driven marketing, we’ve taken to calling it “slicing the data pi(e).”

In The Big Data-Driven Business, a book I wrote with Russ Glass, Head of Products at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, we featured a number of data-driven marketers. Here are six of these marketers who are slicing the data pi(e) in a major way:

Heather Zynczak, CMO, Domo

Heather Zynczak is the CMO at Domo, a business intelligence software company. As a former coder and a graduate of the metrics-oriented Wharton, she is a data-driven marketer. “I don’t think of myself as a typical marketer … Creative is extremely important, but you can measure whether your creative is good creative within minutes. Everything is extremely data-driven, and marketing can now be accountable for ROI,” she said. Zynczak makes the case that having data behind them allows marketers to be more creative and take even more risks, which can be quickly cast aside if the metrics show they’re not working. “It’s like with my data I have a parachute,” she said. “I’m okay jumping off that cliff, because I’ve got the data parachute behind me.”

Dan Siroker, CEO, Optimizely

Dan Siroker worked on the 2008 Obama for America campaign. He led A/B testing for the campaign’s website, which was a tool used to secure email addresses of supporters. For every email, the campaign raised an average of $21. A/B testing 24 different variations of visuals and calls-to-action on the Obama landing page clearly showed that one variation outperformed them all. Siroker calculated that using this winning variation led to the collection of an additional 2.88 email addresses, which in turn resulted in another $60 million in campaign contributions. Perhaps the most instructive part of this story was that the short video that most of Obama’s campaign workers thought would win the A/B test actually finished dead last. After his success with Obama for America, Siroker founded Optimizely, a company that brings A/B testing to companies around the globe.

Nick Panayi, Head of Digital Marketing and Global Brand, Computer Sciences Corporation

Nick Panayi uses data to align the sales and marketing teams at CSC through account-based marketing. The ABM team uses a data-driven platform to track key accounts on social media, in the press, and at industry events. “This is a bridge between our sales organization and marketing,” Panayi said. With data-driven ABM a member of the marketing team can approach sales and say, “‘Here’s the commercial insight, and if we all agree this is valid, here are two campaigns that are going on that I can take and customize. And, by the way, we’re going to build a mini social media campaign and go after these five individuals with LinkedIn messages.’ So it is, in essence, a just-in-time marketing plan tailor-made for that account. That’s real value.”  

Meagen Eisenberg, CMO, MongoDB

We wrote about Meagan Eisenberg when she was implementing data-driven marketing at her previous company, DocuSign. Like CSC’s Panayi, she’s a believer in using data to bring sales and marketing into alignment. Deploying predictive lead-modeling software that use big data to identify the best leads, Eisenberg delivered strong results at DocuSign. “We only added it a few months ago,” she said at the time, “and we see a 1.1 percent increase in conversion rate. If you do about 10,000 leads a month and you have an average deal size of $6,000, over a year that equates to $6.3 million.”

Sam Karow, CEO, Adaptive Campaigns

Sam Karow is a believer in the power of dynamic ads, which tests thousand of display ad variations so that only the strong survive. It’s data-driven digital Darwinism. In creating dynamic ads for one customer, as Karow shared with us in the book, more than 43,000 variations -- which included different sizes, headlines, photos, offers and calls to action -- were tested. After analytics defined the strongest performing ads, this particular advertiser realized 461 percent ROI. Karow’s approach can be summed up in four words: “Make ads people want.” (And use data to help you do it).    

Bill Macaitis, CMO, Slack Technologies

Since we wrote the book, Bill Macaitis, now CMO at Slack Technologies, has moved on from Zendesk where he held the same title. At Zendesk, he had the opportunity to build the marketing department from scratch, and he started with the idea that it should be “100 percent data-driven, customer-focused.” Macaitis built his marketing department first with content creators and then with analytics staffers to build a marketing technology stack that could measure what content was working to drive revenue. “When I tell people that we can in real time know every single visitor when they arrive on our site and what company type they are from, and that we can target specific titles or regions or individual companies, they’re blown away,” he said.

For more on data-driven marketing, download the Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Metrics and Analytics today!