Why marketing data is useless without intelligence

Garrett Mann
Garrett Mann

Director, Content Marketing

Is data enough?

If you are a technology marketer, you have no doubt heard that Big data is going to change your life. There is certainly a never-ending supply of opinions in this area. While data is undoubtedly a valuable tool for marketers, is it enough?

The fact of the matter is, data is only as good as where it comes from and how it is being used (and for that matter, who is using it). Data that is collected only to sit in a repository or to be sorted in an endless array of spreadsheets is essentially meaningless to your organization. In order to truly create value and advantage for your business, you must transform this data into intelligence.

The “so what” factor

 As a marketer, any program, message, strategy, or tactic can be made or broken by two little words: so what. In other words, it is not what you are delivering, but why anyone should care about what you are delivering. When it comes to understanding the simple difference between data and intelligence, one of my colleagues at TechTarget, Andy Briney, put it best: data is the “what”, but intelligence is the “so what”. Data = facts. Intelligence = relevance and is what fundamentally makes data actionable for your marketing and sales teams. Intelligence relies on monitoring specific data sources and streams to create a holistic view of your customers to anticipate their needs and inform your marketing and sales strategies. 

Developing good intelligence requires an actionable data plan 

Here are a few things technology marketers must consider before getting started:

  1. Before you collect data, you must first establish  objectives and understand what you want to do with it.
  2. Cultivate your sources – You can’t get good data from bad sources. The integrity in which you engage your customers and prospects is critical to the integrity of your intelligence. For instance, the insight and effectiveness of TechTarget’s own dynamic Activity Intelligence platform is solely predicated on our ability to deliver quality, targeted, problem-solving content to engage technology buyers visiting our network.
  3. Feed the intelligence cycle – Read the digital body language of your customers and use the intelligence to better engage them. Then learn from those engagements to develop better content to acquire more customers and prospects. Rinse, repeat.
  4. Use it or lose it – Act now. Sitting on data means lost opportunities and lost revenue for your business. If you cannot generate the intelligence you need to close your next deal, turn to trusted partners who can provide it to you.

Always interested to hear how other marketers are transforming data into actionable intelligence – leave me a comment below or tweet me @gsmann30.


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