My Q&A With Brad Litwin, Marketing Manager at A2 Hosting
Brad Litwin, Marketing Manager at web hosting agency A2 Hosting, has always been fascinated by data, particularly in terms of how it relates to communication. His wide-ranging marketing experience spans multiple disciplines, including Pay Per Click, search engine optimization, copywriting, and public relations. He earned his marketing degree from Madonna University in 2005 and currently has over a decade of experience with marketing.
Q: Why has data become so important to marketing in recent years?
A few reasons. First, businesses today often market themselves to multiple regions and demographics, especially if that business has a digital storefront. An organization based in Boston, for example, might not realize the potential to expand to surrounding areas until it examines its marketing data.
Second is the sheer volume of information generated by digital engagement - and how valuable that information can be in the right hands. Even a small business might have a website, several social media accounts, pay per click ads, and an email campaign. These efforts generate a ton of data, and that data can, in turn, be used to guide future efforts.
Q: What is data storytelling? How does that relate to marketing?
In my experience, data storytelling basically involves taking the insights generated by an analytics platform and translating it into terms that can be understood across all lines of business. It’s functionally what’s written on the box. The data itself provides the insights - data storytelling is the process of explaining those insights.
It’s taking your marketing data and using that data to tell a story. It is a bit more complicated than that, of course - it requires you to engage with a lot of sophisticated analytics processes and tools. But the end result is that you’ve got a narrative that shows you not only what your brand is doing, but what it could be doing.
Q: What kind of data is valuable for an approach like this?
Honestly? Everything you can feasibly and ethically collect. How your customers engage with you on social media, how they access your website, what they do on your website, how your employees conduct themselves when dealing with customers, what traits sales leads share in common with one another.
Q: Do you have any examples of data-driven marketing in action?
My favorite example is what Spotify does with its annual Wrapped campaign. Basically, every December, Spotify users can log in to the site to see a ton of data about how they’ve used the service -what artists and genres they love, how much music they’ve listened to, and so on. Where this gets really cool is what Spotify did for its Premium users.
With their consent, it shared their data in places like the billboards of Times Square in New York City - they got a chance to see themselves in one of the most iconic places in the United States.
Q: What sort of skills are necessary for this kind of thing?
For the analytics side, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of statistics and the ability to interpret complex equations. Even with modern analytics platforms, you need a good head for numbers as well as an understanding of machine learning and software engineering.
For data storytelling, it’s basically the ability to communicate. The capacity to craft a compelling narrative. I’d like to think that most marketing professionals already have this one in the bag, so it’s the analytics side they should focus on if they want to develop their expertise.
A2 Hosting, Inc. is a high-performance hosting company located in Ann Arbor, MI.