Will your marketing narrative become more data-driven post COVID?

By Mel Day, Marketing Moves CEO

Mel Day, CEO


At the start of the year I read a really interesting article in Forbes: 7 Executives Share Marketing Predictions For A Post-Covid 2021

You can read it by clicking the link below:


Two key game-changing themes for the future emerge from this article, which I hope to discuss at a later date:

  1. Values-driven marketing 
  2. Virtual events 

Of the seven quotes, two really stand out for me. In this article I’d like to examine the first from a personal favourite of mine: Scott Holden, CMO of ThoughtSpot.

Here’s what Scott has to say:

“Brands should focus on authentic, data-driven storytelling. The COVID-19 crisis has put pressure on every marketer’s budget. So it’s critical we shift our focus to only the most pressing needs of our customers. Now more than ever, storytelling is critical for linking the value of your product to the challenges your customers are facing. But it must be done authentically and supported by data. In this environment, you can’t make up a narrative and hunt for data to justify it. With COVID-19, data is changing so fast, we must use it to lead and shape our narratives from the outset. Every person on the frontlines of your company, whether a marketing manager, account exec, or sales engineer must be armed with data in the moment. Only then is it possible to craft narratives that reflect what’s happening in the world and are supported by evidence that will connect authentically with your customers. This marriage of data and fact-driven storytelling should be a priority for every marketer in 2021.”

I’m delighted that Scott mentions story-telling as it’s something our Director of Americas David Holton touched on in his 2019 article: What’s your Career Story?

One thing that really strikes me about Scott’s quote is the implication that marketers were bereft of data before 2020. Or more to the point, they didn’t use the data they had. Since the adoption of the internet at the turn of the century, marketing in my opinion has changed. Before, a large focus was on the creative, but less so on the data. It wasn’t that they didn’t want the data – it’s that it didn’t exist. Sure, a newspaper or magazine in which you placed your advert might tell you its circulation, but this will be inflated to justify the cost. And even if say 100,000 copies were sold, there was no actual guarantee that every buyer would read your ad – especially if it was at the back with hundreds of others.

So the best you could do was hope to get the data at the point of sale. Sadly, with no emails in existence, this would mean the telephone. And one of the last things a salesperson is going to do when taking a sales call is stop the process to ask how they heard about them. 

Since the dawn of the third millennium, this has changed. We now have email lists, impression statistics, followers, clicks, likes, visitors, Google rankings, Google Ads  – we know which pages on our site get the most traffic, how long people stay there, how many pages they visit, where they come from and where they leave. It’s wonderfully mind-boggling. 

So mind-boggling in fact that the real difficulty now is knowing which statistics to swear by and which to swear at.

Whilst I’m not suggesting that the art has become a complete science, it’s clearly no longer enough to be just a creative. For a long time now, the best marketers have had to fuse imaginative ideas with hard statistics – both before and after each campaign. Which is why I take slight exception to the post 2020 data angle in Scott’s quote above. Pretty much every marketer I know has been data driven for almost 20 years – and long may it continue.


Melvin Day
Mel Day, CEO

To discuss in confidence how Marketing Moves can support your organisation’s growth, please contact Melvin by any of the means below.

+44 (0) 20 3911 6757
+44 (0) 7967 678 002

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