I’m often asked about why I describe myself as a data-driven strategic marketing leader. Let me walk you through answers to some of those questions.

Q: Are you a business analyst?
A: I am not a BA by trade. While I do understand analytics it is not my full-time job. I want to use data to help drive ROI. I think of data as a tool to help set marketing strategies up for success and as a measure of its effectiveness once in market.

Q: Are you working with data every day, a spreadsheet ninja and number cruncher?
A: Yes I work often with data. The data can be supplied to me via those spreadsheet ninjas or I can create spreadsheets based on the data pulled from internal and external parties. I once stumped the BA group with what I wanted to do with a spreadsheet. Thanks to a Google search, I found my answer!

Q: If you aren’t a business analyst, then why talk about data?
A: Early in my career I worked in direct marketing in which uses “data to serve your customers and prospects the right message at the right time” and is “channel agnostic”. Data helps marketing work smarter and harder. It helps take the guessing out of marketing planning and allows us to measure the effectiveness of those marketing efforts. Most companies, even those big lifestyle brands, have to prove that marketing is driving revenue.

Q: Why direct marketing?
A: Direct marketing’s approach is to bring the right message at the right time to the right customer. Direct marketing allows for personalization and is channel agnostic. Direct marketing is also about testing and learning. You can come up with a hypothesis and test it to prove it. And if your hypothesis is wrong and you fail? I often talk about the continuous wheel of improvement. There is no failure with direct marketing because you learn – you learn what worked, what didn’t and you adjust as necessary to optimize for the future.

Q: How did you learn direct marketing?
A: I have many years of direct marketing experience. I worked with Jim Kobs early in my career. As a direct marketing expert he published a textbook and taught graduate courses at Northwestern University. Fun fact: I read the book and aced the finals all without paying graduate level course fees. Win-win! (I earned my MBA later). I earned another credential via the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing. For more recent experience I can simply talk about the years I’ve worked across multiple agencies and corporations, brands and industries. During that time, I’ve gained experience in digital marketing and integrated marketing.

Q: Isn’t digital the new direct marketing?
A: No, digital is one channel that can be used in direct marketing. Digital marketing certainly helped bring direct marketing out of the direct-mail-only realm of its past.

Q: You also say you are an integrated marketer. Is this any different from a direct marketing?
A: Integrated marketing communications is about creating a brand experience from a consumer’s perspective. It needs to be seamless across multiple channels. You can consider marketing channels as mediums such as TV, print, digital and more. Messaging need not be identical from channel to channel. The concept (high level idea) remains the same but each medium allows for different ways to deliver the message(s). Integrated marketing communications also includes multiple marketing approaches. Two of those approaches include direct marketing and mass marketing.

Q: What is your basic approach to using data to drive marketing decisions?
A: Solutions will vary by initiative but generally speaking you have four steps:
1. Define KPIs (key performance indicators)
2. Data collection and report creation once live
3. Analysis
4. Action


Photo by Amy E Mikel: Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Amphitheatre) at the Acropolis. Athens, Greece. May 2012.



Direct Marketing. (2018). Data & Marketing Association. Retrieved from https://thedma.org/marketing-education/marketing-courses/direct-marketing/