The Irony of Objective Data: It Puts the “Personal” In Personalized Marketing

In the film What Women Want, advertising executive Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) is suddenly able to hear women’s most intimate thoughts after a freak accident involving a blow dryer and a bathtub.

It's the ideal movie plot to describe the ideal mobile marketing approach, because it's all about data – and having access to the right data.

Nick had the inside track on data. He could access data that no one else had, and he used it to his advantage. The data greatly enhanced his ability to react, respond, understand and even predict what women around him might say, want, think or do next.

That's the beauty of hard, factual, objective data for marketers, especially if they're able to build a real time, 360 view for each of their customers. The more data that marketers have, the better the customer view they’ll create, plan around and deliver on – and the easier it becomes to craft a highly personalized and contextual communications that lead customers to pay attention, respond and engage at a higher rate.

Data: the Beauty and the Irony
It's also a bit ironic that these same objective data points put the "personal" in personalized marketing. But it's true, especially if marketers have plenty of data and can use it to connect all the dots – from across all the relevant channels and touchpoints in real time.

Most marketers today should have access to tons of data. Decades-old CRM systems contain massive amounts of information – contact details, purchase histories, email preferences and the like. Loyalty programs host rich data about customers' activity levels, tiers and spending habits. Social media platforms give insights into word-of-mouth and advocacy behaviors. And online shopping data, including brand preferences, payment preferences and buying habits, has been available now for at least a decade.

New-to-the-scene mobile marketing data is more than just the proverbial icing on the cake because it fills in the missing blanks with critical information about consumers' devices, where and when they are using them, and what they are doing – in other words, context. Using an integrated platform that can orchestrate, trigger and pass data back and forth in real-time, marketers can:

  • craft and deliver intelligent, timely and relevant messages and stories for each customer
  • deliver the ideal message to the ideal channel at the ideal moment
  • predict what customers might want or do next
  • anticipate customers' needs (based on past behaviors or movements) and fulfill them with timely, relevant offers
  • make intelligent connections between what customers do offline, online and specifically in the mobile environment
  • optimize campaigns to reach the right person with the ideal message at the ideal time in the ideal channel (which may or may not be via mobile)
  • know what to say and offer at a particular moment or opportunity – and conversely, know what not to say and offer, based on past results


Data can make the difference between a marketing campaign that connects ("wow, this brand really gets me!") or one that misses the mark ("this brand has no clue”). And yes, it might be theoretically helpful if marketers could read consumers' thoughts, but even the fictional Nick Marshall found out the hard way that there's a downside to mind-reading.

Having access to masses of data – the right data – and having a robust marketing platform to use it effectively in real-time for optimal, personalized messaging, just might be what Nick was missing.

Explore ideas about leveraging data for enhanced engagement and messaging optimization in the Swrve Cookbook and see how we can help you bring all the data ‘ingredients’ together to produce mobile marketing success.