Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Makes the Case for Data-Driven Marketing Strategies During Economic Uncertainty
Budgets are tight. Opinions on a looming recession are more mercurial than ever. The price of a carton of eggs is uncomfortably close to double-digits. It’s instinctual and obvious that during times of economic uncertainty, we look for ways to do more with less. It’s a conversation we have daily with our partners over breakfast and with our clients in weekly zoom meetings. At all levels of our community we are feeling, and bracing, for the (potential) fall.
Most recently, when thinking about how I (and, more broadly Seer) can bring the most value to our clients my mind keeps going back to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.
Stay with me on this one.
It sounds a little random - who thinks about that in times like this? I do. Why? For one, my dad is an artist and I grew up around oil paints, art galleries, and canvas stretchers. At a recent-ish show at The Met about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, and again at an immersive experience in Philadelphia’s Fashion District, my dad and I spent a couple of hours dreamily admiring and discussing the work.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Sistine Chapel is a religious space located within Vatican City, Rome, and is famous for its stunning artwork on the ceiling and walls, which was created by the renowned Italian artist Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The artwork depicts stories from the Bible, including the creation of Adam and the Last Judgment, and is considered one of the most significant examples of High Renaissance art. Michelangelo faced numerous challenges in completing the project, including physical strain, difficult working conditions, and artistic disputes with church officials, but his perseverance and talent resulted in a masterpiece that has become a symbol of beauty and inspiration for people around the world.
I hope I haven’t lost you.
There are a TON of things to learn about this particular work of art. One subtlety that is learned through observation is the way in which Michelangelo tackled this massive project. The final piece is about three times the size of a basketball court. When you consider only one man painted the main ceiling - that’s bonkers. The artist considered himself a sculptor more than a painter, and even less so a muralist. When you reflect on how you tackle something new you may recognize that your process changes and you incorporate findings in how to approach your task as you learn.
Michelangelo did the same.
Using Data to Make Better Decisions
When he started the project his style was very detailed, incorporating a complex composition of figures and patterns. However, he soon realized that the intricate details of his work could not be seen clearly from the ground, where most viewers would be looking up at the ceiling. As a result, he adjusted his style to be more simple and bold, focusing on larger figures and bolder contrasts that could be more easily appreciated from below. This decision ultimately made the impact of his work stronger and more memorable.
Similarly, using data can help individuals and organizations make smarter and more efficient decisions by providing insights that can reveal what is truly important and what is not. Just as Michelangelo adjusted his painting style to better suit his audience, data analysis can help identify the most relevant factors in a given situation, allowing for more informed and confident decision-making.
By relying on data rather than intuition, common best practices, or guesswork, individuals can make more informed decisions, specific to their industry, business, or customer that have a greater impact, ultimately leading to better outcomes and marketing spend.
Enter: Integrated Omnichannel Marketing
Integrated omnichannel marketing is the process of using data analysis techniques to gather insights from multiple streams of data (ex: ppc + seo) and then using those insights to make informed strategic decisions.
With the pressure of proving return on investment (ROI) - don’t you want to make strategic decisions founded in predicted outcomes?
It’s to an organization's detriment not to.
During the 2008 financial crisis, American Express drastically reduced its marketing budget, which resulted in a decline in customer acquisition and retention rates. The company's CEO at the time, Ken Chenault, acknowledged that this decision was a mistake, stating, "We should have actually increased our marketing spend during the economic downturn."
Wil Reynolds, the Founder of Seer Interactive, also emphasized the importance of thinking of marketing as an investment: "The biggest mistake that businesses make is thinking that marketing is an expense, rather than an investment."
Why Invest in a Data-Driven Omnichannel Marketing Strategy?
By investing in a data-backed marketing strategy during economic uncertainty, businesses can gain a competitive advantage by staying top-of-mind with customers, increasing brand awareness, and fostering customer loyalty. Data-driven insights can help companies identify the most effective marketing channels, optimize their campaigns, and track their return on investment, leading to more efficient use of marketing spend and better outcomes.
Why Use Data to Make Marketing Decisions?
Using data to make strategic decisions has become essential for organizations to stay competitive and achieve their goals. Making decisions based on intuition or past experiences alone is no longer sufficient. There are several reasons why organizations should use data to drive strategic marketing decisions:
- Provides Objective Insights: Data analysis provides objective insights that can help organizations make informed decisions. With data-driven decision-making, organizations can avoid making decisions based on personal biases or past experiences, which may not always be accurate or reliable.
- Identifies Trends and Patterns: Data analysis can identify trends and patterns in data that may not be visible to the naked eye. By analyzing large datasets, organizations can identify correlations between different factors and use this information to make better decisions.
- Reduces Risk: Data-driven decision-making can help organizations reduce risk by providing a more accurate picture of their business operations. By identifying potential risks and opportunities early on, organizations can take proactive measures to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities.
Seer’s omnichannel marketing team, Analytics & Insights, has emerged as a key driver for businesses seeking to maximize their return on investment. By leveraging data from multiple channels to reach customers, data-driven omnichannel marketing provides a seamless and consistent experience that improves customer engagement and drives revenue growth.
Do More with Less Through Data-Backed Integrated Omnichannel Marketing
Improved Customer Experience
Omnichannel marketing provides a seamless and consistent experience across all channels, improving the customer experience and increasing satisfaction. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, customers who engage with a company across multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who interact with the company through a single channel. The Analytics & Insights team can review consumer insights, brand health, and competitive threats across platforms for your business to leverage.
Higher Engagement and Conversion Rates
Omnichannel marketing increases engagement and conversion rates by providing customers with multiple touchpoints to interact with a brand. According to a report by Aberdeen Group, businesses that adopt omnichannel marketing strategies see a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rates compared to businesses that don't. Our Analytics & Insights team can conduct statistically significant audience research, messaging audits, user journey mapping and more to drive quality engagement.
More Efficient Use of Marketing Spend
Omnichannel marketing enables businesses to optimize their marketing spend by targeting the most effective channels for your brand. By leveraging data-driven insights, businesses can identify the channels that provide the biggest ROI and allocate their marketing spend accordingly. With access to forecasting models and channel ROI analysis, Analytics & Insights is able to recommend the right mix of marketing channels to balance your goals with your budget.
Omnichannel marketing drives revenue growth by increasing customer engagement and conversion rates. According to a recent report by Salesforce, companies that effectively use omnichannel marketing see a 10% increase in average order value and a 25% increase in customer retention rates. The same report found that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies see a 90% higher customer retention rate compared to those without.
When businesses pull back marketing dollars during economic uncertainty instead of investing them in data-backed strategies, they risk losing market share and missing out on potential opportunities. This approach can lead to a decline in brand awareness, decreased customer engagement, and ultimately, lower revenue.
So ask yourself: do you want to be the one to leave money on the table?
Data-backed omnichannel marketing is a strong investment for businesses seeking to get the most out of the marketing budget. By providing a seamless and consistent customer experience, increasing engagement and conversion rates, optimizing marketing spend, and driving revenue growth, omnichannel marketing fine-tuned to your specific business goals and customer needs allows you to do more with a conservative budget.
Seer actions on the lessons that Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel teaches us
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel provides valuable lessons about doing more with less - something embodied by Seer’s Analytics & Insights team, which I am lucky to be a part of. By focusing on quality, maximizing resources, adapting to changing circumstances, and embracing constraints, we can achieve great things even when resources are limited. These lessons are applicable in various contexts, including business, where companies can use them to optimize their operations and achieve greater efficiency and success.
Focus on Quality
Michelangelo's approach to painting the Sistine Chapel was to focus on quality rather than quantity. He was not concerned with the amount of work he needed to do; he was concerned with the quality of the work he produced. By focusing on quality, Michelangelo was able to create a masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Likewise, our Analytics & Insights team crafts specific insights from all of your data streams to be focused on driving the quality traffic and conversions needed to reach your organizational goals.
Michelangelo had limited resources to work with, including time and materials. He had to make the most of what he had, and he did so by using his skills and creativity to their fullest extent. He was able to create a work of art that was both beautiful and efficient. Unlike when you focus on a single marketing channel where data is focused on one view, the omnichannel insights allows for the Analytics & Insights team to dig deeper into your brand to decrease uncertainty in actionable strategy.
Adapt to Changing Circumstances
Michelangelo had to adapt to changing circumstances during the painting of the Sistine Chapel. He initially started with a detailed and intricate painting style, but later realized that the same impact could be achieved through a simpler and more efficient style. He adapted his approach to maximize his time and resources and still achieve the desired effect. Compared to working in one channel, or with one or two people in-house, the Analytics & Insights team is staffed with folks with industry experience in all marketing channels and can coordinate resources across divisions to address your business's changing needs.
Michelangelo's work on the Sistine Chapel demonstrates the power of constraints. By working within the constraints of time and resources, Michelangelo was able to focus his creativity and produce a masterpiece that has become one of the most famous works of art in history. There are only so many data points available in a single marketing channel. With the work done by the Analytics & Insights team, we are able to combine data across channels to find budget-maximizing and money-saving opportunities.
Michelangelo created impact that spans more than 500 years. He did so by doing more with less - like many of us are asked to do every day. Seer has taken this to heart and we ask ourselves: “How can we meet your business there?” Analytics & Insights has taken up that mantle to find ways to help you, simply, do more with less.
Do more, with less, with the Analytics & Insights team at Seer.